At 30 weeks pregnant I found myself in the unusual position of being put in an ambulance to a place I had never heard of in order to give birth to my babies safely. The next 24 hours that followed were a whirlwind. We received the most lovely welcome pack from Spoons and at a time where everything was so foreign and scary this provided us a wonderful little bit of comfort. We spent the next 18 days unexpectedly living 80 miles from home in a place where we knew no one. At 3 days old one of our twins was emergency transferred to St. Mary’s and with her went my husband and my biggest support.
Spoons offered both of us a friendly face and some comfort in that time. At a time that felt incredibly lonely knowing there was someone to talk to who understood meant a lot.
We had a truly horrendous pregnancy, at several points we didn’t know whether both or even one of our twins were going to survive. Making it to 30 weeks, although early, was actually a massive achievement, as we had had concerns since our 12 week scan about growth and the girls were almost born at 25 weeks due to me being very unwell. When we left hospital on the 1st September it felt like we could finally put the pregnancy and then the rocky NICU journey behind us. I thought we could walk out those doors carrying our babies (something we hadn’t even dared to dream of) and start a new and hopefully much easier chapter, unfortunately it just didn’t happen that way.
We had been putting one foot in front of the other for 5 months, dealing with the information we had at the time and trying to make the right decisions for each of the girls individually and as a pair. When we got home the weight of all those decisions began to weigh so heavily, it was then that I started struggling with PTSD. I engaged with a lot of local services at this point that helped me through.
I know that Spoons offers a lot of after NICU support and resources in the form of therapy and baby groups, and I think this is incredibly important, I don’t think there is enough discussion or awareness for what it’s like coming home from hospital with an incredibly vulnerable baby (babies) and parents who have been through something so unexpected and traumatic.
To then have to go through all the normal newborn sleepless nights and the physical and emotional exhaustion when you’re already emotionally spent from your NICU journey and possibly the pregnancy before that. Having been there I know that the after NICU support made a massive difference to us and I hope that our donation can help in a small way for Spoons to continue with providing those resources.
My advice to other families going through this would be – take one day at a time, your baby is so much stronger than they seem and they will surprise you in the most wonderful ways.
Trust your instinct, it’s easier said than done when coping with such a highly medicalised situation, but you know your baby best, you carried them for months and you are a very important part of their care team.
If you need help ask for it, what you are going through/have been through is a lot and it’s hard, asking for help is no reflection on you as a parent, looking after yourself and doing the best for you is also doing the best for your baby and your family.
Many months later, I’m feeling a lot better and feel more able to be the mother my girls need. We wanted to make our girls’ Birthday this year a positive experience, so on the anniversary of Florence’s transfer to St. Mary’s, we walked 13 miles carrying the girls which was representative of the distance our family was separated last year.
Donating some of the money raised to Spoons was important to us, although we are not local so have not engaged in many of the services you offer personally, we recognise how important they are and wanted to help Spoons in a small way to continue to help other families like ours.
Thank you so much from our family for everything you do!