Born Too Soon – My Premature Birth Story.

Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. on

It was 2004 when I found out I was expecting my second child, I was 21. I already had a wonderful son who had just turned 2.

The birth of my son had been the ideal birth, I’d given birth at 38 weeks after a 23 and a half hour labour. I’d laboured without pain relief as I wanted to experience the full enjoyment of bringing my first child into the world. Everything went well. So, the second time around, I expected everything to go swimmingly.

I was very early on when I took my first pregnancy test that showed the faintest line, my best friend was my next door neighbour and I called for her to come over immediately. She could see the line too! I booked into the doctors and had my pregnancy officially confirmed.

Unlike my first pregnancy, I experienced a lot of nausea, I also found that I couldn’t tolerate certain smells, one being my favourite laundry detergent. The sweet, clean scent just made me heave.

I had my 12 week scan and my little peanut was progressing well, all of my other tests were fine, things were going well and the nausea eventually passed.

At my 20 week scan, I found out that I was having a baby girl, I was elated! I would have a son and a daughter, a little girl for my son to love & protect as they grew older, my family was complete.

Everything was going well, I experienced some pains in my right side below my ribs which made me randomly twitch. My midwife told me it was sciatica brought on by my baby laying on my sciatic nerve, but all was going well.

I went for a routine check up at around 29 weeks, I had protein in my urine and slightly higher than normal blood pressure but my doctor reassured me that my blood pressure had raised as my son was crying in his pram, but everything was going well.

I reached thirty weeks, I noticed that movements had slowed down and one night I had a tightening, it was similar to a contraction, yet it felt different. It was one long tightening that lasted for about four hours. It was painful but not agonising.

We called the hospital and they advised me to go in for a check up in the morning.

The next morning, my children’s dad and I got my son ready, we put him in his pram and got on the bus to the hospital.

We arrived at the hospital and I gave my name, I wasn’t waiting long to be seen. I was taken for a scan, laid there I started to feel weary and uncertain, I remember seeing my baby on the grainy screen and couldn’t believe how much she had grown since I last saw her at my 20 week scan. The sonographer decided I needed to have a doppler scan, this shows the blood flow through the placenta to the baby.

Everything else is very much a blur.

I recall been rushed to a trolley and wheeled up to a ward where additional tests were carried out. It was there that a doctor explained that I needed to be taken for an emergency Caesarean section, immediately.

The only thing I vividly remember at this point was that the doctors were asking me to sign a form, they were asking me to sign to save myself over my baby if the worst happened. Maybe it was the shock of everything happening but I kept refusing to sign it. I would choose to die over my unborn baby any day and I stood my ground. The doctors reminded me that I had a son with us, a son that needed his mummy. I still don’t remember whether I signed it or whether my next of kin signed it, but before I knew it I was in theatre.

I can’t even begin to tell you how quickly the feeling of terror, fear and shock hit me. I’d never been inside an operating theatre before and this was the most daunting thing I had ever done, everything was so clinical, machines and surgical instruments everywhere. The air was clean, yet morbidly stale. Would I even make it back out, but worst of all, would my baby make it back out?

Because everything had happened so quickly, I went in alone. I had no idea why this had happened or what was going on. My children’s dad had to wait outside with our son oblivious to what was going on in the four walls of that theatre.

I was given a spinal block so that they could keep me awake. Doctors and nurses were rushing around and one of the hospital porters stood at my head, talking to me, reassuring me and trying to make me laugh. But all I kept thinking was ‘it’s too early‘.

I started to feel overwhelmingly light headed, machines started beeping around me and there was more rushing around, my blood pressure had gone from very high to very low in seconds. They tilted the bed down so that my head was lower than the rest of my body to try and regulate me.

After what seemed like a lifetime, when in reality it was only a matter of minutes. I heard something that could only be a crying baby, but I’d never heard a baby cry like this before, it was more like a newborn kitten trying to find its voice, a little screech. Was she ok?

They gave me a little glimpse of her before rushing her off in an incubator, she was the tiniest baby I’d ever seen.

I remained in theatre while they sewed me up and someone came in to tell me her birth weight, she weighed just 2lb 9oz (1.162kg). A little dinky dot, my little Thumbelina.

I was taken up to recovery where I was attached to machines, I just remember feeling so unwell and my body was shaking so badly. Our son had been picked up by family so their dad had been waiting for me to return. He still hadn’t seen our new born daughter.

After a few hours, he was able to go and see her for a few minutes. She was in the neonatal care baby unit (NICU) attached to machines and a feeding tube had been placed through her nose, directly into her stomach. He returned with a Polaroid picture of her.

After a few hours I was placed into a private room on a ward, away from all of the other mums that had their babies with them. I was exhausted and in pain, yet I couldn’t sleep. I was heavily medicated on pain killers and I just wanted to see my daughter, but the nurses wouldn’t let me as I was still too poorly.

It wasn’t until the next morning that a nurse managed to get me into a wheelchair with my monitors and drip to wheel me up to the floor above to meet my baby girl properly. She was the smallest baby on the unit at the time.

Beneath all of the tubes and wires laid by beautiful baby girl, she was tiny, beautiful and a miracle. I couldn’t touch her or hold her, which broke my heart but I was so thankful to be sat next to her, watching over her.

After a week I was discharged from the hospital, even now, nobody had explained to me what happened. I decided to ask the doctor discharging me why this had happened, what had caused my beautiful baby girl to have been delivered so quickly, so abruptly? Firstly, the doctor was shocked that I hadn’t been given answers sooner, but he explained that I had pre-eclampsia. He went on to say that it had progressed so much so that if I had gone to the hospital 24 hours later, neither of us would have survived. I was in utter shock. He went on to tell me how my placenta had died and that meant that my body was literally starving my baby and that my organs had already started to shut down. Every minute had been crucial.

I knew the common signs of pre-eclampsia, I knew high blood pressure & protein in the urine could be signs but my GP had assured me this was nothing at my last appointment. I didn’t experience any other signs such as headaches, swelling, vision problem, vomiting etc. However, I later found out from a midwife that the pain I experience under my ribs could have also been a symptom.

As time passed, I spent every day back and forth to the hospital. I expressed milk and learnt to feed it down her tube directly into her stomach. I learnt to change her nappy and wash her down with a cotton wool pad and some warm water around all of the tubes and wires.

She was 10 days old before I got the opportunity to hold her, they took her out of her incubator and carefully placed her on my naked chest for skin to skin contact. Right in that moment, I felt like my heart would burst.

We’d had a few concerns along the way, firstly, the doctors had needed to place a long line into my daughters body to feed her TPN Lipids which provide essential fatty acids, however, upon doing so they thought they’d broken her hip as she was so fragile. Thankfully, the X-Ray showed no signs of a break.

Secondly, she started to become yellow, she had jaundice. She was placed under a blue light for a while. The whole time a little eye mask covered her tiny little face to protect her eyes from the light.

Thirdly, it was later established that due to prematurity, the vessels that attach to the retina hadn’t attached and she was technically blind. For a long time she needed constant eye tests to check for natural improvement.

After around a month, my baby had shown positive signs of improvement. She was moved down from NICU to the special care baby unit (SCBU). It was a huge milestone. A little while later, she was taken out of her incubator and placed into a cot. She still had machines attached and a feeding tube but she slowly started to learn to suckle and I was able to breast feed. I was allowed to give her first proper bath. I was able to hold her without needing to ask permission from the nurses.

Three months after her birth, we were given the green light to take her home! It was one of the best days of my life but it was also scary. On discharge day she still only weighed 3lb 6oz (1.531kg). I would have to adapt at home to looking after a premature baby. I would miss the care of the nurses that had looked after us for the last 3 months, some we had become quite close to.

That first night home was the most difficult, my daughter cried all night, there was nothing we could do to comfort and console her. I spoke with the hospital the next morning and it turned out this was a common occurrence with premature babies as they’re so used to the background noise of the hospital, such as machines beeping, nurses chatting, babies crying. My daughter wasn’t used to the complete silence of the night. We learned to have the TV volume on low or music playing softly.

As much as I loved breast feeding, my body didn’t create much milk as she was so tiny she didn’t need much. So after a while she was placed on a prescribed premature baby milk.

My daughter continued to grow, she needed regular eye tests and we were relieved to find out that the blood vessels had naturally attached to her retinas. She continued to have ongoing paediatric appointments. Although she was always small, she was progressing well, although we warned that she may experience some learning difficulties in later life, this isn’t something doctors can pre-empt at the time of birth.

As a preemie mum, we carry so many emotions, I felt such helplessness, sadness, uncertainty, anxiousness, anger, trauma, shame, grief and even guilt, why did my body fail me? After all, my body is supposed to be built to protect the babies I carry, right?

But why are we so hard on ourselves? We don’t ask for it, we don’t choose it. One pregnancy might go according to your birth plan, the next may not. We do everything in our power to ensure that we’re doing everything right, I know I did.

I recall the hospital priest coming to see us when he was doing his rounds on the unit, although I’m not a religious person he spoke to me and asked if he could pray for us, it was at that moment that everything hit me and I broke down. He sat with us and we just chatted, it was so nice to get all of my worries, concerns and fear off my chest.

It’s important to that you’re kind to yourself.

It’s important that you look after yourself when recovering from any type of birth, it’s important that you have someone to speak to, whether this be a partner, family member, priest, nurse, midwife, doctor or a counsellor. It’s important that your mental health is cared for by opening up about how you feel and the emotions you’re going through.

You find yourself going back and forth to the hospital without much thought to your own recovery, it’s important to ensure that you’re eating healthily, getting some fresh air, getting some mild exercise such as a short walk and taking some time for yourself.

Celebrate your babies milestones.

Please know that you are not alone, please know that there is support available. Please do not blame yourself, you are amazing, your body is amazing. Our babies may be tiny, they may be poorly, but they are almighty fighters. I often talk to my daughter about her birth story, this morning was the most recent and it prompted me to write about it, write about what happened, how I felt and the trauma I went through at the time. Note all of these feelings and memories down, it’s really theraputic and maybe one day, you can share that diary with your baby.

My daughter is 17 now, she’s at college and she’s healthy! She has had her struggles and she’s recently been diagnosed with ADHD. But we are so lucky, physically she is healthy, she’s strong, she’s honest, she’s determined, she’s a beautiful person, most of all she’s a fighter. After everything, we can deal with ADHD.

I often tell her how she saved our lives, I genuinely believe that the tightening I had that night was her warning me that something was wrong.

Please feel free to share your birth stories in the comments.

You can read my blog ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Daughter Here

If you are in the UK, I’ve attached some contact support links below – – Bliss – For babies born premature or sick. – Tommy’s – Together, for every baby. – Rainbow Trust – Neonatal Support. – SANDS – Stillbirth & Neonatal Death Charity.

Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. on

I’ve included a few resource links from the Amazon store below that you may find beneficial. We Didn’t Expect: Personal Stories about Premature Birth by Melody Schreiber to Birthday, Pregnancy & First Year Baby Journal : an award-winning journal / diary to help you hold onto memories of the growing bump, the birth & the first year with your baby (Parent & Child) Premature Baby Gift Set – Unique Magnetic Box That Includes a Wrap Blanket, Hooded Towel, Soft Elephant Toy, Bib and Hat. A Great Shower Gift for New Preemie Baby Boys and Girls Duo Plus – Cam and Smart Sock 3 – Baby Monitor with HD Video Camera – Night Vision and Audio – Track Heart Rate, Oxygen and Sleep Trends (0 – 5 years) – Mint Green Stride (Double) Hospital-Grade App-Controlled Breast Pump | Hands-Free Wearable Electric Breast Pump with 2-Modes & 150 ml Capacity per Cup

Disclaimer – As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I have not received any free products from Amazon associate.


To be notifiedof updates & new blogs that I share, please subscribe with your email address below.


Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount


Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

One response to “Born Too Soon – My Premature Birth Story.”

  1. […] walk in the park. You can read my blog ‘Born Too Soon – My Premature Birth Story‘ Here and her diagnosis story ‘ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Daughter‘ […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: