Our story for World Prematurity Day

Hey there,

This week leads up to World Prematurity Day on Saturday 17 November highlighting an international campaign to raise awareness of the number of babies born around the world too early –  and what this means for them and their families.

Fifteen million premature babies are born each year, 60 000 of them in the UK. This is our story.

Hobs and I had long wanted to be parents and were beyond delighted when we found out that we were expecting twins. We expected to meet them one April, but it didn’t quite work out like that.

Our guys were born in January, 13 ½ weeks before their due date. They couldn’t breathe unaided and both weighed in at less than 2lbs each. You’ve likely heard the phrase, they weighed less than a bag of sugar. Well, they did.

1kg

They were born late at night – I caught only glimpse of them before they were necessarily whisked away to be supported by machines and a team of doctors and nurses to try to save their lives. Hobs was able to pop to the neonatal unit after a couple of hours, I didn’t see them until the next day. I jerked awake every few minutes overnight because I imagined I could hear people talking outside the ward and thought they were coming to give me bad news. A nurse came in at one point with a photo someone had taken of Twin 1 for me. He was all woolly hat, wires and had a ventilator tube coming out of his mouth. But it had been a few hours since his birth and he was still alive…

Twin 2 was two weeks old before he was well enough to come out of his incubator for me to hold him. Twin 1 was three weeks and a day before I held him.  We had some very low points and close calls but, because of the skill and care of the medical staff and the technology available to assist them,  the close calls became fewer and further between. Machines monitored my guys breathing and heart rates for months and they had skilled medical attention 24 hours a day. They needed oxygen for a long time. They needed partial blood transfusions. They needed medicine.  They needed operations (we travelled to Glasgow for Twin 2 to have an operation leaving Twin 1 behind in hospital in Edinburgh) and they needed the time that they should have had in the womb, but didn’t.

Our guys were in intensive care for nine weeks and special care for a further ten before they came home to us weighing in at 9½  lbs and 7lbs aged 4 ½ months.

This is them now.

Future F1 champions?

They are happy, healthy and LOUD. Hobs and I are acutely aware of how lucky we are, how different things might have been and we do not underestimate the facilities it took to achieve the result we got.

World Prematurity Day is to focus attention on premature birth, to help improve care for premature babies around the world and try to find ways to prevent this from happening. Just now in many cases (including ours) no reason for it can be identified.

One organisation working for this in the UK is BLISS. You can find out about them here and what they say about World Prematurity Day here. We are forever grateful too for the fundraising efforts of Simpsons Special Care Babies, the charity that helps the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh’s neonatal unit – the unit that saved our guys.

If you can help either of these charities to mark World Prematurity Day, or a similar charity local to you, please do so. There are so many babies and parents not as lucky as us.

Much love

Elle xx

Books from my mother

Hey there,

Hope you are well today.

I was so pleased last week when Twin 2 asked me to pre-order the latest in the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy. Turned out it was to be released the next day and as soon as it arrived, Twin 2 jumped up onto the settee and started reading, forgetting all about football, TV, the Xbox etc. I’m so delighted that he has responded this way to a book.

I spoke here about books that affected me as I was growing up and  it started me thinking again about the books my Mum passed on to me when I began to show an interest in reading. My favourites were those in the Abbey Girls series by Elsie J Oxenham, but she also passed me Adventure for Two by Elsie, the story of two sisters, one with aspirations to be a ballerina, the other who (amongst other things) started a business rowing tourists from her seaside home to a local island. This really struck a chord with me because it involved ballet and boats. What could be better?

I made my way through Enid Byton’s Mallory Towers books (apparently there were only six, I feel as though there were many more) and Mum also gave me Cherry Jam at Glencastle by A. Ruby Forde, which I read and re-read but sadly can remember little about, apart from it involved two girls – one called Cherry, the other Cerise, which I considered kinda clever at the time. 😉

These books were written way before I was born, but they were still a very important part of my childhood. I’m on the case now to see which books from my childhood I could pass down to my guys. They’re still a bit young for my first choice – Fahrenheit 451 – but we’ll get there.

Which books from your childhood would you like your children to read? I’d love you to let me know, either here or on twitter.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your day. 🙂

Elle xx