This is the story of Hayley Harvey and her beautiful baby boy Toby. Toby was born at 25 weeks. Today he is a beautiful and very energetic 14-month old. This is their story.
“Nobody can prepare you for having a premature baby. It is a huge emotional roller coaster that feels like it goes on forever and at times can feel like you may never get off. The endless days sitting by your baby’s incubator watching them sleep and endure endless examinations, blood tests and transfusions. The long nights without your baby worrying that you may get an unwelcome phone call from the NICU.
There isn’t the immediate skin to skin bonding and there are no loving cuddles where your baby meets all the family. Instead your baby’s milk is measured in a string and given by a tube and nappy changes dictated by a chart.
For me, there was no packing of my baby bag, no pregnancy yoga classes or meeting new friends at NCT classes. At 25 weeks I wasn’t ready or prepared to have a baby. My bump wasn’t big enough, I hadn’t experienced pregnancy enough, I hadn’t even reached the third trimester!
But as I sat there every day watching Toby fight for his life, none of that mattered. He was truly amazing and I was in total awe of him. Yes, he was tiny weighing only 1ib11oz at birth but in my heart, I knew he was going to make it. Not that that stopped me worrying for a single moment.
In my head he was born 15 weeks early, so he had to grow in the incubator for that period of time instead of inside me. I kept reminding myself of that and telling myself, we had plenty of time to start our lives, as mother and son once he was home. You can never give up hope and pray that one day you will get off the NICU roller coaster.
Three hospitals and three months later, we were ready to take him home. It was the scariest but the best time of our lives. We felt free and ready to finally become parents.
Please take time on world prematurity day to think about these babies that were born too small, too soon and too sick, as there isn’t always the happy ending. One thing for sure is that these babies are true fighters in every sense of the word and unless you have experienced the NICU roller coaster yourself, it is hard to appreciate how difficult it can be!
At MamaBabyBliss we have set up a Charitable Foundation to support parents and babies with unique and special needs including supporting premature or poorly babies and their parents. To find out more about the work of the MamaBabyBliss Foundation please visit our page here