It’s world prematurity day today. This is my son born at 36+5 almost 24 years ago. I know many of you have had your babies even earlier, it can be a very worrying time. Monitors, tests, strange noises, lights etc. All you want to do is hold your baby.
I had a thought recently and told my son, he’s almost 6 ft now, that I think the reason I always say to him “two armed hug please, no one arms” is because when he was born I never got to hold him. He was taken from me straight away and was then put in an incubator. We were separated, I remember looking at him in the incubator and thinking to myself, how handsome he was, he looked like my brother.
He was sent to the NICU and I was sent to the maternity ward. I was told nothing, (remember that was 24 years ago, things are much better now) A few hours later a student midwife came to me and her words will stay with me forever ” About your baby Michelle” A few more lines, “he had to be resuscitated“  She never said if he was alive . My head was swirling, my heart pounding. Where is my baby… where is my baby and bring me to him now is all I could think and say.
I found it so hard to name him, I think I thought if he didn’t make it, it would be easier if he didn’t have a name, sill really when you think of it.
I spent as much time as possible with him, when I wasn’t out in the old pumping room with that very loud machine, all alone and producing drops of colostrum. I placed a sign beside my son saying “my mummy feeds me” in the hope he wasn’t given formula. I knew he needed my milk to have the best chance.
After a few rough days and nights, and some fights to get things sorted my little man began to shine.
I remember the day I was bringing him home, I  finally felt it ok to name him,  Andrew is my lovely son. He became an amazing feeder and I cuddled him as much as I could.
Almost 24 years on he’s a fine, healthy young man who is very close to his mum. I love our conversations on the phone and when he comes home to visit from London, it’s always two armed hugs, chats, walks and laughter. So to all you parents out there who have had good and bad outcomes, I wish you and your family well. Michelle xx

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