As it is World Prematurity day coming up, I wanted to write a a post about something that matters to me, Something that affected me quite deeply through out my NICU journey.However, I haven't posted about it much on here because when your childs life is saved, above all else you are grateful, grateful for every day that medics studied a text book, grateful for every decision they made and their commitment to medicine in general..So when I write this post I want to make it clear that this is not a criticism of the staff involved, it is a reflection of the chronic shortage in the cots available to Neonates in the UK today.
Thank you so much for agreeing to give Britain's tiniest babies a chance at life. When my baby was born, she weighed just 1lb 7oz and we were terrified that she would not live.
It was a shock to hear we couldn't stay close to home, that we had to travel 150 miles to receive the care she needed, we naively thought our local hospital could help us, but they couldn't, they could barely help us at all.
When I was driven through a snow storm in the back of an ambulance, I thought my baby would die but she stayed with us until we made it safely to the other end. Thank you for providing us with this ambulance.
I won't lie, it was hard being so far from home. We had to leave our other child, our animals, our places of work... but more than anything else, we were grateful because someone, somewhere might be able to save our baby, so thank you for that.
When after a few weeks our baby got sick, she had to be moved somewhere else, It wasn't that the doctors didn't give her a good care, they did but she needed looking after by surgeons and the other doctors, they weren't surgeons so they couldn't help us.
The change of hospital was scary because the nurses and doctors, they didn't care like the others, they didn't know our baby. They didn't know us. To them she was a 'thing' and we were 'the things' family, the ones who had to be kept informed.
But they did keep her alive and warm and we are so grateful for that.
A week or two later,the doctors,(the surgical ones) they told us that she had to leave their hospital. She was still small, sick and wouldn't take any feeds but they needed to make space for the sicker babies, the one's who weren't going to make it unless they went there. But they did arrange an ambulance to take her back to the first hospital, so thank you for that.
When we got back to the first hospital, the nicer one, her incubator wasn't where it was before, she had been put somewhere else now.She didn't really belong there, by the window but she didn't really belong anywhere really, not anywhere at all.
Then, only a short while after that, the doctors, they told me it was time to for her to leave their hospital too, to move closer to home. Only I didn't want to move closer to home, I wanted to stay there with the doctors and nurses who knew her. I worried that she wasn't ready,that she hadn't been tolerating milk for long. I pleaded for her to stay but they couldn't help us any more because they needed the cots for the other babies, the ones who lived close by.
The day she moved from the hospital we didn't get to say goodbye to the doctors and nurses who saved her. When we arrived hoping to see our baby be put safely in to the transport incubator she had already left and there was another baby filling her space.
I liked that hospital but I wish there had been time to say goodbye.
I liked hospital number three too, we were there for a week but sadly we couldn't stay.
Our baby found it all too much you see, the move, so she had to go and be with surgeons again, different ones this time, and hospital number four.
It was old there, chaotic & smelly.
But they kept her warm and alive so thank you for that.
Thank you actually, to all the doctors and nurses in hospital 1,2,3 and 4 and especially to 3, our local (ish) hospital for working with the impact of hospitals 1,2 and 4 and for not sending us to hospital 5 even though that would have been the usual practice according to protocol.
Thank you for all of that.
But dearest Government,whilst I am grateful for all of these things I want you to know this.
When you agree to give these tiny babies a chance a life, you fill their parents hearts with hope. But when you cart fragile, tiny babies up and down the country like you know you do Every Single Day you put their tiny lives at risk and your promise becomes a dangerous game of Russian roulette.
So when you say, you do everything you can to save the lives of babies born under 28 weeks. Please honour that effort by putting your money where your mouth is and give Neonates the resources they need
Because a life is a life..
No matter how small.