Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dear Me Two Years Ago.

Dear Me two years ago,

I can see how worried you are sitting there today, looking in on your baby. You're struggling to believe she'll ever be anything more than the smallest Smidge you've ever seen but she will be, she'll grow big and strong and beautiful, just give her time.

You feel tired today, I can see that, You want more than a dangerous cuddle that may make her worse, I'm afraid it's going to be that way for a while, but one day she'll be yours,all yours and you can hold her close whenever you want, it will be up to you.

Today the Doctors are talking about restarting her feeds, but you don't want to rush her, you want to freeze time and keep her safe forever. No one can blame you for thinking like that, you don't like not being the one to make all the decisions, it goes against all your natural instincts, against everything you prepared for, but don't be scared. 

One day you will look back and you will know it was for the best and knowing will be be so much easier than hoping.I promise you that.

Sometimes you get worried that you're not your level best, that other people are judging you.It's not easy feeling like you're being watched but try not to worry, nobody expects you to be amazing, nobody expects you to be okay with all this. If ever there was a time to not be perfect, then  now is that time so don't feel ashamed.

It wont be long before you're taking that baby home, yes,soon it will be your turn to walk out of the NICU doors with a beautiful baby girl.


It will be scary at first and I'm sorry to say it won't be the last you'll see of the hospital either,but things will be okay because you will know just what to do and how to look after her.

And now best of all, let me give you a little glimpse of the future...

 This is your little girl. Isn't she perfect? Isn't she everything you ever dreamed of?

This is her just after her second birthday enjoying her third Christmas.. beautiful, happy, healthy.

Now look again at the tiny face in the incubator in front of you, because she will only be that tiny once. You see that little hat she wears? One day it will make a snug fit on her tiny doll that she'll push around in a toy pram.

One day you'll look at a copy of her tiny foot prints and you'll ask yourself  'Was she really that small?'
and you'll be reminded of this very day when you wondered what the future held and you will know it was worth every minute of the path you walked.

Until then, have faith.

Kindest regards,

The future Me. xx

An extra special Thank you to the lovely Amymouse from Nearly Everything But The Kitchen Sink for providing me with the inspiration for this blog post.Do pop over and check out some of her other fabulous posts!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Gifts For Mum's In NICU

There's no doubt at all that the very best gift  a NICU Mum could have this Christmas is a stable day with her baby. A day free from the fright of another infection, a day tolerating feeds or in low oxygen supply, a day that doesn't bring surprises of the unwanted variety.

If a NICU Mum is really,really lucky maybe her baby will meet an important milestone this Christmas, a first cuddle,the move from ventilation to C-pap or that all important move from an incubator to a 'hot cot.'

Who would ever think this could be on a Mother's wish list? but it will be because this is exactly what hundreds of mum's of poorly babies want across the UK today.

When this time two years ago I was in intensive care, fixated on a monitor, watching my tiny baby's chest rise and fall, I cared nothing for the Christmas cheer that would warm peoples homes and see the faces of small children light up.

I cared nothing for what gifts I'd bought for relatives or what they'd bought for me, I just felt a strange combination of being upset and grateful all at the same time.

Upset that it had come to this, that here we were, watching a baby fight, experiencing possibly the worst Christmas ever. However, at the same time I was pleased, so pleased and grateful that she was still here and fighting and if I'm honest, that was what I think I held on to... that is what got me through, knowing that whilst she was there in front of me there was still hope...

and for Christmas I really wouldn't have wanted anything else.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Top Five Doctor's Who Have Saved My Sanity

Generally speaking at Diary Of A Premmy Mum, I try and keep the names of professionals anonymous. However, If someone has done something Ace, Something brilliant or something thoroughly unforgettable, then why not  publicly declare their excellence? It is nearly Christmas, After all.

So in today's post I bring you my top five Doctors.

Top five? I hear you say. That's a whole lot of Doctors to come top . But you know this Premmy Mum has met more than her fair share in recent years, there have been at least 100 who have looked after Smidge between the four Neonatal Hospitals and  the children's ward.

Some Doctor's are naturally gifted with people,others have to work at it, personally, I made nearly every Doctor work at it, so if they made it to my top 5, then they are hard core, dedicated.....the best of the best!

So here they are.. in no particular order.

Dr Dylan Watkins. (G.P) Leatside Surgery Totnes.        
Dr Watkins used to be my G.P before I  had Smidge. I wish he was still my G.P now but dreaded Geography forced a surgery change, putting an end to all that was awesome about care in the community.
What I liked best about Dylan was his laid back attitude, his off the wall sense of humour and  his willingness to listen and support.
He is totally devoted to his patients, a bit of a cynic and  not in the least bit  P.C. If there was a town award for being the 'People's Doctor' I'm fairly sure he'd  bag it in a flash and I wouldn't hesitate in signposting a few of my bean sprout loving friends his way, or any friends for that matter.
I love the way this Doctor embraces the alternative nature of the  community, he doesn't judge people in difficult times and regularly goes above and beyond for everyone.On occasion, you'll even catch him whizzing around town on  his motorbike dropping of prescriptions on his way home. If every G.P took his attitude to good community care then perhaps we wouldn't be so swamped by services trying to fill in the gaps.
Dr.Watkins also writes his own blog, where he raises awareness, shares his views and talks about community and medical issues.

Dr David Mabin. Paediatric Consultant and Neonateologist
Ever since we returned to Devon (when Smidge reached about 33 weeks gestation) Dr Mabin has been helping us to take great care of our family.
When I first met him, it was a time of massive upheaval, I was hugely stressed from the whole Smidge Live/Die saga. The frequent hospital moves, the constant shifting about but he was so kind and understanding and he reserved judgement, despite my coming across as quite rude and insensitive at times.
He's been nothing but a support to us over these last two years, watching Smidge grow and develop, Always sitting in the background empowering us as parents and having us believe that we are making sound decisions about her care.
There have been long periods spent on the children's ward, where I've suffered more than a little cabin fever from being shut in a cubicle for too long.There's been tears, there's been snot, (me not the doctor) there's even been me asking him out right (in a totally undiplomatic way) if he thought I was a bonkers raving lunatic who needs professional help. I have to say he dealt with it all fabulously, always taking so much care to make sure I take something positive away from our conversations and goodness knows when I'm in that state I don't make it easy for him, so what he's done, it really means a lot.
Further more, I know I'm not alone in my 'Dr. Mabin Loving' as he is a very popular Doctor amongst all the families we know at Exeter S.N.U.G group, many of whom have been lucky to have him as their allocated consultant.

Dr.Richard Thwaites. Paediatric Consultant and Neonatologist at Q.A Hospital, Portsmouth.
How Could I ever forget Dr.Thwaites?The doctor who who resuscitated Smidge at birth, the doctor who put the tube down her throat and bought her safely in to the NICU. He was very involved in her care in those vital early weeks and made a lot of the clinical decisions, literally saving her life.
If it were not for him and his dedication to Neonates or  his obvious expertise in dealing with extremely low birth weight babies, she really wouldn't be here today, I totally believe that.
From the second Smidge was admitted to Intensive Care, we knew she was in the hands of an expert.Of course i'd be lying if I said I completely put my faith in him, I couldn't, not in anyone, knowing the risks. However I did always know she was in the best possible hands, I always knew if anyone could save her it would be him and the team around him. He was passionate about premature babies, it really came across when he spoke about them. His explanations of risk,of the theory that lay behind the decisions he made were really second to none and  One-day Hubby  felt a lot more involved on account of his detailed descriptions.

Dr Alice Martin. Registrar at RD&E Exeter
Another Doctor who I will always remember is Dr. Alice Martin, a registrar in Exeter. My dealings with her have  only ever been brief and in emergency situations, once, when she was working on the transport team and then again quite recently, in the spring when Smidge was 'naughty' again.
Alice comes across as really genuine. She is friendly and supportive and can canulate an ex pre- term baby in record time.It was thanks to her quick thinking and steady hands that Smidge came out of a 25 minute seizure and I was extremely impressed with the way she conducted herself in this this emergency situation. If Smidge had gone on to fit much longer she would have been at risk of brain damage and I think it's a real skill,remaining calm, giving instructions and not saying anything that would  alarm parents and make the situation worse.
I can also tell that Alice really cared about the impact that the whole event had on us and she came by to check on us several times afterwards to make sure we were okay.This made a real difference to us, knowing that she cared.

Dr Liz Donovan. Paediatric Consultant and Neonatologist Q.A Hospital Portsmouth
Dr Donovan was one of those Doctors who made me feel sane when I thought that I was losing the plot.I guess the thing is when you have a child in intensive care, its so easy to worry about everything, I would need constant reassurance about the decisions that were being taken.
Dr Donovan was the sort Doctor who would make herself available if she saw me in the corridor.She'd even take me in to a side room for a  bit of a chat if that's what was needed. She wouldn't do it in a scary 'lets go to the quiet room' kind of way but more in a 'lets get away from the noise' sort of way, which was great because I couldn't always concentrate in the ICU with the monitors going off and Smidge apnoea-ing left right and centre.
Whenever I had a concern about Smidge, she didn't make me feel foolish or unskilled or obstructive, she'd validate my concerns and take my views on board. She seemed to totally understand my battle of wanting to be a Mum but not 'having the knowledge' and she really wanted to help with that. Without this kind of support my mind would be plagued with fragments of medical  information which would drift amidst the bleeps and fear. When someone takes a little time to understand how you're processing all that it really makes a difference, I'm so glad she was there.

So there we have it, My top five Doctors and why I loved them. I think it's really important to recognise good care like this. These people work so hard, they go above and beyond and the real reward for them is knowing that they have made a difference. So which Doctors have made a difference to you and why?


Friday, December 14, 2012


Dearest Smidge,

It is so hard to believe that you are now a whole two years old. Two years old I tell you!, Two years old. It's really true, you have gone from being a teeny tiny 1lb 7oz Smidge in to a fully grown, pony- tail- wearing, Christmas- tree- terrorising toddler and I couldn't be more proud!

As well as being amazingly strong and fabulously resilient you are also incredibly cute, as was your big brother Mister G when he was just your age.

You love being around your bonkers family and often our names feature amongst your babbling gibberish.At present you say 'Mummy' approximately 300 times a day.

For the longest time you called your Daddy 'Da' but recently you've considered him worthy of two syllables, a gesture that has both pleased and delighted him to no end.

Like many babies, books are your absolute favourite thing and already you can point to the relevant shapes, animals, body parts and  different types of food when asked, such a clever girl!

Thanks to our recent house move, you had a crash course in baby signing too (the wonder of DVD's) and now you  have little conversations with us, using your hands. You're favourite signs are 'where?' and 'more.'
The latter, 'more'  is flipping relentless serves you very well indeed.

I love looking after you myself. Watching you learn and develop. It's such fun when you learn a new trick! I know you can tell that it pleases me as you keenly prompt me to applaud you.

Since we moved here, we've taken up 'cat spotting' in our local neighbourhood (there has to be some benefits to living in a street) and when you spy a four legged friend you point excitedly and exclaim 'there! th-th-th- there!!)

Your favourite song at the moment is 'here we go round the mulberry bush,' both in the form of my own terrible vocals and  on the CD in the car. You like it best if I combine the two and sing along with the music, in such instances you beam me a smile in the rear view mirror, which is extremely cute to see!

Your big brother George treats you to a bit of rough and tumble and you squeal with delight when he chases you around the house.When he catches you he gives you a great big hug and your little heart is racing but still you are laughing.

Helping around the house is another favourite pass time, you like putting the laundry in the basket and setting the washing machine off when it's not time.

You learned how to say 'yes' before you learned 'no' which has had Mister G ask you to agree to all sorts of  things, but you've cottoned on now and when he laughs at you for declaring your own insanity you look embarrassed and stop saying 'yes' for a while!

I could sit here for a hundred hours and write the millions of  things you do to make us happy but truthfully, no one is going to find them as lovely as I do.(apart from maybe Daddy and George) but  I hope it sums it up to say that you have completed our family and made all of our dreams come true.

Happy Birthday Pudding,




You In Your Party Dress

Your Sweet Little Two Year Old Face

Your Special Moment

Present Time!

With Cake On Your Face!

Birthday Smiles !

Friday, December 7, 2012


Bright strip lights blaze down, glowing yellow over the supermarket isles.

Over sized cardboard pointy fingers are directing customers to the shortest available queue. 

Those fingers are stupid. If you paid me a hundred pounds an hour i wouldn't hold a fingers on a stick like that. So big and stupid and green.

Mummy-bot wonders over to the clothes area. She's only has two sets of clothes for weeks now and she needs something else to wear.

What would be the right thing she wonders..

But she doesn't wonder for too long. 

She doesn't wonder too much. 

What if something happens when she is wondering?

Mummy-bot quickly reaches in to her pocket to feel the presence of her phone. It's there, that's good.

 It's not vibrating either, that's good.

Pulling it our of her pocket she checks for  missed calls. There are none.

She stands still a moment. blankly fixated on the clothes department.

A woman in a green uniform pop's out of nowhere. she's wearing sparkly read earring's.

'Can I be of any help at all?'

Mummy-bot looks up and mindlessly recites 'I came to get clothes' She is like an Alien in a foreign land.

She picks up the first thing she sees.

She only wore that dress once.

> > > >Two years later (or there abouts) > > > >

Bright strip lights blaze down, glowing yellow over the supermarket isles.

Over sized cardboard pointy fingers are directing customers to the shortest available queue. 

Those fingers are still stupid but now they are local stupid pointy fingers instead, we are back in Devon.

And this time I am not shopping for clothes but for party food for my beautiful sweet baby girl.

Lists, many lists.

But no matter how busy I am I still remember.

No matter how healthy she seems I still reach in to my pocket and eagerly await the reassurance of a blank telephone screen.

And no matter how many times I come home to a healthy peaceful Smidge I rarely turn in to our house with out preparing to see an ambulance.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to not think like that.

Sometimes I wonder when being me will feel okay again.