I’ve always known that I wanted to be a mum. When I was little I used to collect baby dolls and pretend that they were real. I’d put nappies on them, dress them up for the day and then change them into their pyjamas at night time. Most of them would ‘sleep’ at the foot of my bed, but I’d always make sure I cuddled one at night time.
When I thought about being a mummy, I imagined pushing them in the swing at the park, giving them lots of cuddles and singing songs to them. As I grew older and my desire to be a mum became stronger, I dreamed even more about the precious moments I’d share with my children. I’d think about the day I’d bring them home from hospital for the first time and about what I wanted their nursery to look like! I’d get quite ahead of myself at times through all the excitement that the thought of being a mum gave me!
When I did become pregnant, after my husband and I had IVF to conceive, I never in a million years would have thought about our babies arriving early. We were lucky that our IVF treatment worked first time and the two embryos we’d transferred safely back into my womb had both taken resulting in a twin pregnancy. My husband and I were overjoyed!
However, we discovered from our very first scan that one of the babies was measuring too small and we were told not to get our hopes up as we could lose one or both of our babies. It was heartbreaking, but as the weeks passed by, our babies grew from strength to strength.
Week after week, we had scans and appointments with our consultant. They’d take measurements and check the flow of blood to both babies. At 28 weeks we discovered that one of our babies hadn’t grown for a while. The nurses and our consultant were very supportive and informative. The consultant advised my husband and I that we’d play it week by week, but that we should prepare ourselves for our twins to be delivered prematurely via c-section.
How do you even begin to prepare for something like that? In truth, there really is no way that you can. Until you’ve stepped foot into a neo-natal unit, you really can’t begin to comprehend how emotional and scary the whole experience is.
I knew from very early on in the pregnancy that the chances of a natural birth were slim, but now I knew for definite that it wouldn’t happen at all. This didn’t worry me though. I just wanted our babies to be born safely and if that was to be via c-section, then so be it.
At 34 weeks, the consultant told us that she’d be booking us in for a c-section the following week. Although we knew it was going to happen, hearing those words spoken out loud, made it all feel very real, very quickly, and I burst into tears!
I felt slightly embarrassed as I knew it was inevitable, but I really didn’t feel ready. I had to have steroid injections in my legs which would help prepare the girls lungs for their early arrival.
The day of the c-section arrived and things didn’t go as smoothly as we’d have hoped. Our local hospital closed it’s neonatal unit so we had to be transferred to a different hospital over 20 miles away. When we arrived, things moved really quickly. Less than an hour after walking in through the doors, our twins were born.
R was born first weighing 4lb 3oz, followed two minutes later by M, weighing 2lb 11oz. My husband, Nige, carried the girls over to me wrapped up in towels. I gave them a quick kiss and then they were whisked away from us. They were born just before 3pm, yet it would be over six hours before I could see them again.
The nurses did try to wheel the trolley I was on into the neonatal unit so that I could get a glimpse of them, but I could barely see them through the tears and glass window. It was heartbreaking. Being on a ward surrounded by women with their babies knowing that I didn’t have mine with me. Whilst I was in the recovery room, a doctor came in and gave me a photo of the girls. My husband then came in to tell me that R was struggling to breath and had been placed on a ventilator. M was doing well, even though she was the smaller of the two.
Around 9pm the same evening, my husband wheeled me into the neonatal unit. I was surprised to find the girls in two different rooms. R was in high dependancy as she was on a ventilator and under a jaundice light. M was in a different room. She’d had some oxygen and was being kept warm in her incubator.
It was so hard not being able to just pick them up and give them a cuddle. I couldn’t even touch them. Days passed by and eventually my husband and I were allowed to open up the hatch on their incubator and help do their ‘cares’. Changing their nappies, cleaning them and even helping to feed them via the NG feeding tubes.
I was expressing milk for them, which did make me feel as though I was doing something useful, positive and helpful for them.
I remember the first time I changed their nappies. M’s especially. At 2lb11, the premature baby nappies we had just swamped her. They were far too big and went all the way up to her arm pits. It was also really hard to put the nappy on with all of the tubes and needles that surrounded them.
Thankfully, those who find themselves in the same position as us now can look to Pampers for help. They’re committed to the happy, healthy development of every UK baby – even the tiniest ones. That’s why Pampers have spent three years designing nappies for even the smallest premature babies. They’re teaming up with Bliss, the largest premature baby charity in the UK, who provide support to the tiniest little fighters and their families.
Did you know that 60,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK every year?
Neonatal nurse currently use regular newborn nappies on premature babies, which my husband and I know from experience, can be too wide for premature babies small frames. As such this can result in discomfort as it can push their legs apart. The new Preemie Protection nappies from Pampers have been designed to specifically meet the needs to premature babies. This means minimising disruption to help with sleep, positioning, and medical care.
The smallest ever nappies are designed for babies under 1.8lb. The size P3 nappy fits in the palm of your hand and is designed for babies weighing less than a loaf of bread!
What’s even more wonderful is that Pampers will be donating approximately 3 million Pampers Preemie Protection Nappies to UK hospitals’ neonatal units, giving premature babies born in the UK access to nappies specifically designed for their needs.
Pampers have created this Little Fighters film, which brings to life the daily struggles that premature babies face and showcases their amazing power to fight against all the odds.
How can I help?
As mentioned above Pampers have also teamed up with Bliss to support premature babies and their parents, and you can help too. Pampers are asking parents to share photos of their little ones with a clenched fist on social media, to celebrate the amazing fighting spirit that premature babies show every day.
For every image that is shared using #powerofbabies Pampers will donate £1 to Bliss.
This is such a worthwhile cause to get behind and I really hope that you’ll join in.
I wish these nappies had been available when our girls were girls born. It would have been so much easier for my husband and I to change their nappies and would have been a lot less stressful, plus they would have been so much more comfortable for our girls.