Being mum · Prematurity

Turning 1 …

What a year! This time last year our worlds were turned upside down as Poppie hurtled into our lives. At just 27 week + 1 day pregnant a check-up by the amazing midwives at St James hospital turned into a visit to the delivery suite, followed by an emergency C-section and then Poppie arrived at just 1lb 9oz! We celebrated with a big party at my dad’s house last weekend and then today opened up all of her presents followed by a visit to tropical world.

Poppie’s arrival was so unexpected that obviously I turned to goggle and a specific statistic has stuck with me. 90% of babies born at 26, 27 and 28 weeks make it to their first birthday. She did it! In that moment a year seemed a million miles away but we are here and now it’s time to do the equivalent of shout from the roof tops.

Celebration of this little life is very much name of the game and has made me reflect on the highs and lows of the past 12 months. Looking back at photos of Poppie when she was first born seem unrealistic, especially when you compare them to the smiling, happy little girl in front of me. I don’t think that a year in my life has held quite so many tears and happiness sometimes only moments apart. At about 2 and a half months into our journey we met another amazing mum, who had a baby headed home on oxygen. She writes an amazing blog about her experiences of being mum to premature twins, grief and the challenges her little family has overcome.***

One of the huge parts of this year has been the sheer amount of love from near and far. When Poppie was born I felt very far removed from the situation, which may sound strange seeing as though I am her mum. This might sound funny but I felt like I was caught completely off guard as I was most definitely not expecting my baby so early. I managed to catch a glimpse of her as she was whisked away after being delivered. Pops then had to take a trip to the other side of Leeds where she would receive appropriate care for a baby so early. I managed a squeeze of her foot before almost 48 hours passed and with the help of an amazing midwife at St James I could see her again in her incubator. This was to be her home for a few more months. Those first few days are all a bit of a blur but a huge milestone was on day 6 when I got to have my first hold. Proud as punch doesn’t cover the feeling and I will never forget that moment. I looked forward to skin to skin and loved the feeling of holding her so close. During this time we were inundated with messages, gifts and cards. Every time I had a wobble I knew that someone was on the other end of the phone / whatsapp / just a train ride away. The words of congratulation on becoming a mum made the situation real and gave me so much strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

We continue to receive so much love and support. The amount of presents are testament to that, even if Poppie was far more concerned with the wrapping paper and cards! On days like today I feel so thankful for everyone who has helped us on our journey and I know will continue to do so.

We have celebrated today with such a super little girl. Our little miracle has come so far and I am so excited to see what the next year will hold for us. I am sure we will see more ups and downs, and there is a definite anxiousness about this next winter. However as her personality grows and her cheeky smiles brighten everyone’s day I cannot wait to see what the next year holds for us all.

***Check out Amy’s blog at https://thisismybraveface.blog/

Being mum

Pure devotion …

As Poppie has grown the days have definitely become a little tougher as she becomes wiser and is adopting very diva like tendencies. Watching her develop into her own personality is both amazing and testing as she learns how to manipulate situations to her benefit. Although a tiny person, just recently breaking 13lb 7oz, it would be easy to underestimate her powers to influence. Her cheeky looks give her away and slowly I am learning which ones to get on top of. My mother labels me a princess at my ripe age of 31 so I am really not sure how I expected Poppie to be any different.

As her personality grows there are moments of pure sunshine in the day, notwithstanding the fact that she is devoted to me and responds to so many of the little things in the day. I am not really a morning person, but breakfast is becoming a favourite part of our day. Still in my dressing gown, the radio is on and I pull a few shapes in time to the music. In response I receive smiles, sometimes a laugh but best of all the look of complete commitment to the fact that I will provide for her during the day. Poppie really is the best audience I have ever had, watching and laughing at me as I pull funny faces, voices and a few moves.

In September I will return to my day job as a teacher where I constantly attempt to grab a 28 full class of 14 year olds’ attention. With Poppie there is no attempt needed. From moves in the kitchen to silly voices when changing her nappy to peekaboo on her playmat there really is very little effort required. And I love it! Everyone craves a bit of attention from time to time but no one tells you that bringing a new life into the world will result in undivided, devotion. Of course a lot of this comes from the fact that Poppie needs to survive and has worked out that I will provide food for the day, but it is definitely more than that. At the age of 10 months she is working out the world and certain of her mum and dad as her constants.

Being a mother doesn’t come with a text book. Sometimes I find that hard but when I find a funny face or gesture making her laugh it is the best feeling in the world.