Every year on November 17 it is World Prematurity Day. On this day, attention is drawn to premature birth. When a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is premature. This has a lot of impact on the child and parents and unfortunately doesn't always end well. Today Sharon (Operation manager at MAMALOVES) tells her personal story.
The birth of my daughter Indi came completely unexpected, because she was born at 27 weeks and 2 days in the Vumc hospital in Amsterdam. She was here for 63 days before she was transferred to a high-care unit. In total she was in hospital for almost 4 months.
I would like to share my story with you from a mother's perspective. I hope I can, because the feelings you have from the start are really indescribable.
A difficult start
The first sight was horrible. Looking back on this, all I could do was cry for the first few days. Such a sweet and strong little miracle lying in an incubator. You’re a mother for the first time, a long cherished dream has come true, but you don’t feel happy in the slightest. Questions you ask yourself when you see your baby lying there: Will she live? Isn't she dying? Is she healthy? Should I let her lie there so she gets better? Is this supposed to be the beautiful thing called motherhood that everyone is talking about?
I remember the NICU nurses saying congratulations mom and dad, you're parents now. You have given birth to a beautiful baby. All I could think was thanks for the congratulations, but motherhood felt so incredibly raw. I had never heard about this before, these kinds of stories about motherhood. If I had known this I would never have longed for it so much, because when my daughter was born I felt nothing but worry.
"All I could do was cry for the first few days"
As soon as you enter the NICU you enter another world. The intensive care unit is always dim. Day and night are simulated and silence predominates, apart from the beeps of the monitors. It is a department where newborn babies fight for their lives, you can feel that.
It is a place where you see the fear of parents in their face when they first enter the ward. It's a place where some moms blame themselves for not seeing it coming. A place where time stands still.
For almost 4 months her dad and I were sitting at her bed for almost 12 hours a day. Many tears have been shed during this period. When I wasn't with her I was always in a hurry to get to her. I always felt like my daughter was waiting for me when I wasn't there. I was never at ease until I heard those beeps.
During this time I have had a lot of support from friends and family. Friends and relatives of friends also managed to reach us. This is close to my heart. I will never forget all the support.
Now I have a two-year-old daughter. A real toddler. I still have sleepless nights, but a different kind. A little cheerful girl who shows toddler behavior, but she is so sweet, cheerful and spontaneous. She likes to show off, approaches everyone and is ready to discover the world. Fortunately, my daughter is doing well now, I am grateful for this.
My love goes out to all mothers (to be) because the road to motherhood and motherhood in itself is a rollercoaster of emotions. I would therefore like to say: share your emotions with your loved ones and always follow your heart.
"Motherhood is a rollercoaster"