Friday 17 November 2017

What prematurity means to me this World Prematurity Day

No matter how ready you are to have a baby, nothing can prepare you for a premature baby. My own son was born at 33 weeks.

Today, November 17th, is World Prematurity Day, and Pampers is raising money and awareness for Bliss, the premature baby charity, by joining in on the charity’s social media campaign and asking parents like myself what prematurity is to them.

When I think about prematurity, I think about being thrust into a whole new world, in two senses. The physical sense – constantly at hospital with your little one, learning medical jargon until it’s like a second language and being surrounded by the beeping of machines. The mental sense – feeling
helpless, a constant state of anxiety and worry and, the biggest one for me, loneliness.

With 60,000 premature births each year in the UK every year, that’s one in 11, I’m obviously not the first person to have a premature baby, but at that time it felt like I was. No one I knew had experienced the birth of a premature baby before so I had no one to talk to, to reassure me, to tell me that it was all going to be okay.

I spent a lot of time on online birth forums but I didn’t want to clog the threads with our day to day updates and while I appreciated reading other people’s experiences and knockbacks with prematurity, some of it could be quite upsetting for me to read at that time. Luckily for us, C went from strength to strength and thanks to advances in medical science more and more premature
babies are surviving. 

Earlier this year, you may remember me writing about Pampers developing a
smaller, preemie nappy for babies weighing less than 1.8lb (800g) and I wrote about them wanting to donate around 3 million of these nappies to neonatal units across the UK.

So far, 59 of the 206 neonatal units have accepted this donation, meaning that an estimated 18,285 babies are benefiting from these free preemie nappies. From that last campaign earlier this year, Pampers has raised awareness of the struggles that premature babies and their families go through,
as well as thousands of pounds to support them. This World Prematurity Day, Pampers is continuing this partnership with Bliss. For every social media post shared using the hashtag #PrematurityIs and tagging @Pampers_UK on Twitter, they will donate £1 to the charity.

They have also developed super cute milestone cards in partnership with Bliss which I wish were available when C was born – I’m a sucker for a milestone card photo! When we got to bring C home from hospital, I found myself waiting for C to hit new milestones such as finally fitting in newborn sized clothing or going up a nappy size. I remember using the smallest Pampers nappy available five years ago with C and it still being too big. We had to bend and fold them down so that they didn’t knock against his wires or cause discomfort to his little hips. These limited edition milestone cards will be distributed to neonatal units across the UK for free by Pampers and Bliss.

I can’t wait to read about your experiences of what #PrematurityIs. I’m sure I can relate!

(This is a paid collaborative post with Pampers.) 
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