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World Prematurity Day

‘It is a great honour to be supporting World Prematurity Day today as a health professional and as a Mum of premature babies. For too long there has been a lack of awareness of the impact of premature births on our infants, their families and the dedicated clinicians who support them, as well as the charities who are helping to raise their profile. I remember only too well how my own rollercoaster of a journey commenced with my body contracting to push my twin daughters into the world 14 weeks early and how with every  breath I fought against nature to keep them safe and inside me. I was told babies born at this gestation had little chance of survival and would almost certainly have severe problems if they did. Despite my valiant fight against my own body my babies were born. Isabella came first weighing 1lb 13oz and did make a murmur, I got a brief glimpse of her and then she was whisked away while I delivered her twin sister Elizabeth who by this point we knew hadn’t survived. It was a very difficult day for us as a family. I managed to spend some time holding Elizabeth, took hand and footprints and a priest came to bless her for us. I was then taken to SCBU to meet Isabella and see if she had survived. I took the priest with me. She was smaller than my hand, bright red, ventilated, attached to wires, but she was breathing and beautiful and my daughter. She was christened in her incubator ‘Isabella Elizabeth’ after her twin sister and we willed her to fight for them both…….after many transfers, resuscitations, bad scans, infections Isabella came home after 89 days in hospital. She was and still is brave, resilient and beautiful. She is now 10 and has written a poem for today to celebrate World Prematurity Day which she is sharing with her classmates. Her brother Allister was also born premature at 34 weeks three years ago, but this time I was prepared and resilient and I was supported by great professionals and even managed to help other parents in SCBU. Allister is fine and healthy and I know that I could have lost three children were it not for the advances in medicine, research and the skills and dedication of the teams caring for my family and funded by the NHS. I hope that you will share your stories, photos and memories and continue to raise the profile of our brave babies, their families and all of those who embark on their traumatic journey with them.’ (Catherine McClennan)

World Permaturity Poem created by Isabella age 10.