When my son was born 8 weeks early it was the scariest experience of my life. I was in shock - the possibility that he might come early was something that had never even entered my mind. Then there was fear - 'it is too early', 'what kind of state will he be in?', 'I can't lose him' were thoughts that ran on replay through my mind during the labour.
After his birth I had the tiniest of cuddles before he was taken into the care of the Doctors and Nurses. He stayed in their care in the Hospital's Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) for 4 weeks. I don't think that there is anything that could have prepared me for the helplessness you feel as you watch your fragile newborn being cared for by medical staff. The routine of travelling back and forth to hospital several times a day, trying to live in the world outside the hospital, maintaining a milk supply and coping with the sometimes overwhelming guilt and heartache was draining.
That was just over a year ago now. Today, at almost 15 months old, my son is a healthy, happy toddler who enjoys exploring the world around him. Since leaving hospital I have enjoyed the friendship of another parent whose daughter was also born premature. Having someone who has been through similar experiences and continues to face premmie related challenges is comforting. I have also just discovered a local premmie support group called Loddon Mallee Kids. I was made to feel very welcome when I attended my first play group with LMK last week. Jordan had a great time interacting with the other children - ranging in age from new born to 4 years, and I enjoyed getting out of the house and meeting other mothers.
I have created a special offer just for the gift bags given to the parents of babies in SCBU. The vouchers have been printed and just arrived today. I look forward to them going out and hope that they will help make this stressful time for the new parents of early arrivals just that little bit easier by allowing them to find some gorgeous premmie items to add to their little ones wardrobes - in their own time, from the convenience of their own home, via our online store.
For more information about Loddon Mallee Kids, see http://www.loddonmalleekids.org.au/