World Prematurity Day 2017

Rebecca Toal's avatar

by Rebecca Toal

We are the forever grateful parents of an ex-premature baby.

Our beautiful princess came VERY early and precariously into this world, and changed our lives forever...

Six and a half years ago, our world turned upside down in an instant, as our 1lb 13 oz (810g) little girl was delivered by emergency C-section at just 25 weeks and 3 days gestation.

It had been a very rough pregnancy.

Waiting 26 whole days to hold your newborn baby is AGONISING. There were many tears, and doubts that I would even get to hold my sweet girl alive.

Brielle, which means “God is my strength”, clung fiercely onto life in the NICU and PICU for just over 6 months, before we took her home still very fragile, and with multiple health concerns.

Our fourth daughter came home to her sisters with plenty of wires and tubes, as a lot of very premature babies do…

She needed full-time supplemental oxygen therapy, monitoring via oximeter, nasal suctioning and had a feeding tube, complete with a feeding pump on a wheeled pole – so basically we were a little home from hospital. 

Thankfully my nursing background served me well, so it was a bit less daunting, but still, very different when your child is the patient!

We try not to think much about the early days of Brielle. It was such a traumatic and draining period in our lives. Those hospital days were intense.

It’s extremely difficult to watch your child fighting for life. Gasping for breath. Being extubated, and then intubated SO MANY TIMES.

Crashing- being bagged. Countless lines and syringe drivers and meds keeping her alive. A ‘spaghetti of wires’.

My husband grimaces and cannot watch anything to do with premature babies anymore. It’s a little too close to home. It’s too raw still.

As a nurse, I’m hoping to branch into paediatric disability soon, but could never work in an intensive care, especially neonates.

I think I’d always imagine my Brielle being in that incubator. It was without a doubt, the hardest period of my life.

But my miracle baby has grown up now, into a happy and energetic six year old!

She brings so much joy into our lives, and teaches us so much about perseverance, acceptance and unconditional love. Brielle is absolutely determined to push the boundaries and reach her potential.

Despite her multiple disabilities, all directly resulting from her prematurity, she is thriving and living a wonderfully happy and full life.

Life just wouldn’t be the same without her!

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