They admitted me to hospital and after five days of consistent bleeding, I went in for an emergency C-section for a premature birth
They told me during the surgery that I had suffered a placental abruption.Meraymi Ibrahim
Meraymi Ibrahim shares with us her experiences of giving birth to her son, Matteo, prematurely. Read on to find out more about her parenting journey, and find out where you can find support if you are dealing with a similar situation.
I was immensely happy when I found out I was pregnant
Me and my husband didn’t have to try for very long and for this I consider myself lucky. I am aware how difficult it can be for some couples, so we were truly grateful. I was so excited through every stage of the pregnancy. From finding out we were having a boy, to thinking of names, all the funny symptoms, changes your body go through and even the weird cravings. I enjoyed and loved every second of it.
Sometimes I would wake in the night and feel my baby move around inside me. It was the best feeling. I felt so safe with my little being inside me. It was a glorious relationship and magic to bond with. I never felt anxious or alone.
But things took a turn when my little baby stopped moving so much. The night time movements slowed right down and I really had to poke him persistently to get him to jolt.
They always emphasise to take action when this happens and thank goodness I did. I was referred for a scan at 30 weeks and it was confirmed that he hadn’t grown since my 20 week scan. It was concerning.
My waters broke not long after that and I was bleeding. They admitted me to hospital and after five days when the bleeding did not cease I went in for an emergency C-section at only 31 weeks. It was confirmed during the surgery I had suffered a placental abruption.
The truth of what it’s like to have a premature birth
Our little Matteo was born healthy but tiny and was looked after in neonatal by a fantastic team of nurses round the clock. There was so much I didn’t know about premature postnatal care; I felt completely out of my depth, frightened and unprepared. I didn’t even have any nappies or a blanket ready for him on the day he was born.
But despite all that, nothing can prepare you for the heartache of returning home without your baby. You are discharged from the hospital after major surgery, but the trauma of it and also having no baby with you was just unimaginably painful.
I mourned the early end of my pregnancy, made more difficult from not having my son at home with me. I went everyday to the ward with my husband to see our dear little one wired up to machines and tubes.
Eventually, we were encouraged to start changing his nappies. We learned about feeding him. I expressed as much milk as I could. We did skin on skin and everything the doctors said to ensure that he would develop as rapidly as he could so we could take him home.
A premature birth feels like forever… but it’s not.
After four weeks we were finally given the all clear.
He put on enough weight and was feeding consistently to be discharged. We were overjoyed, but it was so daunting. New parent anxiety is real and it was overwhelming on our first day back at home. I am fortunate that during everything, my family was there to support me. I cherish them so much- their help really meant a lot and I cannot imagine how single women or those doing things alone cope. It’s tough enough as it is.
Being able to later reflect on everything is bittersweet.
As parents, me and my partner were able to learn so much about caring for Matteo while he was in neonatal (which goes beyond what you learn in antenatal classes). This is only to be expected when you have a premature birth.
I always feel like there’s so much lost time to make up for, as the beginning of his life was spent in intensive care. I feel like I missed out on so much that a new mum gets to have with her baby during the first days of their life.
While we were over the moon to be able to finally go home as a family and start our new lives, I was also aware that I was still healing from everything. It was crucial for me to be the best I could be. I had to give myself TLC to mentally and physically recover and that takes time. The trauma of the birth and separation from my new-born was a lot to handle.
Thank you so much, PANDAS
One resource that was so helpful was the Pandas Foundation. They are a network of counsellors who have experience in maternity care who are there to listen to parents are going through perinatal and post natal issues.
I called them during my struggle and they were so kind and empathetic. I think it’s important to spread the word of them so more mothers feel like they can reach out. It can be so hard making the first move when you enter parenthood. We tend to accept the hardships around it without question. But it is also completely justifiable to not feel ok for whatever reason. There is no shame in reaching out, even if it is just for some reassurance.
It is almost 4 months now since Matteo has been home and while there has been challenges. He has settled in fantastically. I am glad I spoke to someone when things got tough. No one is invincible but the best thing we can do is support each other and stick together.
Would You Like To Share Your Story Too?
If you’d like to share your story we’d love to hear from you. Every family is different and every family has a unique story to tell. We want to hear your story, your challenges and your triumphs so other parents in similar situations can learn, share and realise that they are not alone. Read more about #This Is Family and find out how you can get involved too.