The month of November is here. The big one. The important month. Jack’s birthday month and also World Prematurity Month. Where has the year gone?
World Prematurity Month last year saw the arrival of my premature son. This year sees him turn one whole year old. World Prematurity Day last year was on 17th November and that is the day everything changed. On the day that lots of other premmie mummies were celebrating their kids’ journeys, I was being told that we would be starting our own within 24 hours. It’s been a whirlwind of a year.
This year, World Prematurity Month has seen us come full circle. A couple of days ago, the oxygen company came and took away the oxygen cylinders that had sat both in our lounge and by Jack’s cot. This feels like quite a significant moment because that means that the consultant feels that he really doesn’t need us to have a “safety net”. That when Jack gets a cold (which he has this week), he can cope like any other person. That he can maintain his oxygen levels without working harder than normal.
This doesn’t mean that I’m fully fixed though of course. Whenever Jack gets a snuffle or a cold, I am on high red alert from the moment he sniffs for the first time until I realise that his nose hasn’t required wiping that day. I stare at him, studying his breathing and the movements of his chest. Cold medicine, vaporub and nasal drops are administered as often as allowed. We’ve not even left the house since Monday just in case.
A lot of premmie mums find that their precious bundle is back in hospital at least once during that first winter after they are discharged. I think we have been lucky so far because of the time of year he was born and then discharged. By the time Jack was discharged it was half way through February and so now, by the time the cold weather has really taken hold again, he is much stronger. I’ll not get complacent though. I will still watch him nervously, barely able to exhale, until Spring.
There is an event in the city centre on the 20th November which is being organised by the charity that raise money for our NICU which I would normal jump at attending, but we have a pretty big day that day ourselves. That is the day of Jack’s birthday party. We have hired a hall and will have our friends and family there and a cake and all the trimmings. I cannot wait to celebrate the incredible journey that Jack’s first year has been. It has been a different year to the one I expected when I was still obliviously pregnant but I am grateful for it. Our boy has grown so much that he is well over 6 times his birth weight! He has more than doubled in height and head circumference. He has taught himself to breathe and feed. He may have had miracle-working geniuses looking after him in the NICU but Jack was the boss and the doctors/nurses followed HIS lead. How incredible is that?!
Next week on the 17th November it will be World Prematurity Day so please show support by wearing purple, attending the wonderful events happening across the country (and the world) and donating to one of the wonderful charities such as the Friends of the Baby Unit FOBU which is for the Royal Derby Hospital NICU in particular or Bliss which is a support network for babies born too small, to soon and/or too sick across the UK. Little Miracles is one that supports families and children with additional needs, disabilities and life-limiting conditions.
Thank you to you all for your support in the past year since Jack was born and since I started blogging several months ago. I appreciate every single one of you and if you are a fellow premmie parent, I hope you feel less alone and more optimistic.
I have a few other blog post ideas which I’ll be working on over the next few weeks/months but please let me know if there’s something you’d like me to write about. I’ll also make sure to post some pictures of Jack’s first birthday party in a couple of weeks. I can’t believe it’s nearly a year. God, I love that boy. So much.
Check out our Facebook page with lots of other Jack updates and things!
If you haven’t signed The Smallest Things petition yet, please click on the link!