Exercise has always been a big part of my life. I enjoyed it throughout school and have always had active, physical jobs. I have loved classes such as Pilates, step aerobics, Zumba and Hiit as well as running. I even lifted kettlebells and Bulgarian bags during my second pregnancy! Safely, of course, under the watch of an experienced fitness instructor. I wanted to be strong, fit and healthy in order to get the natural birth I so eagerly wanted after experiencing a traumatic emergency c-section with my first baby. And I was doing really well. My fitness levels were probably the best they had ever been, I was strong, I loved working out and it gave me focus.
But then something didn’t quite feel right.
My body wasn’t quite the same during this pregnancy as it had been in my first. I had symptoms that I knew weren’t normal (as everyone kept telling me), I felt far more tired and breathless and then I had a bleed. And then a second. After a lot of going back and forth to my midwife, the hospital and GP I was diagnosed with Group B Strep. Although I was told it didn’t have any symptoms, I knew it was having an effect on my pregnancy and I continued to tell them I didn’t feel right. Another swab came back as also positive for thrush and confirmed that I still had Group B Strep and soon after this my waters broke. I was 30 weeks pregnant. I was admitted to hospital to wait and see if my baby was going to arrive prematurely. He didn’t and I was sent home after receiving my steroids and antibiotics and given strict instructions to do as little as possible.
Bye, bye exercise!
Well, I didn’t have long to rest because 2 weeks later I went back to the hospital feeling as though I had an infection. I spent the whole day thinking I was in labour, asking the midwives if I was and waiting for tests and a bed. There was nothing available so all I could do was sit and wait in the day unit to see if I could stay. If not, I’d have to travel to another hospital with Portsmouth being the most likely. That was over an hour away.
Fast forward 7 hours and thankfully a bed was found and it became very, very clear that I was indeed in labour! And he was coming fast! Around 2 hours later my 32 weeker was born weighing just 4lb 2 oz and he was whisked away almost immediately to the NICU downstairs to begin work on helping him to breathe. I was left to recover and take in what had just happened and 4 hours later I was allowed down to see my baby boy properly.
He Wasn’t Too Far Away…
Even though he was born prematurely, even though it was all a shock, even though it wasn’t how we had wanted this to go, the fact that he was in our local hospital was a huge relief. I was kept in for 3 days to get my infection under control and then I was discharged. I was sent home… without my baby. This is something that a lot of people forget happens when we discuss having a premature baby. We know that they go to special units and they are often in incubators and wired up but we seem to bypass the fact that the parents stay at home whilst their baby/babies stay in.
If it is your first baby, it is easier for a parent to visit frequently, to sit by their cot side the entire day, to only go home to sleep but if, like me, you have an older child/children life is turned upside down. Your days are spent working out timings for being in different places, driving between schools, the hospital, home, quick stops at shops for food, extra-curricular classes and so on. It becomes a juggling act and there isn’t any time to stop to take a breather. Your focus is solely on your children and making it all work for as long as is required. And that’s without adding in the round the clock pumping, delivering items your baby may need, ringing up to check everything is ok and doing the washing from the hospital.
Now imagine that but with a 27 mile journey or more. Imagine that if you don’t drive. Imagine that if you rely heavily on family members to help or public transport. Imagine how much money it costs in fuel, parking, wear and tear on a car. Not to mention the time lost to travel.
Why I am Raising Money for Bliss…
Bliss says: 1 in 7 babies born in the UK will need neonatal care. When this happens parents can travel an average of 27 miles to see their babies in hospital. Some parents face a round trip of 100 miles or more on a daily basis just to be with their poorly baby. Parents can’t choose the distance they have to travel to be with their babies, but we can. This September people all around the UK are taking on a 27 mile or 100 mile challenge to raise money for Bliss.
So, I am digging out my trainers (and blowing the dust off of them!) to take up running again after 2 years away from it– yes I am aware it is going to be very tough! But I am going to do my damned hardest to run 27 miles during the month of September and want to raise £200 for this amazing cause because no parent should be struggling to see their baby, to have to left out of pocket due to medical reasons and should be supported during such a difficult time.
If you would like to support both myself and Bliss, you can sponsor me here:
Any donation would be greatly appreciated and to find out more about Bliss and all they do take a look at their website here.
“Bliss works to help improve parents’ experience of visiting their baby by:
Campaigning for free hospital parking.
Working with hospitals to encourage them to offer overnight accommodation as close as possible to their baby and without cost.
Encouraging units to offer parents who have had a long-distance transfer a range of support, including an agreed financial support package.
Bliss has also played a key role in ensuring that national neonatal standards in England, Wales and Scotland each outline the need for services to include overnight accommodation.”
Here’s to a month of raising awareness of prematurity and the amazing work that Bliss do.
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