Premature Baby

Fifty Shades of Motherhood

premature baby


  • Premature Baby

“I was ten cm dilated…I was twenty eight weeks!”  This week Carla is joined by Rachael Hickson, in the build-up to World Prematurity Day on November 17th. Having both had premature babies, they get together to share their stories and experiences in the hopes to reassure and offer support to other mothers going through something similar. 

Below are the links mentioned in today’s episode:

Here is Rachel’s Social link:

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[00:01:32] Hello, and welcome to Fifty Shades of Motherhood, uncensored, unhinged and unapologetic, guilt-free real raw mum chat. With me, your host, Carla Lett, over-sharer, and founder of My Bump 2 baby. The UKs leading pregnancy to preschool directory.

[00:02:01] Now this week is a subject that is very dear to my heart. It is all about premature babies. And if you’ve read my blogs and why My Bump 2 Baby began, you will know its because our little George came nearly seven weeks early. And on the 17th of November, it is World Prematurity Day. So I thought it would be a great opportunity to invite on another premature baby mum, so we can share our stories.

[00:02:34] What happened, how we felt and just everything about being a premature baby mum. I know when I was a premature baby mum, well, I still am, but I’ve mean when it actually happened. I didn’t kind of know where to turn. Well, if there was something that I could listen to, something that would make me feel a bit more positive, I would have loved that.

[00:02:57] So I’m hoping that other premature baby mums will be able to find this podcast and listen, and be filled with hope. So I hope you enjoy this episode. My guest today is the lovely Rachel Hickson and she is a mum of two. Enjoy. 

[00:03:17] Hello everybody. And welcome to this week’s episode of Fifty Shades of Motherhood and we are going to be talking all about our premature baby story.

[00:03:31] So hello, Rachel, how are you? 

[00:03:34] Rachael: Hi, good. Thank you.

[00:03:35]Carla:  It’s lovely to have you on. 

[00:03:37] Rachael: Thank you. 

[00:03:39] Carla: So our little boys, they came early, didn’t they? Um, and it’s World Prematurity Day next week, Rachael which is on the 17th. So I just thought this was a perfect opportunity to talk about our stories and, and what we went through, how we felt, to help all the mums out there.

[00:03:56] And also if all the mums out there, if they haven’t been through it, they can also understand what it’s like being a mum of a premature baby. Cause it is tough. 

[00:04:07] Rachael: Yeah, it is. It’s, it’s very tough and um it is one of those things, I think, unless you’re going through it or you’ve been through it, you just, you don’t understand. You can sympathise and you can empathise, but you just don’t really understand it. It’s a very strange, strange thing.

[00:04:24]Carla:  It is, it is, so, so Rachel, going right back to the beginning, then it was Harry planned for?

[00:04:31]Rachael:  Yeah, we obviously didn’t expect him to come early that was a massive shock, but yeah, so there was no kind of expectation. There was no warning that he would be early. I literally just one day. Well, I just thought, you know what, what’s going on. Feel a little bit strange. It was the middle of the night. I woke up just feeling like, just something wasn’t quite right. My fiancé at the time was on nights. So he was at work and I’m ringing him at like three, four in the morning. Like I just don’t feel right. I’m going to go to hospital. And they went straight to deliver unit, which where I was told to go and they kind of just a bit, they weren’t dismissive, but they kind of, obviously they’re asking me all these questions and I’m like, I don’t understand what you’re asking me. I don’t know. I don’t know. And then when they did an examination, I was 10 centimetres dilated. 

[00:05:19] Carla: How many weeks were you Rachel?

[00:05:22]Rachael:  I was 28 weeks at the time. 

[00:05:23] Carla: Oh god.

[00:05:24] Rachael: 12 weeks early. Yeah. Yeah. Very scary. I’ve not had any, obviously was my first baby and I’d not had any like birthing classes. I just was like, I’ve just not looked at any birthing plans. Obviously, that kind of happens after that point. Really. So I was kind of a little bit blind to everything going on .

[00:05:44]Carla:  Oh my goodness. That is frightening. So, so before that your whole pregnancy was just going smoothly, then?

[00:05:51]Rachael:  Yeah. Yeah. Everything was, the only thing that they noticed was that I had been tested for strep B, so they knew I had strep B, which meant that I had to be on a drip throughout labor when I did go into labor. But there was nothing at all to say that I’d be having a premature birth, just absolutely nothing, no warning signs at all. 

[00:06:10] Carla: And was there a reason that he came early, Rachel? 

[00:06:14] Rachael: No. Um, they still don’t know to this day, the reason why. Um, and I’ve since had a full-term baby as well, because we did ask the questions when we were planning baby, number two, is it likely to happen again? And they would, you know, the answer kind of walls we will never know for sure, but there’s just nothing. Um, you know, that we’re aware of that would force an early, another early birth for you. And you’ll probably go full term next time, which I did. So have no idea why that’s all. 

[00:06:43] Carla: Gosh, that’s crazy. Cause my mind started, um, basically in the, in the 20 week scan. I think that’s when you go for your, your checks, don’t you? I mean, I’m always one of these people like that. I’m sure there’ll be something wrong. And I had a low lying placenta. And, and that is where your placenta is kind of covering the cervix, the exit, if you like. And the gap between was just not enough to get a baby through without it being dangerous. So there were like, well, normally when this happens 9 out of 10 of the, 9out of 10 times as your baby grows, um, the placenta moves out the way ready. So they weren’t too concerned about it. And then around, I think it was around 27 weeks. Um, when I was due to, around the time I was due to get married, I started getting these bleeds. And I was like, this is really weird. And every time I went, um, I had one had to go into the hospital. Um, and what they do is they would. Uh, put a, um, something in my hand, because what it means is it means when you have a bleed like that, it could mean that the baby could come anytime. Um, so, so, um, so they put like, um, something in my hand, ready to give me blood if he just came. Anyway it was just ongoing constantly. So I’d always have to stay. It worked out, I think every weekend I was having to go in there. Um, and then I was having to kind of stay in there and then, um, for over 24 hours and then they’d let me out again. But what happened is the bleeds started getting stronger. 

[00:08:22] And more, and more of them, um, more frequent. Um, so I managed to luckily to get married on the wedding day. Cause that was a bit of, um, I was like, will I still get married? And they were like, we don’t think so. You know, if you’re coming in all the time, it’s likely might come early, but it got, it got to the point Rachel where he was like, I was going in that often. And nothing was happening. I actually started to not believe what they were telling me. I was like, no, I’m fine. There was a couple of times that I didn’t go in and I should have. Um, and then one of the times I, um, on the last time that I went in, um, I, it was seven weeks before he was due and I went in for a bleed and I woke up in the middle of the night. And I was like, Oh, I hadn’t slept the night before. And I was like, Oh, I just feel like a little bit of blood has come out. Cause I was so used to kind of ignoring it a little bit. I know that sounds a bit bad. I was like, I was like, Oh, I’m going to go back to sleep. I’m too tired to get up. But then something in my head said, just get up. And I literally turned on the light in the, um, in the ward room. And my bed was covered in blood. Like literally clots and everything.

[00:09:37] Rachael: Wow that must have been so scary.

[00:09:38] Carla: It was do you know, it was frightening. I didn’t know what to do. And then I remembered that I’ve stayed in there that often that people ring the bells all night, you know, like. Cause they want the nurse to help them. And I remember how annoying it is when you’re trying to sleep. So I didn’t want to wake anyone else up.

[00:09:54] So I started trying to walk to the reception and I could just feel blood, like literally pouring out of my body. Um, and. And in the end, I just went back to the room and I pressed the bell. And I just felt so faint. And they were like, Oh my God, it was all just mad. So they checked my cervix and then they were like, Oh my God, I think it was, um, it was placenta previa. So basically the placenta had just come away and, you know, and it was really dangerous. So they whizzed me down, uh, for the C-section. And luckily my mum managed to get ahold of Danny and he came in time. Um, but at the time I honestly, because I’d lost, um, litres of blood, I actually just felt like I was dying. I don’t know if you’ve ever been through that before, where you just feel like, so I felt so calm. It was really strange.

[00:10:46] Rachael: Yeah I mean, I didn’t, at any point you feel like anything was wrong with me or whatever. It was really weird. Um, but I did just feel like dead relaxed. Well, they just kept saying to me, because I was in labor for five days and they literally were like, you’re not leaving this room. The bathroom’s there. If you need to go to the toilet, I had to use bedpans just in case. Cause they were that worried. If he was that small, that, you know, we might just kind of fall out kind of thing, which he definitely didn’t. Yeah. So I have to use like bed pans all the time and I wasn’t allowed out of the room for five days and I’ve never, I think I lost all the muscle in my backside because I’ve never, ever sat so still for so long.

[00:11:32] And I was, you know, I could go to the toilet and back to bed and that was it. Laid down couldn’t move, but I  just felt, so it was weird, just really really calm. Cause they kept saying the more stress you add into the situation the earlier will happen, you need to keep him in as long as we can. And so I managed like five days and they were literally on the point where they were going to put me up to the ward and take me out the delivery suite because you know, they were that convinced that nothing was going to happen and that I could maybe get through another few days. And then as soon as they came and told me, that’s what they were going to do, all the contractions started. It was like he was listening to like, you know, I’m not going up to the delivery suite to the ward, I’m staying on the delivery suite. So yeah. 

[00:12:13] Carla: Oh my gosh. It is so scary though. Isn’t it like? It’s scary, but it’s weird because it’s like, you’re not really you’re there, but you’re not really there.

[00:12:22] Rachael: Yeah. It’s very surreal. It’s they tell you all these things. And you are thinking no it’s not going to happen. I remember them saying, you know, if we could move you, we’d put you on like a wheelchair and take you up to look on the neonatal unit. So you know what to expect, but we just don’t want to move you. So I, you know, and I was thinking, you know, they’re making this sound like really bad. And I just remember thinking I can’t, you know, it’ll be fine. Nothing that’s going to happen. And I just remember being as calm as possible, thinking like it’s not, you know, it wont be bad, he’ll stay in. This dilation, will like go back closed. And that’s what would happen. 

[00:12:59] Carla: It’s funny isn’t how, I know I was well. I knew that there was a chance George could come early because of this. And what I did to prepare myself is that I know it sounds really weird and other people might not think that, but I started Googling, what will a child look like  if the born at this state, like, if they’re born at this every week, I did it every week, a notification from those videos that you get, I think it’s what to expect at. And I was like, right. I’m on this week, what will he look like?  What will he look like? So I was mentally trying to prepare myself for what I would see. But I think it’s at the time you do kind of think, Oh, it’ll be okay. And I think, I think that’s, that’s a lot of it. Isn’t it. And, um, I don’t know about you. I mean, George came via C-section section. Was Harry, did you give birth to him? Vaginally? 

[00:13:47] Rachael: Yeah. Yeah. He was a natural birth. Um, and I think what they were saying was it’s the smaller, they are, the harder it can be because. The bigger the baby, the more they kind of like help themselves with gravity and things like that. But he was three pound two when he was born because literally the size of a bag of sugar, he was tiny. Um, but yes, it was quiet. Hard, you know, that’s what I recall because he wasn’t helping himself at all. And I remember them saying that you really need to push really hard now because he’s getting a bit stressed and obviously they had the monitor on all the time, but yeah, no, he came very naturally really.

[00:14:25] Carla: Aww. Did he get whisked away, straight away or?

[00:14:30] Rachael: Yeah, well he got put, there is like um in each delivery room. There’s like another table that obviously where they put the baby on once baby’s born and this was at Blackpool. And so they had like a team of people. It was almost like giving birth to an audience, really because it was like a team. I recall it being like 3 or 4 four people for Harry. And then there was like the midwife and someone else had come in to help her. And my husband was there. Well, my fiancé at the time and. But, yeah, there must have been about 10 people in the room when I was giving birth, but most of them were the team there for Harry to make sure that he had everything that he needed and then they could deal with anything really. But because they didn’t know what they were going to get really so. 

[00:15:15] Carla: Yeah, mine was the same.It’s frightening isn’t it? Cause you look your looking round at all these people and it’s like, what the hell? And when, when George came, I mean, when George came out, I remember I was not with it cause I’d lost that much blood. And I think I was maybe having a transfusion or I might if I can’t remember, but I remember feeling really sick. And I didn’t know, he’d come out. And then they said basically they’d had to resuscitate him when he came out, and the cord was round his neck. Um, and they were like, so lucky you weren’t at home. You would have both died if you’re at home. And the thing that, things like that when you’re like not feeling right anyway, oh my god I couldn’t get, I couldn’t get it out of my head. He was just whisked off, straight away. I mean, I think I saw him for a split second and he was gone. That, that was really tough.

[00:16:00]Rachael:  Um, yeah, John got managed. They said, you know, take a quick picture and then he’s going. And he took him out the room in the incubator to take him up to the neonatal unit. And then next minute he rushed back in with him, because there had been a problem with something. But I think it was more with the incubator,  then with Harry, um, so they like changed a  few things around and then off, they went again straight up to the neonatal unit and that was it. That. You know, he was gone and I had to obviously deliver the placenta and I needed stitches. And, but like say he’s just gone it’s weird.

[00:16:31]Carla:  It’s, so it’s so weird. And then you, and then you go back up to that delivery suite and to tell you this, this was the part that still gets me now that mums have to go through, you go up there and there’s people with their babies and all you’re hearing is baby’s crying and you’re there. You’ve had your baby and it’s gone. Oh my God. It was awful. 

[00:16:53] Rachael: Yeah, it was really strange. Like we were, we were waiting for a bed on the neonatal ward because we were lucky that we were going to be able to go and stay there for a couple of nights. But like you say, it was, it was so strange because I’ve been in this room for five days, nurses with me all the time, at least two nurses in the room all the time. Um, and I’ve just been sat there and. Next minute after we, you know, he’d been born and everything. And then they brought me my tea and toast, which is like the best tasting tea and toast.

[00:17:22]Carla:  Nothing beats that tea and toast does it.

[00:17:24] Rachael: Yeah no thats it, but John had like, literally been able to stay with me, the whole time. And they got him beanbags on the floor and he slept on the floor literally the whole time he never left. And um, the next minute, as soon as he was born, he was like, right John’s going to have to go home now you are going to go to the delivery suite. And I remember I just absolutely burst into tears. I was like, you know, you can’t, you can’t do this to me now. I literally cope. That you’ve taken him away. Now you’re taking my husband as well, and he’s going to have to go home after all of this. Anyway the room wasn’t quite ready on the neonatal unit where we were both going to be able to stay for a couple of nights. So they just said, well, we’ve got a spare delivery suite. Like that we very rarely used because it’s like for emergencies only kind of thing. And so they actually said, you know, because of how you feeling and what you’ve just been through, we’ll put you in there. And they just left us in there overnight together. Cause they weren’t allowed to send me home. And so they were really, really good. It was actually because I just, literally, I just broke down into tears, you know, and everything that comes to my head and then you’re going to just be left on your own after I’ve all those people and not being able to move and you feel awful.

[00:18:34] They were just amazing. And they left us in that just for the night. Um, And then in the morning I got up and it was almost like I didn’t have a baby. It was strange. And so I was like, I’m just going to go home and get some things. And they say what you want us to ring and check on your little boy, you know, I think we’d been seen for about two minutes, but it was almost like he, wasn’t not that he wasn’t there. Cause you knew he was. 

[00:18:58] Carla: You’ve done your bet kind of thing. And it’s gone. That’s what, that’s what I felt like. It was really weird. I felt like I’d given a birth for someone else. I can’t explain it, it was like, right. Well, I just, and it was so weird because your body knows you’ve given birth and it knows a baby should be around. And for me on the delivery suite um, after I got wheeled up there, the delivery ward. And so there were babies crying all night. All I could hear was that. And then mum’s like, Oh, come here little one. And you know, aww congratulations, I could hear that through all the curtains. And I was thinking, I just felt like, I don’t know. I just, it was a horrible feeling. Really horrible feeling.

[00:19:40]Rachael:  Yeah. I remember I asked to go there, but they were discharging me from hospital and, and they sat me on a, just a chair in the delivery suite. And there’s all these people with like loads of people around the bed with the birth of the new baby and like, say it’s just the worst place they could put you isn’t it. You know, mentally that it takes so much to sit and listen to all of that. When, when your baby’s in neonatal unit. 

[00:20:03] Carla: And you don’t even know if they are okay either, because I mean, I had been given like loads of morphine and stuff like that afterwards. And I just remember, like, I didn’t even know. I honestly didn’t know what was going on really, but I just remember thinking, God, this is really horrible. You know, like listening to people like, and seeing balloons and families coming to visit. And I didn’t even know what my son looked like. 

[00:20:30] Rachael: It’s an awful feeling. It’s such a weird feeling. I mean, we were very lucky that I literally was only there for like five, 10 minutes. I didn’t have to stay on there nice because we got to stay on the neonatal unit once, once I was able to, but had those nurses not been so good that night, I would have been there. Um, but when they come to discharge me a few days later when I was going home, um, that, that was just the worst feeling I had. I was only there for 10 minutes. I really feel for anybody’s, you know, that’s there for that long period of time. And I think not it’s the bit that I don’t know how else you could do it as a hospital and it as in a trust and things, but it is so hard.

[00:21:05] Carla: It is , it is and I think, I think it’s, it’s just all the, the whole thing, really. And then, I mean, what did you go and see Harry the next day then? Did you, did you, were you able to just walk down there and kind of go and.

[00:21:20]Rachael:  I think, I remember he was born at five o’clock at one minute past five he was born on the on the day he was born. And. They gave me a tea and toast and they had stitched me all up and everything. And I’d managed to have a bit of a shower and got myself some like clean pyjamas on and stuff. And I think they wheeled us up that night to have look. And I remember going into the neonatal unit thinking that, that can’t be my baby, that like, it can’t be him because. Like, he looks like a pepperoni , his skin was red. And like, he was just like long arms and so skinny. And it’s what an awful thing to think about each child. Like I remember thinking he’s like a pepperoni, like, and they were saying, you know, this is him, but cause you’d not seen him at that time it was just really strange. It’s not that you just, you don’t care cause you do care. You are almost like a bit disconnected from it, it’s surreal. It’s like you are in another world. 

[00:22:17] Carla: Exactly. Right. That’s exactly what I felt like as well. I mean, when I went to go see George, cause I had, had the C-section I think I had to be, wheeled in there and I remember, um, one of the nurses was changing his nappy and I was like, and I remember thinking like, Oh, that’s he’s not mine because like I saw another woman with him. I don’t know why, but just remember this in my head. And they were all, they would do an amazing job, but I just remember thinking, like, he doesn’t need me, like, he doesn’t actually need me. He can, you know, like when you’ve kind of carried them for so long. And to be honest with you, it did like the the bond, um, you know, took a long time to get that because I believe like everything that went on it was just. Just that kind of thing. I found it quite difficult to connect. 

[00:23:07] Rachael: Yeah. It always feels a while to thinking that your mummy, doesn’t it. Mm. Yeah. I do remember. Yeah. I remember that feeling thinking he, you know, and like I said, they wheeled me up as well. And, and I sat there for a few minutes and it was like, all right, we can go back now because you feel like you. You’re looking in on someone else’s life a bit, I suppose. 

[00:23:28] Carla: Yeah. And, and as well, it’s almost like I felt the neonatal nurses never made me feel like this by the way, just to put it out there. But I felt like I was in the way, you know, like, um, when he was in the thing, cause I couldn’t take him out yet. You see? Because he was struggling. He was on breathing support. Is it C pat? Yeah. Um, and, um, yeah, those goggle things on, I mean, I didn’t still know what he looked like by this point. I was like, does it look like me? Does it look like Danny? It was all kind of an, and I still couldn’t see him properly, but we couldn’t get him out. Um, I remember that, um, and I asked the lady can, am I all right to hold his hand? And she said, Oh yeah, yeah, of course. And I remember thinking, Oh, it’s horrible having to ask. Um, but then I went and put my hand in and stuff and then I was like back up and you’re away aren’t you? Cause you still trying to recover yourself. Um, and you’re trying to still deal with that trauma that you had, you know, with the whole birth. 

[00:24:25] Rachael: Yes. Yeah. It’s just such a, it’s so hard to explain. Isn’t it? It’s how you feel. I do always remember in the neonatal unit staff, are just absolutely a hundred percent amazing. I’ve got not, not one bad thing to say about any of them. But it is strange that you, you say to them, you know, can you pass my baby to me? Or can I hold his hand? Does he need this nappy changing? And did you ever have to weigh the nappies, when they were first, well, you have to weigh nappies. So we had to know how much they needed to like write down if he’d had a wet nap or a dirty nappy or how much, no, to know what liquid was going through the body and make sure. Make sure everything was working alright I suppose, but they used to like weigh all the nappies, to see how heavy they were and things like that.

[00:25:18]Carla:  Yeah. I forgot about that. 

[00:25:20] Rachael: You’ve got like little jobs to do for your own child. So obviously they did everything they could to help you feel involved and to help that connection. But it obviously they’re, they’re in charge really aren’t because they know best for the. You know, the babies welfare and medical side of things that you do end up asking them everything don’t you?

[00:25:42]Carla:  Yeah, you do.  And I think remembering, um, when, uh, when you first go in there, there’s like, um, you know, when they’re on that, C-PAP, it’s like heart machine, isn’t it it’s quite scary. Like the beep beep beep. And honestly it makes you feel like, Oh my God, like on life or death here. And to be honest, because the neonatal nurses are, like you said, they were absolutely amazing, but they can’t promise you something that they don’t even a hundred percent can guarantee. So I remember saying like, well, when can you come home? And they were like, well, we can’t say, but we aim for due date. And I was like, but that’s ages away and this, and it was like, Oh my God. And then that you had to pass all these different tests, you know, like it would be able to breathe on his own, then be able to feed and hold it down. And I think there was keeping it. I think there was making sure he could regulate his own temperature. 

[00:26:37] Rachael: Yeah. With the heated mattress and everything. 

[00:26:39] Carla: Yeah. Yeah. I and remember when I’d had George the, like I never planned on breastfeeding. It’s just not something that I ever, I mean, God love it, people doing it’s brilliant, but it just wasn’t something that I felt was for me, um, but after he was born, they were like, look, he needs that liquid kind of thing. So I just remember being hooked up to this machine in like the backroom of the neonatal thing. Just like, you know, like doing your boobs like trying to suck out this Clostridium. And I was just like, Oh my God. And I managed to get like the tiniest bit. And I just felt like I felt, I remember feeling like I would just, my body had completely failed me. Um, And I remember feeling like God, I can’t even carry a baby, you know, like properly. And I can’t even get the milk out properly. I just remember feeling like I was the one that let everyone else down. Um, and as a woman and a mum as well, I think you just feel like, I felt like I’d given him the worst start, even though it wasn’t my fault. Um, but that, that’s what I felt like. And it just says this mum guilt just was awful. 

[00:27:48] Rachael: Yeah, I think that’s a big thing that you feel isn’t it. And it’s some people say out loud, some people hold it inside, but you kind of think, well, why is it? Is it my fault? Is it, but I think the biggest thing, that I learnt straight away was like, it’s not, sometimes these things just happen and you can’t blame yourself. You can’t beat yourself up. You’ve just got to.

[00:28:08]Carla:  Move on. 

[00:28:09] Rachael: Yeah. Lift yourself up, and hold your heads high that you. You know, you’ve given them the best start that you could do. And, um, you know, at that time, for whatever reason anything’s happened. I learnt very quickly, kind of you can’t kind of dwell on that. You’ve just got to take each day as it comes and take a little positive that in life, you know, every time Harry pulled his feeding tube out, I was like, yeah, come on little fighter. 

[00:28:34] Carla: Yeah. I love that. I love that Rachel, because the thing is, there’s not cause that there’s not many people that have had premature babies in the grand scheme of things. Really. When you look at it, like, I think I, my friends and, you know, there’s not many people, so it’s not like you can say to someone. Oh, this has happened. And they’re like, Oh, it’ll be all right. Because you just don’t know at that time. 

[00:28:57] Rachael: So, every baby’s different. Aren’t they, like you say one baby’s been through this and that’s happened. It doesn’t mean, to say that, that will happen to the next baby. 

[00:29:05] Carla: And yeah, it’s hard because you just want, you’re so used to kind of saying to your friends, all this has happened and them reassure you but, no one can really reassure you in this kind of scenario. Um, Um, a lot of the time I remember, I mean, , you did a hundred percent, right. You know, positive thinking and being like that, I was just felt like a shadow of my former self. Like, I don’t know, I almost kept getting these negative thoughts, like, and I think that was down for the baby blues as well, but I kept getting these horrible thoughts and it was just not nice. It was like, I just felt all the time, just so guilty.

[00:29:42] And then sometimes I forget to ring, this is the part where once we got home, obviously the nursery was already was your nursery ready or not?

[00:29:51]Rachael:  He actually didn’t really have his own room until we moved, he could have done, but because we lived kind of not, a bit further away from everyone and he was going to be moving into the spare room, we ended up obviously had his cot in our room for ages, but then just in case we needed to use a spare bed, he kind of just ended up with a cot next to a bed so it was his room, but it wasn’t. So he didn’t have a nursery. Sounds awful doesn’t it.

[00:30:17]Carla:  No do you know what, I honestly, I wish we didn’t in a way because we came home and that was just like the drive away from the hospital was weird because you like driving home, what should be with your baby. And you’re having to leave them with, you know, you know, with the neonatal nurses, which obviously you trust them fully because they’re amazing, but that was horrible. And then like, I just started getting on with daily life. Like I just tried to keep myself busy and occasionally I’d forget to ring. And I felt like the worst mum in the world, like had I rang enough? Had I not rang. And then, Oh, it was awful. And then sometimes I’d ring in the middle of the night because I just wake up and think where’s my baby. It was so weird. 

[00:30:57] Rachael: Yeah. I used to ring a lot if I, could  obviously they say, if you, if you like expressing and things, you’ve got to keep a really good routine and keep the flow going. So, like you say, with the expressing machines, we’d started expressing and, and they sent me home with one of the machines and, you know, I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t really have any plans, whether I was going to breastfeed or not. I just went with what my body wanted to do really. So I took these expressing machine home. I ended up buying a new fridge freezer cause I’d expressed that much milk. But, I used to, you know, they’d say like get up in the middle of the night and express. So I used to have to, you know, when most people would have a baby waking up, I used to set an alarm to get me up in the middle of the night. Because I just need to get rid of the milk out of my body. And I remember coming like downstairs in the middle of the night to get all my milking machine out and then start messing bottles and, and it was weird and it was nice that you would do it for you little one.  Although, like I say, I’ve not kind of had my heart, set that’s what I was going to do. I was just going to see what suited me really at the time. Yeah. And that was just, you know, I remember other people really struggling for milk and stuff, and then I’d be walking in with these big bags of it, put in the freezer and stuff and give them a fresh milk for the day. And other people were struggling. I used to feel awful. Cause you know it’s not my fault I was doing so well, but it’s not their fault that they couldn’t.

[00:32:22]Carla:  I know it’s so bad isn’t it it’s so bad. Cause then I know, well, I was one of them that could not for the life of me get anything and then I’d beat myself up about that then. And I probably made it worse to be honest. Um, but I just, um, and then you’d go in the kitchen bit and you’d see like all this milk for these babies. And you just like, it’s like a golden nugget. You opened that fridge and you’re like, Wow what a lucky baby, mine can’t even blooming get anything out. And then it was just awful, kind of beating yourself up and stuff. And then you feel like you said, like when. George started kind of coming up off the C-PAP the breathing thing. And there was another baby that got born around the same time that wasn’t off it. You’d feel awful then, because you think, Oh God, like you don’t want them to think that they’re ones behind, but then there’d always be another one in front of your one as well. 

[00:33:18] Rachael: Yeah. Isn’t it because they had the different rooms didn’t they, do you remember the different rooms?

[00:33:23] Carla: Yeah.

[00:33:24] Rachael: There was like the intensi.., like room one. So that’s where they go when they were first born. And then once they have been doing so many things and they could maybe move out the incubator into the cot, they’d move to a different room and. And they like moved along in the rooms the move they moved on in the room, the closer they were to home. I remember that. There was a little boy born at the same time as Harry the same prematurity, everything they were like so identical and sometimes he would move ahead a few days and then next minute he might move to a different hospital for a bit because he’d gone downhill a bit. And it was like you say, it’s so awful to. To be the thing that your baby’s they one behind or one ahead. And you just always feel for everybody else because it’s like a little community.

[00:34:07] Carla: It is you’re like a team all just fighting to get out of there. Um, and, um, I remember, um, As well feeling guilty because I’d had a C-section I couldn’t drive. Um, so I’d have to ask like friends and mum for lifts and stuff like that. My mum and dad, obviously they didn’t mind, but then it was like, well, I can’t expect them to drop me off. And pick me up and then drop me off and pick me up again. So like I only go in the afternoon. Um, and then I remember someone making a comment like, Oh, you’re not there all day? And I remember thinking, should I be, I just didn’t know where, what I should be doing. Like, I didn’t know what was the right thing to be doing resting. Um, because I didn’t feel right still, or should I have been sat at that cot 24 seven? Because the thing that I didn’t like about being in there. Is the little alarms that would go off sometimes. And if George’s alarm, a couple of times went off. Um, it was because it slipped off or something like that, but I just, my heart just, Oh, it was frightening. It was just like, I didn’t know what to do. Like, and that shoot up, and I just didn’t like being in there, listening to that beeping and Oh.

[00:35:20] Rachael: Yeah and all the babies have them on don’t they,  there’s always alarms going off. And like you say, you’re heart is up in your mouth. And the nurses are just so calm with it. Cause they know what, it will be and obviously they deal with it all the time. But you heart is always in your mouth isn’t it?

[00:35:34]Carla:  It is. It is. So I went there and I went there with a book, but then I thought, well, if I’m there with a book, I obviously think too much, but I was like, I’m there with a book. Should I not be staring at him? Should I not be? I just didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what the right thing to do was. And also I think as well, you kind of think, what should I be doing? For them, will they think I’m a bad mum. If I didn’t come in that night or would they think I was a bad mum if I had a wine. You know, like, cause at one night I remember I was in there and I remember I couldn’t breastfeed. So at that point that was off the cards. But I remember our friend said, we want to take you out for a meal. And they came to see him. And then we went out for a meal and my friend was like, look, you just have a glass of wine. You’ll feel better. And then I felt awful because I was like, Oh my God, will they know? Will they know I’ve had a glass of wine? I don’t know. I was just, I couldn’t. Couldn’t find where I should be. I wasn’t that confident to know what. And I remember thinking like, will they think I have not been in enough or, you know, like, and it’s silly, really because every mum is different  and every mum needs different, you know, I had a lot of recovering to do. Um, so it’s just, it’s just hard. 

[00:36:44] Rachael: Yeah. And as well, I think sometimes people forget about themselves in the situation. And like you say, you’ve got to. If you don’t look after yourself and where are you for them? And, and that’s something always to remember, you know, in circumstances like that, you’ve got to, you know, you can’t always be sat there. Sometimes you have to just be. Doing something for yourself, or I remember like my cousin had taken me to like at one point she was like I’m going to come and pick you up. And we are just going to go out for a few hours. And she took me to Ribby Hall and we did an epithermal journey. And at the time, you know, I was thinking, oh is this what I need? But I really did. I just needed to sit and talk to someone and not have my phone and not, and just have a few hours where I switched off and I could just recover a little bit and just get some rest a bit. And just chat about rubbish. You really do have to, you know, if you’re not there for your little one, because you’re not looking after yourself, then you’ll not be there for them either. And so you do have to remember to look after yourself as well. And. And I think the neonatal staff they try and encourage that as well, don’t they, you know, have a night off, go out and see friends. You know, as long as it’s not all you’re doing, you know, there’s a big mixture of everything, but it’s a juggling act. I  remember I used to sit next to Harry’s bedside and do my online shopping.

[00:38:03] Carla: Ha I love that.

[00:38:05] Rachael: I used to do like my um cause you can obviously order to have your food shopping delivered, they used to sit and think, right? Well, at 11 o’clock at night, the neighbours my have hated me. Come and deliver all my groceries. Cause I’ll know I’ll be home by then. You just have to pick your own bits and juggle everything. Don’t you as well as being there, but also. You know, caring for yourself at the same time.

[00:38:29]Carla:  It really, really is true because I think that’s it. It’s just like, you know, making sure you’re on top form for when, when they do come home. And I mean, I remember when it first was in there, you didn’t know how bad it was, because I don’t know about you, but I was like, so, so will he be okay? They were like, he’s very poorly. And I was like, right. So we’re going to have to give him, I don’t know whether Harry had to have it, but that’s give him something from a pig. That sounds really weird, but it was like this, um, this, his lungs hadn’t produced. They haven’t grown enough or they weren’t mature enough. So they had to give him this fat. And I can’t remember what it was exactly. And I don’t want to get it wrong on here, but they had to give him something. Um, to see if his lungs could mature a little bit more and luckily it had worked, but when they said he was very poorly, you just, your first question is like, what does that mean though? Is he going to get better? And, and I suppose they don’t even know at that stage, do they sometimes? 

[00:39:29] Rachael: Yeah. It’s really really, strange. I remember I had injections because when I was in labor to mature his lungs.

[00:39:35]Carla:  The steroids?

[00:39:37]Rachael:  Yeah.

[00:39:37]Carla:  Yeah I had that, they were painful those. 

[00:39:41] Rachael: Yeah. They were weren’t they.But I don’t remember him having any, not to say that he didn’t. Um, but yeah, I can’t remember that. I remember him being, having a little operation to have, um, like a really, really thin line put into his vein, very, uh, being pushed into his veins to feed him. or something like that it took a couple of hours. I do recall that, it fed him for a little bit until hey could have milk and stuff like that.

[00:40:09] Carla: Yeah. I remember that actually.

[00:40:10] Rachael: Like a fishing line. Obviously it wasn’t a fishing line, but there was that many wires and things. But I do recall that my grandparents had once, they had come to see him, it was oh, we’re just going to have to go for a coffee whilst this happens, because it just needs to do this and it’s the right time. And, and it was to prevent dangers of infections and things or something like that. It was a safer way of feeding him.

[00:40:33]Carla:  I remember that actually. Yeah. And I’m sure, I’m sure it’s maybe to give them fluids or something like that to keep them, keep them feeding. Yeah. Like you said, because at first they’re not feeding from. How do they? I can’t even remember how they were given the food. Oh, it’s through the tube. Wasn’t it. Down the throat. 

[00:40:51] Rachael: Yeah. Then it went through the tube and he had a tube down in his nose and into his stomach that’s what he always used to pull out.  

[00:40:59] Carla: Oh God. Yeah. Oh yeah. George used to do that as well. It used to make me cringe every time it was like, yeah, it’s a really, really hard time. But the good news is obviously we’re chatting today and our little boys, yours is at preschool and George is at school and you know, they’re doing great aren’t they.

[00:41:22]Rachael:  Oh, absolutely. Yeah. You wouldn’t, I don’t think you would look at either of them now and think they were prem would you?

[00:41:27] Carla: No.

[00:41:28]Rachael:  Just doing amazing.

[00:41:29]Carla:  They really are, they really are. How long were you in the neonatal for then Rachel? 

[00:41:36] Rachael: We did eight weeks. He came home.  He was, due originally on boxing day. So mostly kind of aiming for like getting home for Christmas and he actually came home the start of December.

[00:41:47] Carla: Oh amazing. 

[00:41:48] Rachael: Yeah. Yeah. And then obviously when you come home, it’s a really funny one, because I remember them saying, you know, if you, if you don’t listen to these instructions, you don’t have to there is nothing saying you do have to, but we give you this advice because. It’ll keep you safe. And especially how prem Harry was and they were saying, you know, he’s obviously been in the hospital and it’s a very secure and safe environment. And so when you go home, you just don’t have any visitors for a couple of weeks. Just stay inside. Don’t take him anywhere. And it was almost being in like lockdown I suppose. And, um, you know, I couldn’t have anybody in or anybody out and they would say it otherwise, it’d just be kind of signing your warrant card straight back to hospital because he’ll pick up infections, he will end up back in here to fight them. So I remember taking it very literally. And so, although he’d come home and my husband would go to work and back but I  would be at home with him. I, you know, I remember, you know, saying to everyone, but you just can’t come round for a bit. Nobody. I don’t think anybody really understood some, some people did to be fair. Some people a lot more than others, but then you’d get those others. Oh, she just, she’d just been silly. She’s been overprotective, you know, all judging you because they’ve not heard the nurse say it and they’re all desperate to hold him and touch him. And because you’ve not been able to do that at all in hospital. And then remember them all, like, you know, you just have that. You know, they were all taking a bit of offence that, you almost like you were calling them dirty. 

[00:43:15] Carla: I know it’s not the case is it. At the end of the day, the number one priority is the, is the baby and protecting him.

[00:43:22]Rachael:  Yeah. And I think everyone kind of forgot that it was all about them and wanting to hold him because he’d waited long enough now. But literally the two weeks we had nobody round and I used to wait for John to get home from work. Cause I couldn’t really go anywhere. And I used to be, but I just need to go out and walk the dog and you know, you’re gonna have to look after him for, you know, just need to get out and breathe a little bit. And, you know, cause you couldn’t just have that friend round for coffee or you were literally just on your own and you know, other people on the end of the phone so being like in lockdown really. 

[00:43:54] Carla: Yeah. 

[00:43:52] Rachael: Yeah. And then I remember obviously then you could then slowly start to introduce people one at a  time and with all these rules of hand-washing and things, and people used to just look at you and just be like  you are so, you know, OTT and, and you just, I think I got a lot of guilt from that because people just didn’t understand. And I think, you know, He’s number one here not you. 

[00:44:17] Carla: Yeah, it’s hard. It is. I know. I remember feeling, feeling very similar, really because people think that, Oh, just let us round. Don’t let anyone else. But then once you like one lot of people round, well, you may as well. Yeah, you can’t just do that can you. It’s like a rule between everyone. Yeah, it’s hard. It’s so hard. And also when you are a mum and you finally get them home. You do want to show them off don’t you. And you’re just like, it’s not like you don’t want to kind of have people around either because you do really need the help. I mean, how was your mental health after having a premature baby? Were you okay? 

[00:44:56] Rachael: It was weird, I would have said yes. And for years I would have said, yeah. And people used to say you must’ve been so stressed in that situation. And, um, you know, I just, I can’t imagine how you feeling at the time. Do you know what I just got on with it? I didn’t see  anything wrong with my mental health, I just got on with it I dealt with it, I fought a lot of battles with people, not understanding, you know, if you wanted to leave him with someone maybe the, routine that he had, and it wasn’t with everybody, but you’ve got the people that you, you think you could trust just have him for an hour, you know, as he got a bit bigger and you need this medication at this time, that time, because he was very routined and then.  Little bits of doubt started to come in because they weren’t really sticking to what you needed to have and stuff and so you were fighting a lot of battles and things like that.

[00:45:46] But I think my mental health took a turn for the worst actually, once I had my full term baby a few years later, and then since got diagnosed with postnatal depression, because I think it almost came home really what we had been through. So it was really delayed, I think. 

[00:46:01] Carla: Yeah. Gosh it’s, what made it come after then, then do you think?

[00:46:06] Rachael: I don’t know, I think obviously there’s a lot of huge differences in having to maybe how she fights infections compared to him a little boy fought infections. Routine and how you can get out and about and how you could do things and maybe like the support you fell in. I think I felt more of alone having the two of them than I have with Harry, I think because everyone wanted to be around Harry and he was prem and he was, like a big news story. I know that sounds ridiculous. Everyone wanted to have everyone wanted to have something  to do with him. And they all thought they could do better. Some of them thought they could do better than what you could do and that you would just be  a bit pedantic and a bit OTT and you are making all this stuff, which is just not true.

[00:46:55] And then it was almost like they weren’t bothered about the second one, but then that kind of it’s it’s I suppose it’s made me really angry that not that they don’t bother about her and that’s not the right thing. It’s just very, I don’t its really hard to think what it is, but it’s just been really different. And I think. It’s probably always been there it’s just been really buried because I’ve just been that busy, just getting on with it. And fighting all these little battles to kind of be like, no, I am right. I will stick to my guns to look after my little boy. Obviously baby, number twos come along and, you know, and I love having the both of them and you know, it’s a little unit four. We have got a lovely little family and they’re so good, but at the same, I think it’s just really brought home all those. Big challenges that we did face. Really? 

[00:47:46] Carla: Yeah. I think it hits you in different ways. Yes. Yeah, it really does. It’s um, my, mine, I did like suffer after, after George. I think I had like major, like I just. Terrified all the time. I don’t know why. I just remember feeling really anxious all the time. I did get postnatal depression, which at the time I think you don’t sometimes know you’ve got it. You just feel like you’re having a bad day every day, like that. Yeah, that’s what it was like. And I just didn’t want to go anywhere. I didn’t want to see anyone. My friends would jsut turn up at the house, I’d think, Oh for god sake I don’t want to speak to them, but they’d brighten my day. Um, but, um, it is hard. It’s so hard because it’s, sometimes it’s such a traumatic thing that you’ve been through having your baby early anyway, unexpectedly. You know, I mean, mine, it started like, although they kept saying, Oh, we might come early. I never really thought he would. And then within half an hour of seeing like loads of blood thinking you were going to die and then like, kind of he’s there and then he’s gone, you know, like it was the whole process for me that I really, really struggled with but, you know, I think everyone’s struggles for different reasons. Don’t they? And it might be if I was ever fortunate to have another one, I might. You know, I might find that I don’t suffer next time, but everything is different. Isn’t it? And I think it’s so hard as a mum, because you’re always kind of feeling like you want to do the best by everyone and everything.

[00:49:17] Rachael: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. And I think my biggest thing was I was really starting to take it to heart, kind of what other people were thinking about me. And I felt really judged all the time by, um, you know, some people, um, People that you wouldn’t expect to judge you and how they think that they can do it better than you. And they think that they know it all. Um, that was really hard for me to the point that I’ve now just switched off from it. And I think they can think what they want because you know what, he’s doing really well and that’s because of me, nobody else that’s because of me and everything I’ve done in the way I’ve listened. Um, you know, and you do it. 

[00:49:56] Carla: Yeah, no one knows the child, the baby more than the mother. Um, I really do think, you know, you’ve grown them, you know, them and, and like, you know, people may have done things differently in their day or, you know, when, you know, Or their time around this time or whatever, but it’s, it’s your baby and it’s your choice of how you choose to do things. And sometimes you do just wish people would just kind of say nothing. You know like just leave me to it. Everyone just wants to give advice constantly. Don’t they. 

[00:50:33] Rachael: Yeah. And for me, I just kind of switched off from everybody. What, all these people were trying to give advice that didn’t really know what they were talking about. And I just listened to the doctors and nurses and they have just been right all the way along. They’ve been so good. Um, but it does deep down somewhere it was affecting my mental health. I think i just kept it. I don’t.  think I say I kept it hidden. I just don’t think I realised it was there I thought it was normal. After having him early I would  just cry at the slightest thing, then I literally got to the point where there was days. I just thought, you know, I can literally just walk out this house and just keep walking. And there was more thought process than that other than this is too much pressure. And I just need to walk away from it. And obviously now since being to the doctor, the doctor and lots of things going on with all of that and looking after myself more, um, in the grand scheme of everything, I feel very distant from that now. And you know, I’m getting there with all of that, but it does, whether it’s something that you feel and notice, or whether it’s something really, really hidden deep down inside, I think it really does effect you. 

[00:51:40] Carla: Yeah, it really does. I mean, I just think talking about these kinds of things does make you feel a less alone as well. And, um, and I just think, you know, don’t expect yourself to be, you know, fighting, fit, doing everything, getting back to the gym, doing don’t put too much pressure on yourself. And also something that I wish I had to do more is stop trying to make everyone else happy, make yourself happy and make your family happy, you know, your baby, your partner, but you know, if other people, you know. Just don’t concern yourself with what other people think, because for every person that thinks it it’s one way and you change that way, someone else will think it should be done the other way. So I just think, do you know what? No. Keep your opinions to yourselves. If its helpful, fine if I’ve asked for it fine, but you know, try not to concern yourself too much with making everyone else happy, because I think then in the long run, you’re the one that isn’t happy. Um, and you know, and happy, mummy is a happy baby.

[00:52:39] Rachael: One really bad decision. I remember. And I’ll always regret this. Obviously he came home quite close to Christmas, so we had our few weeks at home where no one could come and see him and then people could start to come to see him. And I remember feeling this. Massive guilt that he was going to be Christmas day. And I wasn’t  going to see my family. And I’ve always gone to my mum’s house with my brother and sister and everything else. And there was always this like family unit. And I knew she invited still these people for Christmas lunch, but I had this massive guilt, that I’m not going to go and see them to give them their presents and Harry’s here. And we can see people just not, in massive amounts and we’ve planned that we’re going to get a takeaway for our Christmas dinner. And we were just going to have a really nice day.Anyway I ended up,  I just felt this massive amount of guilt because it was Christmas day. And why should I not be able to see everyone on Christmas day because he’s here and early. So in the end we made the decision and I kind of pushed the decision a bit with my fiancé. We’re going to go and see them in the morning, exchange presents and everything. And then before everyone arrives at my mum’s for Christmas lunch, we’re going to come away. 

[00:53:41] Anyway. So we made this decision. We made all this effort. We came over and it’s a decision I’ve always regretted ever since. And it was all to do with literally trying to make other people happy. And it was, you know, I could have not gone, but I just felt the huge guilt. So I remember coming over and we all exchanged presents and everything. And then my mum was trying to delay she’s purposely, kept saying to my fiancé at the time. You know kept kind of saying to his dad, you know, you need to stay and just help me do this. And she was delaying exchanging the presents, hoping that everyone would arrive. And I would just be like oh it doesn’t matter, we’ll stay. You know we can’t rush back. Anyway, in the end, I ended up getting in a bit of a strop and I was like, no we are going I don’t know how many times I need to tell you, we were coming across for an hour and then we were leaving. And so we were leaving as everyone was arriving because I was like, I’m going, I’m like, I was getting a bit in a state really I thought, you know, this wasn’t the plan, but because she couldn’t understand where I was coming from. And she was, I think she thought that, you know, if everyone would have got there. Then it would have been alright and to just go over it, which wasn’t the case at all. And to this day, now we always say at Christmas, you know, like never do anything to make everybody else happy. It’s about us four and if we’re happy and it, it sounds really selfish, but after that experienced, I just think, no, you know, it’s more special than that.

[00:55:02] And it’s different now because I’ve got my own children. And no one’s bothered about looking after them. So we’ve got to do that. So yeah, sometimes you just got to watch that guilt creeping in and doing the wrong thing by feeling guilty by others because what matters is your baby. You know, partner and whatever I thats something to remember massively.

[00:55:24] Carla: I know and you’d never forgive yourself, you know, if they got ill or something and it would, it’s just, it is just doing what feels right. Really. And like you said, you know, instead of doing that, I mean, we’re all familiar. I’m familiar enough with zoom nowadays. Anyway, if anyone’s listening to, well, I suppose if they are listening to this and that, and they’ve gone through that, or they’re going through it at the moment, you know, you can do, you can do that. And with the lockdown and everything, you know, you’ve got a great excuse to stay away from people as well.

[00:55:52] Rachael: Yeah yeah. As much as it is nice to, you know, to go and do things face to face with people. It just, you know, now having technology like this, it helps so much. 

[00:56:03] Carla: Yeah. Yeah. It’s so hard. And also with, with the grandparents as well, I mean, we were quite, I mean, ours were really, really good, but I mean, what it is is it’s like, you feel guilty if you see one set and not the other, or then you say, you know, like, You can’t really, it’s so hard because you just want to make everyone happy. So whatever you do for one side of the family, you feel like you have to do for the other side of the family and just, it’s just constant. Isn’t it? That battle in your mind. 

[00:56:34] Rachael: I do remember having, like, I always have a diary. And I would literally book people in, that you can come at this time and, and we’d have  maybe, you know, even in hospital and there would be days that i’d be like I’m blocking that out because John’s off work and it’s his day off. And therefore he’s going to be with us. Um, you know, we’re not having any visitors today cause actually. We just need to do something on our own. And I literally used to have like a booking system and if somebody just turns up, they aren’t coming in. I just thought, you know, that it’s important that we have time just us and time to you know, you don’t want to blink and miss it. You know, you, you have to, otherwise everyone will just turn up at the same time. So I literally had this booking system. And if you weren’t on the list you weren’t coming in and it sounds ridiculous, but it meant that we got our quality time as well. And also our time just to sit down and watch your film and just do nothing. And dose on the sofa and things like that without expecting some person knocking at the door any minute or waking baby up in the routine or anything. So.

[00:57:33]Carla:  Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And it is, it’s building that bond as well that we missed out on, because I think that that take can take not for everyone, but it can take a little bit of a while. And for me it definitely did. Um, obviously I loved him. Um, so definitely wasn’t that I didn’t, it was almost strange though. Like I never really felt like it was mine for ages, even when he was home. Um, so it’s just kind of having that time to be a family because otherwise you can end up with people around all the time and you’re just constantly making brews for people. And you think, well, I wouldn’t mind cuddling my baby for a bit now. 

[00:58:11] Rachael: Yeah, that’s it. Isn’t it. It’s just so important isn’t it. And just shutting the door on everybody else and just concentrate on yourself. That was so important for us. 

[00:58:23] Carla: Yeah, absolutely. And like you said, just kind of making sure, you know, you’re happy on your content and then, you know, when you want to invite other people around, get that done. So yeah, it was all, it was all a very hard experience. And it was important for me really to share this kind of episode today, because I just think there’s nothing out there for these kind of parents. That are going through it, I mean, today there’ll be premature babies born today that parents are just kind of like, what the hell does this mean? Oh, I don’t know what they have to do or will they be okay? And both you and I both have little boys that are absolutely okay. I mean, your son was born 12 weeks early, my nearly seven weeks early. Um, and, and they’re both absolutely fine. So Harry has been doing some fund raising as well. Hasn’t he?

[00:59:13]Rachael:  He has. Yeah. So, um, going back to, obviously when everything happened, we kind of walked away wanting to give back in some way. We didn’t know how we’d do it. We didn’t know when we’d do it. We just knew that one day, the time would feel right to give something back. From everything that, you know, we did, and they are always, the hospital staff, as well as working, they’re always fundraising and doing raffles and little bits of things, selling pens or different things like that to always be able, to provide the little extras. So from my understanding, it is obviously the NHS provides all the medical side of things, but sometimes it’s just those little comfort things that. Would help premature babies be able to survive and just feel comfort. It might be a little blanket that you can swap with mum to have that smell, and you can have two and just keep exchanging them. And then there was, I remember some bean bags that we used to be weighted bean bags, so that he felt like they hadn’t was near them. And, you know, just different things like that. So there was all sorts of things that they used to fundraise just to provide those little extra things that aren’t necessarily a medical resource. And they’re not a necessity, but they’re just a lovely thing. And I remember them working so hard for that. So at  the start off or part way through lockdown I contacted the neonatal unit. We’ve obviously not being there for a while or to visit. And I just let them know that we wanted to do some. Fundraising for them, for that pot of money, you know, to be able to provide all those little extras for that specific hospital, because they’d helped us with everything else. And even might be like a bit of a tea and coffee fund for the parents in the waiting room or a book or you know whatever, it was literally just to give back to those families, those little extra things that helps them get through this. Situation and, you know, for them to spend, however they saw fit, really.

[01:01:02] And so we set a challenge and it had to be challenge, Harry loves walking, he absolutely loves it. He loves the outdoors and he’s really for someone  who’s just turned four, he was three at the time he did this, um, just honestly, when he starts walking, he just plods in and he, and he just carries on. And we’ve, we’ve always encouraged that just getting in the great outdoors, you know, walking up different Hills and it’s just built on it really.

[01:01:27] So the challenge we set was, um, about we, we always go camping up towards the Lake district and around Lake Ulsewater and they’ve recently made a path all the way round it. So you can literally walk all the way around the Lake, which is a 20 mile route all the way around. So you can split it into four sections. Um, and basically what we did was decided that 20 miles in one day might be a little bit too much for him. So he did it over two sessions. We took him on two camping trips over summer and on one of the days, um, on each camping trip, we went a 10 mile walk for each one of them. So it’s not a particularly high hill as such, you don’t necessarily, you know, you’re not walking to the summit of a massive Hill, but it’s just a constant open down route from the lake side, you know, and you literally can see the lake all the way round. And so we did it into two 10 mile sections and over the two days, I think he walked. In less than 10 hours, he’d walked the 20 miles, um, altogether, cause we timed each section.

[01:02:27] So I think it was something like 9 hours 37 minutes. He ended up doing it in over two stents and we just had the most amazing time, you know, walking and singing. He had the best time everything he just absolutely loved it. You could see that it took its toll on him, you know, on each one you could see him getting tired towards the end. Then, you know, he really was pushing himself through that last mile each time. But both times he literally walked every step of the way, um, to raise money. So we’d set up a, just giving page and we raised pretty much 1,500 pounds for doing it. So. He’s just an amazing job with that.

[01:03:06]Carla:  Yeah. Oh no, it sounds amazing. Absolutely amazing. Is that page still going then? Rachel? 

[01:03:12] Rachael: I think he’s going, it end sometime in November, although I can extend it a little bit, but we’ve, we’ve kind of, we’re not far off the target of 1,500, but then we do have some cash donations as well. So I must just add in as well that he’s splitting the amount that he’s raised with the charity playgroup that he goes to as well. Cause they are quite struggling in the climate that, you know, to be splitting it between two charities. That mean a lot to him. And that have helped him grow in confidence, looked after him and his health and welfare and everything so he’s splitting it between the two, but it’s still open at the minute the justgiving/harry-hickson. it is something along those lines. 

[01:03:55] Carla: We’ll put the link on for you Rachel, onto this episode. 

[01:03:59] Rachael: So yeah, that’d be amazing, but we are literally just, you know, it’s, it’s just. A way to give back and just to be able to help everybody else, you know, and it’s only in a little way that you’re helping really, but you know, you just think if it can help everybody else who goes through that situation in any way, shape or form and, you know, give the nurses a little bit of a rest. You know, doing some fundraising for this year, um, in that, you know, in, in a climate where they can’t do any fundraising, really they normally do cake sales and big events for World Premature baby day and things. To just help that part of money to stay, you know, floating, I suppose, but they have not been able to do anything this year, which must be so hard for them because you know, those resources is still needed. So it’s just been so nice and it felt like the right time to, to do that challenge really and give something back. 

[01:04:51]Carla:  Definitely. And the thing is when we’ve used the facilities and stuff like that, there’s just so many lovely, thoughtful things like the clothes. I mean, no one, not many people buy premature baby clothes do they because you don’t expect your baby to come. And I remember I just went with like absolutely loads afterwards because I just want it for all the parents to be able to just clothe their baby, you know, in nice little clothes and, you know, and I gave absolutely loads back, but yeah, obviously other parents as well have given other things as well to support, support them. So yeah, definitely, absolutely amazing. So we will put the link on that and Rachel, your, your, you run your own baby business as well. Don’t you? So can you tell the parents a little bit about that? 

[01:05:36] Rachael: Yeah, absolutely. So I run a business called boogie beat music and movement is a franchise is across a lot of the UK as well. So you might have local classes if you’re not around the Preston area, Preston and Blackpool area, but we’re a music and movement class. And we take children from birth all the way to six, seven years old. So we’ll work within classes in the community. We take children into care homes, doing generational sessions, we do birthday parties. And we also work in schools and nursery. So there’s a massive range of different workshops that we can do, and the different ways that we can come across people. But it’s all about the basis of music and movement and telling traditional stories, putting all that music and the movement into the stories. And bringing everyones imaginations to life through the nursery rhymes. It’s all really, really traditional, very traditional stories, but just absolutely magical. And it’s something that I set up when Harry was really little. I bought into the franchise then, and it’s just grown him in confidence so much. It really helped open his imagination and just really express himself. It built his confidence. Confidence in an ability around like story time and just all the people doing activities and just, you know, so many things that we cover throughout the classes. It’s so active and live we never sit down for too long. Um, everyone can just take care of their own levels. If you’ve got a newborn baby or even a prem baby, you’re coming somewhere that. The teacher genuinely understands from firsthand experience of how it feels to have that prem baby, but wanting to get out of the house and do those activities. Um, yeah. And it’s just absolutely makes me feel so good. Being able to bring that joy to everybody else. Yeah, and just teach children and you see them week by week, grow in confidence and want to come and do some activities with you and to make obviously, you know, so important for mums to make friends with all the mums and grandparents bring their children along. We just have so much fun. 

[01:07:35] Carla: Oh yeah. I absolutely loved it. I’ve actually written a review on your classes, which I’ll put that link in the show notes as well. So people can have a read about what, what it’s like to come to your classes, because the absolutely brilliant George absolute love them. And I did see a lot of childminders there. Um, grandparents, it was just really, really nice. So yeah, brilliant classes. And they’re going to be there available via zoom. Aren’t they as well during the, at the moment. 

[01:07:59] Rachael: Yes at the moment we’ve moved  everything to Zoom so that we can still have loads and loads of fun. And we had a class on Friday. I wasn’t sure how it, would work on zoom with babies, but actually it was really, really good fun on Friday. You could see them all happy and smiling. It was just amazing and just makes you feel so good. It gives you an activity to do. I mean, you know, indoors are in locks out. So you just, we come out of lockdown. We are ready to go back to those face-to-face sessions as well. Cause it is obviously important to have that connection as, and when we can do, but until then, you know, the zoom classes is just going to be really, really well at the moment. And they’re just so much fun. 

[01:08:34] Carla: Thank you so much, Rachel, for being a guest today on 50 shades of motherhood, really, really appreciate it.

[01:08:40]Rachael:  Thank you so much for having me. I just really hope that, you know, obviously what we’ve been through and things, um, can help somebody or, you know, just make that little bit of difference. And, you know, I would always say that if anybody ever wants to chat about anything if they are going through that experience and they just want to talk. Then, you know, please contact me and I’d more than happily, you know, do anything I can to help anybody really, and, and just be a shoulder to listen. Sometimes it’s just what you need. Isn’t it? Someone who’s been through the experience. 

[01:09:10] Carla: Yeah, definitely. And just that reassurance as well that you’re trying desperately to get. And of course, with the neonatal nurses, they can’t really, you know, they wouldn’t want to kind of do that just in case. So it can feel a bit sometimes like, Oh, just want reassurance from somewhere. Well, me and Rachel are available and we can give you plenty of reassurance. So please do feel free to message either of us, um, on that. So thank you Rachel.

[01:09:36]Rachael:  Thanks very much for having me. 


[01:09:39] Carla: Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode of 50 shades of motherhood. My aim is to support free chat around motherhood’s, uncensored ,unhinged and  unapologetic mum chat.

[01:09:56] If you like this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe and tell all your friends about it. The more listeners we get, the more subscribers we get, the more chance we’ve got of getting series three down. So I look forward to speaking to you next time and keep your eyes peeled on our social pages to find out who our next guest is.

[01:10:19] I’m sure you will love it. 

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