CATRIONA OGILVY is a Croydon mum whose two sons were both born prematurely. Today is World Prematurity Day, and here she explains why that matters, and how you can help
On World Prematurity Day, parents, professionals and organisations are joining together across the globe to raise awareness and to campaign for better care for the 15 million babies who every year are born too soon.
Here in Britain, 60,000 babies are born prematurely each year, with nearly all requiring neonatal care and roughly 20,000 spending prolonged periods of time in hospital.
I know all about prolonged stays in neonatal care; my eldest son, now three, was born 10 weeks early and spent seven weeks in neonatal intensive care. My second son, it seems, did not want to miss out and arrived suddenly at home at 34 weeks – he spent two weeks being cared for by the amazing staff at the Croydon University Hospital neonatal unit.
Medically, a baby is described as being premature if they are born prior to 37 weeks gestation.
Having a baby changes your life. Having a premature baby turns your world upside down.
No one can prepare you for becoming a parent, but when your baby is born too soon the preparation and anticipation is dramatically interrupted. You are thrown into a medical world of breathing machines and beeping monitors, a world where you can only reach your tiny new born through portholes in a Perspex box.
I have written about my experiences and my emotions as a mother of a premature baby, and am using them as part of a new campaign – The Smallest Things – to raise awareness of the emotional and financial difficulties faced by the parents of these special children. You can read our story here.
The Smallest Things campaign was launched less than two months ago, but has already received a fantastic response from parents and professionals alike.
Over the coming months, the Smallest Things will be meeting with local GP practices and health visiting teams, raising awareness and educating professionals on how to best support parents who have spent time in neonatal intensive care. If you’d like to follow the latest updates and news from our campaign please join us and hundreds of others on our Facebook page. Or to find out more about the aims of our campaign visit us at www.thesmallestthings.org
“Sometimes,” said Pooh, “the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts.”
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema, Effie Gray, Nov 20
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
- Choose Your Own Documentary, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 21-22
- David Lean Cinema, Lilting, Nov 22
- Streatham-Croydon women’s rugby training, Frant Road, Nov 23
- David Lean Cinema, Wakolda, Nov 27
- The Last Sense of Sudden, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 27-29
- Ghost Stories for Christmas, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 3
- St Andrew’s churchyard gardening session, 10am, Dec 6
- Fog Horn Funnies, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 6
- Croydon Philharmonic Handel’s Messiah, Fairfield Halls, Dec 6
- Coulsdon Yulefest, Dec 6-7
- Oval Tavern Folk Club, Dec 7
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- Friends of the Earth Green Beanfeast, Dec 15 (book by Dec 1)
- Croydon Philharmonic Christmas concert, St Matthew’s, Dec 16
- Norwood Society talk: Penge, the making of a suburb, Jan 15
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
- Norwood Society talk: Crystal Palace and Dulwich, Feb 19
- Norwood Society talk: Charlies Dickens in Norwood, Mar 19
- Norwood Society: Balloons and airships at Crystal Palace, Apr 16
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