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On July 1st at 3. As my husband was trying to calmly speak to the paramedic I was preparing myself for the worst. At this time I was 24 weeks and had only been saying the day before how relieved I was to reach V-day — viability.

A few hours later I was transferred to North Staffordshire hospital as they were the closest with a bed and a cot. Sadly that night I had another bleed and was transferred to Wolverhampton hospital this time.

My wait here was just over 3 weeks as I continued to have large bleeds, contractions and my waters really did break. All I wanted was to be at home cooling in the paddling pool with my son and planning the arrival of our new baby.

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I felt like a useless ticking time bomb. The relief to be transferred back to Worcester, my local hospital, at 28 weeks was immense. I was gowned up at 10pm and waiting for the epidural in theatre but an emergency came in so it was more waiting until 1am. Our gorgeous daughter, Isabella Anne, was born at 2. We saw her briefly before she was whipped to special care as she needed help with breathing.

Unfortunately, I needed to have hysterectomy as had lost and continued to lose a lot of blood and my placenta was attached to my uterus.

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When the next morning I woke in intensive care it felt like a very strange dream. My husband showed me photos of Izzie and the nurses sent pictures for me to have and stuck them on the bed.

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It was three days later I finally saw her and realised how tiny and delicate but also how incredibly strong she was. The second time I saw her I was able to hold her and it definitely helped my recovery. After nearly 6 weeks of struggling to juggle life; wanting to be with my toddler and also wanting to spend every minute in Neonatal trying to get to know my brand new daughter, I went into TCU with her to try to establish breast feeding.

I was glad I did as they found her to be tongue-tied and her tongue could be cut whilst we were there. It was an amazing feeling to finally be home as a family together and feel like I was in control of the complete care of my beautiful girl — as scary as this was at times!

Now, she is almost 1 and she continues to amaze me.

Chloe stayed at the top of the girls' list, but Sophie came a very close second. She wears splints on her legs to straighten them and sometimes needs a walking frame for support, but she has been walking since she was two and a half.

My helpful tips for having a baby on NICU: You get used to all of the beeps and alarms after a while but never be afraid to ask questions and look through notes. Try to be as hands on in their care as possible; also kangaroo care is great for baby, you and partner. Do the resuscitation training offered.

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  • My husband liked to call from work at all hours. I used to phone to let them know if I was running late so they would hold off feeding until I was there. Use a large hand bag that you can fit many things in..

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  • Use nappy bags for dirty clothing. Keep them away if they have any germs I forgot about my toddler bringing every germ going back from nursery with him!!



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