From heartbreak to hope: watching my premature baby girl fight for survival
By Chloe Adams, originally published in Daily Life
So here you are. Teetering on the edge of an abyss, your synapses firing in overdrive, your heart squeezed between the strong fingers of fear. Profound, core-shaking, unending fear.
This is what it feels like to sit by the bedside of your 26-weeker as you watch them fight for their life. Near enough, anyway. It's a profound kind of insecurity that shakes your belief in all and everything.
Because one day you can be happily plodding through life – enjoying the light flutters of the second trimester, your bump just beginning to pop, not yet waddling or heaving or grunting – and the next moment, you can be waking up in a puddle of your own blood, or your waters are breaking, or a doctor's arm is inside you urgently, painfully trying to grasp on to two tiny feet to pull a baby out of you in time to save its life. A baby that weighs just 698 grams. A baby whose lungs have barely begun to sprout alveoli; tiny trees being asked to breathe through their branches instead of their leaves.
If this can happen, anything can. Right?
But looking on the bright side, she's a warrior, your baby. And she's in a good hospital. The best hospital, really. And perhaps the cardiac surgery, or the six blood transfusions, or the three weeks on life support, perhaps that's where the suffering ends. But in your darkest moments, you wonder if there is more. Is this just a pause in proceedings, an opportunity to breathe before the next terror arrives?