I am Geoffrey and my son was born twelve weeks early and almost didn’t make it. Up until that point the pregnancy was going great. We had done all the stuff normal couples do, eat lots of cake, disagree about baby names and generally get into nesting mode.
But one night my wife started to feel a lot of pain. I had no idea what was going on so I took her to hospital. As we were only 28 weeks in I simply wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have a bag ready, I didn’t know where in the hospital we were meant to go and when they said my wife was in a labour I didn’t know what to do. I felt numb and utterly powerless.
It wasn’t meant to be like this. We were meant to have several months more of enjoying the pregnancy together followed by an idyllic birth and a perhaps a celebratory cigar. As opposed to excitement at the birth of our first child, I was terrified. I prayed that he could stay in for as long as possible so that his lungs could develop enough so that he could actually breathe.
The worst thing was not knowing. I didn’t know if we were going to in hospital for a month, for a week or if my wife was going to miscarry in the next 15 minutes.
Having fought it for 24 hours the inevitable thing happened and our son was born. The doctors put him in a bag, worked on him for 20 minutes, took him out to show him to us for about a second and then put him in a plastic box and wheeled him out.
I could not hold my son for a week.
When I saw him properly for the first time he was so small, covered in wires with a breathing tube attached to his face.
What we went through was the most traumatic event in my life. The next few months were not easy.
I had to go back to work knowing my son was in a little plastic box and could stop breathing any minute. Every day, I would make the journey from the office to the hospital. It was really stressful. I was worried about being strong for my son, I was worried about being strong for my wife, and I was worried about not breaking down in the office. I felt a huge pressure not to let everyone down. After three long months we took our son Sebastian home. We have had our ups and downs over the last few years but I count myself very lucky. This September, Sebastian was really excited about starting school, we couldn’t be more proud of him.
Our son was saved by medical research. By the individuals who funded it and by the researchers who built up the knowledge. Not everyone got to go home with their baby. We know we are the lucky ones.
Genesis is a very worthy charity, trying to find breakthroughs to predict, prevent or end a range of conditions affecting babies and their mothers. A part of that is funding vital research into premature birth which will make a difference to families and children in the future, so they don’t have to go through what we did.
With your support, Genesis can fund even more premature birth research projects. You can be part of the cure.