Matilda was born at 26 weeks gestation. This slideshow charters our tumultuous path from day dot to leaving NICU.
It’s 107 days since I was admitted to hospital with contractions five minutes apart and 96 days since Matilda was born 14 weeks prematurely. On three occasions we were told to prepare ourselves for the worst, but each time emergency surgery brought her back from the brink.
Today, one day after her due date, John and I finally took our courageous daughter home! It’s the day we’ve dreamed about for what felt has like forever and which seemed intangible for so long, but as I write this, sitting in my armchair with Matilda lying contentedly beside me in her Moses basket, everything about being at home together feels wholly right.
I feel so fortunate to have such a happy, vibrant girl against the odds and to be married to such an amazing man who stayed level-headed and provided love and comfort to Matilda and me through all the ups and downs while somehow managing to hold down a demanding full-time job at the same time.
Thank you also to our friends and family who have provided overwhelming moral support and help with practicalities, the fellow mums on the neonatal unit who preserved my sanity when I was at breaking point and the innumerable NHS staff who went above and beyond to do everything in their power to save Matilda’s life and help her thrive. Farewell NICU and hello to what should have been the first chapter of our journey with Matilda, but which actually feels like the zillionth. Whatever the future holds, the Cotton family is ready to face it together …
Matilda is three months old today – it’s hard to believe that she still shouldn’t even be here yet, given her due date of 29th July. Bringing a 26-week preemie into the world isn’t an experience I’d ever wish to relive, but despite the rocky road it’s been awe-inspiring to watch her flourish on the neonatal unit. Since my two-month update, Matilda has successfully undergone eye surgery which prevented her from going blind and she’s overcome pneumonia, bouncing back and announcing she was strong again by pulling out her own ventilator tube! She had her first glimpse of the outside world last week when John and I spent an afternoon with her in the sunshine, our first chance to bond one on one – it really sunk in what we’ve been missing. She’s going to need some oxygen cylinders to help her breathe, but as soon as these are installed in our home the Cotton family is finally getting out of NICU, our discharge date set for Monday 30th July!