Preparing for preemies: My baby was born at 27 weeks

Kylie Hodges

When I was 26 weeks and six days pregnant I 362 1024x768 Preparing for preemies: My baby was born at 27 weekswent to hospital, completely expecting to be told I was an overanxious, neurotic, depressed pregnant woman. I had a headache and felt a bit strange. It was hard to describe. I had my blood pressure done, urine samples taken, bloods drawn and a scan.

With each procedure I felt more and more uneasy. It became apparent that I had severe, rapid onset pre eclampsia. I was very poorly, and my baby was in deep, deep trouble.

The sonographer estimated my baby to weigh 800 grams, when he should have been around 1,000 grams. I had an emergency caesarean section the day after my diagnosis, at just 27 weeks. When my baby was delivered, he was so tiny he weighed 650 grams.

We named him Joseph, which means “Jehovah will enlarge”. I couldn’t see him until he was 10 hours old, because I was too sick to be moved. When I saw him, I loved him.

I felt immediately bonded, but it was a very long road. After 76 days in the Special Care Baby Unit, we brought him home.  Once home, although Joseph was well, and grew in strength every day, I found it very hard, and wasn’t prepared for all the emotions that came with it.

Whilst I had had some experience with premature babies, through friends, and had some medical knowledge through my work as a clinical case manager, nothing prepares you for being thrust into that situation, and I feel that having information written down in a clear format would have helped me crystallise my thoughts and prepare for the journey ahead.

Today sees the publication of a book which will arm parents of premature babies with plenty of information and which I feel sure would have eased some of my worries. “Having a Premature Baby”, produced by Tommy’s  (thanks to a grant from the ASDA foundation), is a free guide to everything parents who have been told their baby may be premature, or have had a premature baby, will need to know.

I was personally involved in putting the book together,and mine and Joseph’s experiences are just some of several case studies which will hopefully equip new parents with better understanding of what’s to come, and answers to their questions.

I am one of the rare “preemie” parents who have been in a unit and had some experience before it all happened to me. Of course it was still a great shock, but I was up to speed on a lot of the jargon, medical terminology etc and was used to asking questions and challenging consultants. With 50,000 babies born prematurely in the UK every year, imagine the nightmare for parents who have little or no knowledge about premature birth or its implications.

2011 12 15 09.56.42 225x300 Preparing for preemies: My baby was born at 27 weeksIf I had had access to “Having a Premature Baby” in that 24 hour period immediately after Joseph’s birth I would have felt so much more reassured and prepared. It explains everything from why babies arrive prematurely, to reducing to the risk of premature labour, gives full insight into the difficulties of birth for infants born weeks before their due date and tells you everything about what to expect from your baby’s time in hospital to how to care for them when you take them home.

From 16 weeks pregnant, there were concerns about me developing pre eclampsia. I was careful not to use Google, but had seen in my pregnancy books that pre eclampsia means you may be induced early, or put on bed rest. None of my books mentioned that I could deliver such an early baby through caesarean section. Tommy’s guide clearly explains pre eclampsia and why some women have to deliver so early.

Now Joseph, that tiny little baby, is two-and-a-half (pictured)! He is cheeky, happy, smiley, loquacious and very clever, and has pretty much caught up, although he is a little on the dainty side. I am proud to have shared our story to help other families who are starting their journey with their precious premature children.

Copies of ‘Having a Premature Baby’ are available to order at: (free including postage and packaging)

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  • Liz Heffner

    Thank you for sharing, Kylie.  My daughter was born at 28 weeks for no apparent reason, though I do have an abnormally shaped uterus that physicians feel may have crowded her and led to my waters breaking prematurely.  Having trained as a nurse, I was familiar with the medical jargon, procedures and much of what was taking place, but still would have felt more reassured with a publication such as the one you describe.  Thank you for your contribution to it. 

  • bobbellinhell

    The Independent is supposed to be a British paper, can we please not have Americanisms like ‘preemies’.

  • Milouthedog

    In our language it would be “premmies” so preemies didn’t really make sense to me. 

  • StephanieWV1974

    Be Thankful, that you have your little one alive and in your arms.  I had to deliver my first son stillborn at 26 weeks and and then my daughter 9 yrs later full term 39 weeks, both cord accidents.  But I also have another son and daughter, so I have been blessed 4 times and my children have their guardian angels, Best wishes and good luck!!!  I live for my children and my angels, just make sure you have a strong support system and you both will do fine.  Lots of love! Stephanie W.  WV 

  • Kylie Hodges

    Thank you so much for sharing about your precious children. I am thankful every day that I brought my baby home, and know too well that we are very blessed to have Joseph happy and healthy.

  • StephanieWV1974

    Your welcome, I wish you and joseph the best of luck, and it’s the best miracle God could give.  Didn’t mean to come across so harsh before, I have had a rough 16 years, but you just move on each day and enjoy the blessings you have been given.  lots of love!  S.W. 

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