I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I spent an inordinate amount of time staring at myself in the mirror when I was pregnant.
I loved my pregnant body, every expanding curve and bump. I watched with delight as my body changed and grew. I wasn’t in the least bit daunted by weight gain or stretch marks. I just wanted to savour every second of the process. I was growing a tiny human after all!
Sadly, at only 28 weeks gone, my pregnancy was cut short.
My son, Arthur, entered the world, three whole months before his due date. He wasn’t placed lovingly into my waiting arms as I’d always dreamed. Instead, in an emergency operating theatre filled with medical staff, he was whisked away by doctors to be treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. A quick glimpse of my baby was my only interaction with him on the day he was born. I was utterly bereft.
The next day, I was allowed to go to the NICU to see Arthur. He weighed just 1010g and I couldn’t believe how small he was. I sat and watched as he slept in his incubator. The rise and fall of his tiny chest was rhythmic due to his ventilator. Countless tubes and lines seemed to cover his tiny body.
It would be two weeks before he was stable enough for me to hold him for the first time. And another two and a half months before he was well enough to come home.