Our baby Arlo was born seven weeks early, entirely unexpectedly. Six hours after arriving home from our hols, we popped to the maternity suite in Chesterfield so they could check out a few random 'twinges'. Another six hours later, out popped Arlo. After a brief cuddle, Arlo was whizzed to neonatal intensive care - standard for a 4lb baby born too soon.
When we next saw our baby, in a postnatal 5a.m. fog, he was in an incuabator, ventilated because his baby lungs weren't ready for the real world. He had a feeding tube going into his nose and an intravenous line in his hand. Machines by his side constantly measured his breathing, heartrate and oxygen levels.
He looked sick and small, and everything was all wrong.
For the first week, we barely saw our baby boy, except to help change his nappy in the incubator. With Arlo's big brother Monty at home, looking forward to his third birthday, we had to actively choose who to spend time with. Knowing that the neonatal nurses were giving Arlo almost one-to-one care while we were at home with Monty kept us going.
Aware that I desperately wanted to breastfeed Arlo, the neonatal nurses spent hours helping me express tiny cupfuls of milk, which we would later syringe down the tube in his nose. And then, when he turned his big corner after a week and was placed in a real cot rather than an incubator, the nurses spent yet more time helping Arlo to breastfeed properly.
Were it not for the nurses' dogged determination to help me and Arlo breastfeed, I don't think he'd have gone home so soon - just three weeks after he was born. And so if I can raise some funds for the neonatal unit to ensure that this same effort can be given to other new mummies and babies, I will be happy.
This year I have run the Bradwell Sport Relief 3 miles in March, and Tideswell Fell Race and Hathersage Fell Race in July. I have a handful more races to complete this summer, finishing with the Great Yorkshire Run (Sheffield 10k) in September. PLEASE SPONSOR ME GENEROUSLY - let's help more babies and parents get the same care and support that we received at Chesterfield neonatal unit.
Ah, and just to mention ... eighteen months on, Arlo's as chunky as all the other babies his age, eating as much as his big bro, and generally keeping Monty in check when required.
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