No matter how much you prepare, you never think it’s going to happen to you. You go through pregnancy hearing time and time again that your first baby is almost always late. So you subconsciously add two weeks to your due date and start planning towards that 42-week mark. But as we all know, when it comes to birth, things rarely go according to plan.
When we went into labour a month early last summer, just 2 days after we passed 36 weeks, I immediately went into denial. ‘This can’t be happening’ I thought. ‘It must be Braxton Hicks. There’s no chance this baby is coming tonight.’
I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. But most of all, I now realise that I wasn’t ready to face the fear that something might be wrong. That our premature baby might be tiny, unwell or suffer in some way that we never imagined.
But as it turns out, we were one of the lucky ones. When our Teddy arrived into the world, despite his prematurity, he was a healthy seven pounds. I remember seeing the surprise on the midwife’s face when he came out. I felt it too, because in my head, the situation could have been very different.
In his first few days, we spent a lot of time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), after it was discovered that Teddy had a heart murmur as well as worsening jaundice. It was then, surrounded by distraught parents and tiny babies fighting for their lives, that I realised just how fortunate we were.
Seeing the nightmare that they were going through – so different to the new parent fantasy that we all dream about during pregnancy – was a wake up call that there is still a massive knowledge gap when it comes to premature babies.
In the UK alone, approximately 60,000 babies are born prematurely every year. That’s roughly 1 in every 11 births. And while advances in medicine are enabling more of these little fighters to survive, their unique requirements are not always fully understood or catered for during these crucial early days.
Due to a lack of available alternatives, neonatal nurses are often forced to use regular newborn nappies on premature babies, either cutting or folding them to fit. Unfortunately these are usually still too wide for their tiny frames, pushing their legs and hips apart, resulting in severe discomfort for these little fighters.
To help solve this, Pampers has spent the past three years designing its smallest ever nappy, created especially for the smallest premature babies.
The Pampers Preemie Protection Size P3 nappy is three sizes smaller than a regular newborn nappy and is suitable for babies weighing less than 1.8lb; roughly 800g. Thinking back to what we saw during our time in NICU, these would have been an absolute godsend for the tiny premature babies around us.
But this is so much more than just your average product launch…
To actually make a real difference in the lives of premature babies and their parents, Pampers will be donating around 3 million of these Pampers Preemie Protection nappies to neonatal units in hospitals across the UK, giving every preemie baby access to nappies designed especially for them and their unique needs. An incredible gesture…and that’s not all.
As well as this, Pampers has partnered with Bliss, the leading UK charity and support network for families and babies born premature or sick, to drive awareness and raise money to help them keep doing this amazing work. All they’re asking is for parents across the country to share photos on social media of their babies and toddlers with a fist pump and the hashtag #powerofbabies, to celebrate the incredible fighting spirit that premature babies show every day.
In exchange, Pampers will donate £1 to Bliss for every photo shared using the hashtag #powerofbabies – an incredibly worthwhile campaign and one that we wholeheartedly support!
So what are you waiting for? Please get involved and help spread the word by sharing this article and posting your own photos in solidarity for these little fighters, while raising money for this amazing cause.
To see how these nappies will help preemie babies and their families, check out the exclusive ‘Little Fighters’ video here.
This article has been sponsored by Pampers, in support of the launch of Pampers Preemie Protection nappies.