My son, Neil, was born 10 weeks prematurely in November. Having a baby before Christmas wasn’t the plan! He was supposed to arrive on the 26th January. Having a premature baby is hard but add to that having a premature baby at a time of year that is all about being with your nearest and dearest can be heart breaking.

Mummy's Christmas cuddle with her premature baby
Christmas cuddle with my preemie

First Christmas after being discharged from NICU

The following year we were getting into the Christmas spirit. Neil got to experience the Christmas tree, which he despised the feel of, he would crawl up to touch it then cry. He loved the twinkling lights though (I think most babies do). He was fascinated with the gifts that were being exchanged with family and friends before the big day.

Then Neil really worried me. His breathing became laboured, he had the harsh wet bronchiolitis cough and he was sick and drained of colour. I took him straight to the children’s ward at the hospital and they checked him over. Initially his heart rate and oxygen saturation levels were all within a normal range and I was beginning to think I had over reacted. I was apologising every time the nurse came to check on Neil saying I was happy to take him home and free them up. I would bring him straight back if anything changed. The doctor wasn’t discharging Neil though as his breathing was so laboured.

RSV positive

Neil had a test for RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) and the test came back as positive. So we knew he definitely had bronchiolitis. Days 4 and 5 tend to be the worse days and the days he is usually admitted when he has bronchiolitis, we were only on day 2 so this was a little surprising. He was hooked up to a monitor and put in a side room.

Things quickly changed and suddenly his oxygen saturation levels plummeted. He was quickly put on oxygen and admitted to the ward. Once Neil was settled I rang my husband to let him know what happened, then I rang my parents who are amazingly supportive and help us out a lot when we are admitted to hospital. Next on the list was my manager to let her know what was going on and that I wouldn’t be in work until further notice.

Christmas 2017 - a few days after being discharged from the children's ward
Christmas 2017 – a few days after being discharged from the children’s ward

Neil picked up 2 days before Christmas and we got to go home! I had resigned myself to having to spend a second Christmas in the hospital. We got home and snuggled up for the day snoozing and watching Christmas films. Although Neil was home he still wasn’t fully recovered.

We had a lovely Christmas but Neil easily tired, with all the excitement of gifts he was soon worn out!

Christmas 2018!

This year Neil came down with a chest infection just 3 days before the big day. I got him an appointment with the GP who confirmed it was a chest infection and quickly prescribed him antibiotics. With this confirmation we also started using his inhaler again. I have to say I was filled with dread at the diagnosis as it can easily turn into something a lot more scary leading to a hospital admittance. Thankfully it was caught early and that hasn’t happened, Neil is recovering quickly!

2 year old premature baby enjoying Christmas dinner
Christmas dinner 2018

We had a lovely Christmas day at my parents who cooked a wonderful meal and lots of present opening. Neil is such a lucky little boy with so many gifts that we are currently working on finding new homes for! We have all had a busy few days so we are using the next few days to wind down and chill out. 

Neil's Christmas photo. Photography credit: Vivienne Guy
Neil’s Christmas photo. Photography credit: Vivienne Guy

Although how chilled out it will actually be with an active toddler with a new collection of toys I don’t know! I expect I will be playing with the new toys, building and testing them out with Neil (don’t tell anyone but I am quite excited at getting to play pirates, racing cars, stickers, Etcher Sketch, read new books, work out new puzzles etc.).  I hope you all had a happy and healthy Christmas and I wish you a happier and healthier 2019.