In mid-November my little boy, Neil, was delivered by an emergency Cesarean section. His due date was the 26th of January. Having a premature baby in hospital over the Christmas holidays can be so hard emotionally. All the Christmas films are about time spent with your family and your newest and most important family member is on the neonatal unit.

A premature baby in his incubator
My little boy in his incubator

Christmas morning

I woke up Christmas morning with a heavy heart and not wanting to celebrate much. The house felt too quiet and although we had decorated it just didn’t feel like Christmas. My husband got up and we drove to the hospital. 

We were quiet in the car and didn’t have much to say to each other, so we sat in silence listening to the radios choice of Christmas songs playing quietly in the background.

We arrived on the unit which had been nicely decorated at the start of December. Walking down the corridor there was a bit of a buzz. The nurses, who were missing their own families, were really trying hard to create a festive atmosphere. They were Cheery with their festive greetings and had a selection of Christmas goodies out for everyone to eat if they wanted.

A NICU Christmas

We walked in the room my son was in and were in awe of all the gifts surrounding his incubator, they surely couldn’t all be for him! They were, the nurse assured us. We had to check that the other babies had the same as we couldn’t possibly accept all this. All the gifts had been distributed evenly. We were encouraged to start opening them.

Our little boy had been so lucky and received so many amazing gifts with a few gifts for me and my husband in there as well. I remember feeling so elated by the kindness shown by others who were complete strangers to us, I was now smiling. 

Next was the best part of the visit though. We did Neil’s cares (changed his nappy, cleaned him with purified water and did his tube feed). Then he was allowed out of his incubator for a Christmas cuddle.

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

Christmas wasn’t feeling so bad now. Until it was time to go. My mum was making Christmas dinner and as she always does had gone to a lot of effort. The nurse assured me that it was ok to go and encouraged me to have a glass of something with my Christmas dinner. 

Going back home

The car ride back was different, we were feeling better. The kindness of strangers had lifted our mood. One of the parents had left their details so I text them to let them know just how much we appreciated their gift. It turned out that they were on the unit the year before and that our babies had a few health conditions in common.

We went round to my parents and enjoyed the Christmas feast they had lovingly made. Gifts had been a low priority for us but credit to my husband he pulled it out the bag! There was definitely a piece missing but we still had a nice day, I also enjoyed that glass of wine. The next day, Boxing Day, even though it was still a bank holiday, it felt like normality had resumed as I got back into the routine I had established.