Layla, 29, has three daughters and has had two premature births. Ahead of World Prematurity Day on November 17, she shares her story on social media to create a safe space for other families so that no one is left feeling alone.
Nothing prepares a parent for a premature birth. Sometimes it’s expected, sometimes it’s a surprise – either way, it’s traumatic on so many levels.
All three of her daughters were born prematurely due to Iɴᴛʀᴀᴜᴛᴇʀɪɴᴇ Gʀᴏᴡᴛʜ Rᴇsᴛʀɪᴄᴛɪᴏɴ (IUGR). Her twin daughters, Lily and Amelia, were born in July 2020 at 31+3 weeks, and Ella-Mai was born in May 2021 at 31+6 weeks.
The mother knew her twins were going to be born early. Her 18-week scan showed significant growth restriction, and Layla was told pretty much every week to expect that she wouldn’t go past 23 weeks. Layla had a ᴄ-sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ planned for 32 weeks, as this is the safest window to deliver twins facing difficulties, as what happens to one twin can directly affect the other. They walked a fine line in keeping Amelia safe without affecting Lily.
When the twins arrived, they were immediately rushed off to the stabilization room, and the new mom was instantly thrown into the crazy world of the NICU.
“Thoughts, fears, and questions looped around in my head. Were they breathing? Will I ever meet them? What if only one of them makes it? It’s all my fault, why couldn’t my body carry them to full-term?” she said.
“My feelings were mixed and conflicting, and to this day I still haven’t figured them out. On one hand, I was super happy and grateful, but on the other, I was scared, powerless, and guilty. Sure, we have all heard of premature birth, but there isn’t enough awareness to prepare parents for what awaits them in the NICU should they find themselves there.”
In her post, Layla gave the message of a mother with a premature baby.
“Ah, I wish my baby was born early. I’m tired of being pregnant!
As moms of premature babies – our chests tighten every time we hear this.
And not because we don’t know how tiring a pregnancy is, but because we know how terrifying the arrival of a baby early is.
Being a mom of a premature child in NICU is a lonely experience.
The world around you keeps spinning, but yours freezes.
By watching your precious newborn fight for every breath.
The new mothers in the postpartum rooms are happy and enjoying every experience that we would like to experience.
Instead we are trapped in a nightmare. A hallway away from them.
When your baby arrives early – it’s not because they can’t wait to meet us.
And there are no extra hugs.
When your baby comes out of the NICU – we wait how and how to immerse ourselves in motherhood.
Let’s go to the playgrounds.
To welcome guests with open arms.
But we fear for our baby that he might get sick.
We don’t want to break up again.
And that moment… We don’t want to not see them again.
We are embarrassed to share our birth experience.
No because she is not beautiful and dreamy.
Simply because it hurts us so much.”
“Unless you are living it, I don’t think anyone truly understands what you are going through. I will forever value the friendships I made whilst in the NICU; the support, companionship, kindness, and humor helped us through,” Layla added.
Whilst preterm birth may be a hidden corner of pregnancy, all the things we face, and feel are valid. Her children are all growing up and living every moment by their parents’ side.