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World Prematurity Day - Emmie's Story

Friday 17th November 2023 

On World Prematurity Day, we want to share with you Emmie’s story as told by her mother Vanessa: 

“Our daughter Emmie, born at 25+1 weeks, weighing 738g (1lb 10oz) at The Grange University Hospital and spent 81 days on the NICU ward. The day she was born changed our lives forever.  

To be told that she may not cry or that we may not be able to hold her are words that were earth shattering. However, when we she was born, we heard those tiny little cries coming from her tiny little body and we were able to hold her for a short time. A moment we will never forget. She was perfect.  

Emmie was taken straight to the Intensive Care ward, where she was intubated for only 17 hours before being placed on CPAP. She was treated for jaundice and placed under a blue light. 

Emmie has been very fortunate with her journey. A lot of the complications and hurdles we were prepared for never happened. With any premature baby, there are things you naturally prepare yourself for, such as problems with eyes or lungs or even heart as these were all so under developed when she was born, but after various scans and tests, we were given the all clear. 


Her main struggle was gaining weight. However, after being placed on a fortifier containing more calories, she gradually gained those extra grams each week until she was discharged weighing 1900g. 

The first few days on the ward were the hardest. All the machines beeping, nurses back and forth, medical phrases you'd never heard before, and we would just sit there feeling like a fish out of water. What was this new world we were in? 

Every time the monitor would make a noise my heart sank to my stomach as I assumed something terrible was happening, but as the days go on, these noises and sounds become comforting as you understood what they meant. You become aware of your new surroundings, taking it all in and becoming more confident in not only yourself but your ability to be able to care for such a tiny human being.


The hospital became our second home and the staff and fellow parents became our extended family. The support we received both on the ward and once we were discharged is something we will forever be grateful for. The NICU ward have a social media page (Dinky Dragons) that current parents on the ward and discharged parents can be part of, to ask questions, share memories and connect with each other. Each month, the Dinky Dragons have a catch-up session for parents and babies to come along to, with different entertainment, toys and teas and coffees for the mums and dads to drink whilst they have a catch up. 

Since Emmie has come home, she has flourished. Reaching all of her developmental milestones and discovering the world. Her funny, beautiful personality shines through. She truly is a little warrior.” 

Happy World Prematurity Day!