As told by mum, Emma

11th of September 2021 was the beginning of a journey we could never have imagined. After feeling a bit off (yet sure I was being paranoid) I went for a check at the labour ward, 24w and 4days pregnant.

A quick check by the doc and I could tell something was wrong. They offered reassurance in that they’ll likely be able to stitch me up, but following a confirmation that my waters had broken, it was all on. 

After managing to stabilize labour overnight, I was helicoptered first thing from our home in New Plymouth to Wellington, leaving behind our two year old Franklin, while Iain caught the next flight to be with me. After four false starts, and 8 days in hospital, my ‘second labour’ kicked off quickly on the 19th of September. Within about 20 minutes id gone from minor contractions to full labour and dilation and was rushed into emergency theatre to deliver our breech baby boy.

Beau was born at 7.59pm, 25w 5d, weighing 806gm. I was afforded a quick look at our beautiful boy before he was whisked off to the angels in the Neonatal unit. 

The journey that followed was, by far, the most challenging thing we’ve ever faced as a family. Being on the ward without my baby in my arms was surreal, and waking in the night to other babies crying felt cruel while ours was fighting for his life down the hall, the other left at home without Mum and Dad, or even an understanding of the situation.

Recovery from a classical c section combined with three hourly pumping, crashing hormones and a raging infection made the next week a blur. Being wheeled to see my baby felt strange, not being able to hold him properly and being too scared to touch made us feel like he didn’t belong to us. I was so scared about our bond. 

Our journey with Beau continued as he fought multiple infections, ROP, heart shunts, brain bleeds and more. We quickly learned to celebrate the small things, and each milestone we shared chocolate cake with those around us. The days were slow, but looking back, it went so fast. One day we had was unforgettable, one of my first cuddles with Beau and he just stopped breathing. I’ll never forget how scared I felt being pushed out of the room as doctors and nurses came running to an alarm, working so hard to get our boy back. We were some of the lucky ones, some of the families close to us weren’t so, and have their babies watching them every day from above. The reality was, for all the stress and angst, we were surrounded by the most beautiful, caring people I’ve ever met. The parents, nurses, doctors, cleaners, everyone we came across provided that love and security as we navigated our new normal. 

Beau was transferred to New Plymouth to feed and grow, where we lived in isolation after he tested positive for MRSA, and not without his hiccups, Beau fed, grew, slowly weaned from cpap, to high flow, down to low flow, had his hernias repaired, and what felt like an eternity later, at 88 days old, got to come home, 12 days before his due date, on a feeding tube with low flow oxygen. Franklin finally got to meet his baby brother (I’m sure he didn’t believe us) and our family finally, after three months, got to meet our newest member.

Most know, that coming home is where the journey really begins. The families of most prems become not only parents, but nurses, advocates and more. Beau was on an off oxygen for over a year, he had at least weekly checks for his eyes, tubes, oxygen, and despite feeling free, many many admissions to hospital over the next two years. 

One thing I really want to share, and I don’t think is shared enough, is the impact this journey has on parents. Our role as parents means we put our children first, but it’s not without some cost. After a few months of being home, I started suffering from extreme night terrors. Not sleeping, compulsively checking the kids were alive, and always fearing something was wrong. To this day, I still see a psychologist and work on overcoming the trauma of that journey. It’s taken me a while to acknowledge that it changed us too, and it’s okay to get help. 

Our Beau boy is strong, courageous and resilient and while we still have some challenges, we look back with such admiration and love for those who were on this journey with us. He’ll be three in September, and while he’s still small in size, he really packs a punch, keeping up with his peers, bossing us around and getting into mischief. Beau and his big brother Franklin welcomed another prem into our family late in 2023, their sister Rey, born at 34 weeks, a whole new chapter to add to our families journal x

Thanks so much for sharing your personal story.

We get a lot of positive feedback from families in a neonatal unit who read these stories and feel strength, hope and positivity knowing that they are not alone going through these experiences and feeling certain emotions.

If you would like to discuss sharing the story of your neonatal journey, we’d love to hear from you. Please email

If you want to help our support of families going through the stress and anxiety of a neonatal journey, you can donate here.

  • The Little Miracles Trust provides support to families of premature or sick full-term babies as they make their journey through Neonatal Intensive Care, the transition home, and onwards. We do not receive any Government funding and are entirely reliant on the generosity of individuals, companies and organisations in the form of donations, value-in-kind donations, grants, sponsorship and fundraising events to supplement operating costs and fund our services and initiatives.
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