When Victoria lost the waters while I was 19 weeks pregnant, it was not only a shock for me, but it also felt like my world turned into pieces. At that time, I could have given up to the pregnancy, but I chose to have faith and not lose my hopes.

When I was put on bed rest, I could despair missing Maria and my normal life, but I chose to be grateful that Aurora and Victoria have a chance to survive.

When I had to suffer various painful procedures, I could complain and refuse them, but I chose to believe that every great thing requires a sacrifice.

When Aurora and Victoria were born at 28 weeks, I could feel guilty, but I chose to be in peace with myself knowing that I did everything stayed in my forces to keep them in.

When I had to leave them in NICU for eight months, I could feel empty, but I chose to fill my mind with pictures of us reunited.

When Aurora was on respiratory failure, I could crash, but I chose to pray and wait for the best.

When I had to express regularly and suffer for not being able to have the girls at my chest, I could feel exhausted, but I chose to be thankful that I had milk.

When among all the above mentioned, I also had to attend a course and exams, I could see it as another stress factor, but I chose to see it as something that kept me sane.

When I had to see my girls pricked over and over again, I could feel angry, but I chose to keep calm and make sure they know they are not alone.

When Aurora and Victoria came home, I could feel overwhelmed, but I chose to celebrate their achievement and be happy.

The fact that they came home with oxygen and feeding tubes could make me feel inadequate, but I chose to feel powerful.

When girls get to be re-hospitalised, I felt guilty, but I thought I could do things better in future.

When I had to advocate for them, I could feel inferior or shy, but I chose to dare and leave any weaknesses aside.

When Victoria faced feeding aversion, I could have a breakdown, but I chose to be resilient and help her overcome that issue.

When girls were delayed from so many aspects, I could be bothered and compare them with other children, but I chose to see their abilities before anything else.

When they had RSV, I thought everything was lost but they showed us contrary, a lesson that I learnt from.

It still gets hard sometimes, but I look back and think the hardest is gone. May God make it be like that! Thus, seeing things from a positive perspective makes all the difference!


A different kind of Christmas

Christmas is such a special celebration reminding about Jesus`s birth, but also about the reason for His behind it. In our culture, Christmas is about giving glory to Jesus, bringing families and friends together, about traditions and kindness. The last place someone would like to spend such a particular period is in the hospital. However, it happens.

When we found out Victoria`s and Aurora`s due date, which supposed to be 10th of December, we dreamt for a magical Christmas. However, their premature birth forced our family to be in a hospital. They were three months old, still on a lot of respiratory support, cycling between CPAP and Vapotherm, and entirely fed by NG tube. For these, we did not expect them to come home very soon, but rather hoped they would be stable, without any colds or viruses.

It was a pleasant surprise to see the staff getting ready for the celebration and about Santa Clauses` visit, with beautiful presents. Just like the other parents from that hospital, we received a book about the journey of prematurity, a Nivea cream and some soft tissues. The girls received a knitted blanket, Santa Claus toy and a sweet. For Christmas Eve, my husband was in the hospital, and I was home with Maria. We could not get together because of the winter policy. Next day, both my husband and I took the first bus in the morning and went to the hospital. When we arrived, we found Aurora sleeping peacefully and Victoria awake, like she was waiting for us. They were delighted to continue their period of sleep on our chests. Following days turned into same days before Christmas. Same routine, same sleepless nights, same desire for the girls to come home, but more painful knowing they had to spend their first Christmas in an isolation room, without even seeing outside, without a Christmas tree, but most of all, being so sick.

December 2017
December 2017

Throughout those days, we realised that we are not the only ones, that NICU was filled with other parents and their children, some of them sick, some of them too small. We realised that nobody is rich or poor, while in the hospital and that we shared the same feelings. And then we thought that it was girls` first Christmas in hospital, but we prayed and hoped for many to come at home, which was very feasible. However, some families were aware that it was the last Christmas with their loved ones. How could somebody endure that thought?

Now, after two years, Victoria and Aurora are beautiful, clever, though and playful girls, who enjoy and get involved in everything means preparation for Christmas, from decorating the Christmas tree, to cooking or singing carols with their sister. Now, we look back and see our dreams reality, our miracles filling our lives with joy. It felt like they will never get here, but they did, we all did.

Aurora, Maria and Victoria (from left to right)
December 2019

From a NICU parent to all NICU parents being in the hospital now, I would kindly ask you to hold on to your faith, to your hope, to your strength. God never gives more than you can carry. This Christmas might be sad, but it is only one of so many to come yet. It is horrible to see your children unwell, but you would never be happier than when they will get better. After everything goes, you will think that there is nothing in the world your children cannot overcome. Look after yourselves. They need you healthy and strong. Your voices are their encouragement song. Your arms are their whole world. Your smiles are their best treatment. You are all they need for Christmas!

Thoughts for NICU nurses

Dear NICU nurses,

Words would never be enough to express our gratitude for taking care of Aurora and Victoria throughout their journey in NICU, and for helping them grow. Therefore, I will only say ” Thank you!”.

Thank you for teaching me about a different kind of motherhood,

For guiding me on how to do the necessary things for my babies, although they seemed so confusing and difficult to me

For every called answered in the middle of the night and for your reassurance. It was the reason we could have some sleep

For every feed given to our girls

For every nappy changed

For every touch given to them when I was not able to see them having the cannulas and long lines inserted

For answers to the weirdest questions a parent can ask for the first time in NICU

For every photo taken of our babies during the night and the lovely message on the back

For listening when we felt we needed to talk to somebody

For all the encouragements which built our confidence

For showing how special the tinniest babies are

For giving our girls the first baths

For sharing our sorrows in the darkest times and for celebrating with us every little progress, every single milestone

For all the lullabies that you sang to make Aurora and Victoria fall asleep

For every single tape changed on their faces

For mentioning us in your prayers

For the times your hearts almost jumped out of your chests

For those days when being only on tiptoes

For every smile that lit up our day

For hiding your fears away from us

For every tube inserted to our girls

For keeping our hopes alive

For the precision, you gave the medicines with

For teaching us that nurses don’t just give injections, but they are doing so many other essential things, such as saving lives

For sharing with us your beliefs, your traditions 

For helping our babies before we would even think there was something wrong

For being our voice when we could not speak

For keeping in touch and ask about Aurora and Victoria even after we left NICU and

Thank you for your empathy, kindness and dedication!

As parents, we should have done most of these things on our own, in a different way. However, you were there supporting us, making sure we do the right. We have been lucky and honoured to meet and learn something from all of you, but the most important, it was a blessing for Aurora and Victoria that you took care of them.

To all the mothers, with love!

I used to believe that being a mother is something natural, that all ladies will become mums at some point in their lives and that it implies hard work, dedication, and support. I did not know that being a mother makes you experience such a vast variety of feelings, not only towards your children but to the rest of the world.

The beginning of motherhood was scary for me. I used to cry along Maria when she cried; when her umbilical was bleeding; when she had colic; and uncertainty was my best friend. Whether I fed her enough or the way I have put the nappy will be comfortable to her, or what will happen if I will not be able to hear her in the middle of the night, used to make me anxious. However, it did not take a long time until I became confident in looking after her and enjoying every little piece of joy that she used to bring with her smile, with hitting the milestones and becoming a wonderful human being.

Moreover, when I thought that I know something about raising a child, Aurora and Victoria came and showed me how wrong I was. They turned my world upside down and taught me that every single child is different and unique. Also, that a mum needs to adapt to her child, and not to try to fit him in the skills she already detains, in the knowledge she previously acquired, and the most important, to give UNCONDITIONAL love, although the child does not meet her expectations.

The beauty of motherhood is that every day we learn something with our children, and from them. We learn about patience, innocence, kindness, perseverance, forgiveness, about saying what you think, about enjoying the smallest and simplest things, about how to grow inside you and how to stay calm when the storm is approaching. We learn to appreciate and to be appreciated. We learn the importance of sharing. We learn that the most precious gifts are attention, care and affection. We learn to build strong examples and to see the beauty around us. We learn that miracles exist for those who believe and to love ourselves just the way we are, with all our imperfections. I wonder, where else could somebody receive all these lessons and the afferent examples?

After becoming a mother, I completely changed my opinion about my mother. Although I cannot remember myself being disrespectful or rude to her, I felt I could never do enough to pay her back for everything she had to do to raise my brothers and me. I realised how many worries she carried for us, how many things she sacrificed and how precious we are to her. I apologised for every time I thought she loves one of us more than another, for every foolish thing I did and it made her heart jump out of her chest, for every time I did not listen to her, yet she was right. I thanked her for being such a lovely and wise mum, an example I can relate to whenever I am confused, discouraged or tired. Fortunately, there is no lack of inspiration in our family. My grandmother raised 11 amazing children; my mother in law raised ten beautiful children, both in harder circumstances that we could imagine.

Every time I meet a mum, I see her not just like a woman who has a child, but a person who went through a process of intense preparation. I understand all her struggles, and I admire her wrinkles because they hide white nights, her stretch marks because they are a symbol of sacrifice that mums do for their babies, her unkempt look because I know she prioritises her children instead of her. Moreover, I am impressed by the mums who adopt a child as they have the strength to save a life and to dare to love so intensely, like if it was their child. Mum is not only the woman who gives life but also the one who raises a child.

Today, and always, all the mums should feel special and appreciate themselves for what they became! They should not let anything and anybody to make them feel less than they are or to let other`s judgements affect them. They know better how many hard situations they went through and what impact it had on them. They always try to give and to do the best for their children. They are stronger than they think and more beautiful than they see themselves in the mirror. They are the whole world to their children. They are heroines!

Nothing could make prouder, happier and more fulfilled than being a mother. I am grateful to God who sent me this blessing, to my lovely husband who supports me unconditionally and to our daughters who make me feel unique.

Play in NICU (click here to read more)

The play is defined as any kind of freely chosen activity, intrinsically motivated, and personally directed. It is vital for physical and motor development, but also social, emotional and intellectual development.

Play in NICU might be challenging due to baby`s clinical state, which might not be suitable for doing some activities; due to distracting noises, the equipment connected to the baby, the regular procedures that the baby is undergoing or lack of space for keeping the toys. In our case, the play was an issue because Aurora and Victoria had chronic lung disease and they used most of their energy on breathing. However, we tried to stimulate them in a way that wasn’t too demanding and stressful for them.

Apart from talking and singing to them whenever it was possible, we made sure they also had the toys that were suitable for their age and also, recommended by the play therapist and occupational therapist — for example, sensory lights or musical instruments. We even used an application on the telephone for visual stimulation.

Aurora playing with the sensory lights provided by the hospital.

Our play sessions in Nicu represented a great time to bond with the girls, to see their psychological progress and to share smiles, which we enjoyed a lot. If the girls were awake at the same time and in a good mood, we use to put them together on a play mat and observe them, making sure the water from the tubing that belonged to the breathing machine, was not going into their nose.

Aurora and Victoria playing together

Sometimes, we use to put them next to each other in their bouncing chairs and entertain them by playing peek-a-boo, reading a story or show them different toys. We used to facilitate play by putting the girls in a comfortable position, for example making rolls for their head, so they felt their head safe, which also helped with the correction of their head shape. As you know, babies are at risk of plagiocephaly, because of their relatively soft skull.

Play session in NICU

When on the play mat, we use to roll a towel and put it around them to encourage movement, bringing hands together or touching their feet. In term and healthy baby, these things happen naturally, and the parent notices his baby already rolling over and putting his feet in the mouth. A premature infant instead, needs help with the smallest things to build up his mobility, strength and confidence, and play represents the best way to achieve these things.

Once Maria was allowed to visit her sisters, she used to bring her toys so they could play with them and to pretend to be a doctor and treating them. It was fascinating to see how play connects the children and helps them communicate. When she was around, Aurora and Victoria kept watching her and smile, showing they loved her presence.

Maria playing with Victoria

It is important to know that a premature or sick baby has his rhythm to play and parents should respect that and follow it, to make sure the baby is not overstimulated and distressed. Whenever the baby looks overtired, or I pain, he should receive the opportunity to rest and recover, until he shows he is ready to play again. Aurora and Victoria as well, had days when they just wanted to sleep, to be held, and not being interested in any toy or activity and we just listened to them.

Aurora had a period when she was continuously fed via an NJ tube because she got stuck from the breading point of view and doctors considered it would help her lungs if her tummy was empty and the possibility of vomits was reduced, which prevented the aspirations to her lung. The insertion of the NJ tube required a lot of attention, ability, and an X-ray to make sure it is in the right place. During that period, we have been extremely cautious with the way we moved or let Aurora play because nobody wanted her NJ tube to come out, and restricted at the same time by the feeding pump that was pushing the milk.

Aurora having Nj tube.

In conclusion, play in NICU is crucial, although sometimes it is so difficult to achieve. I found it upsetting and stressful to take care of so many tubes and wires; to make sure I do not pull something or harm the girls. I dreamt to the day when I could run in the park with them, let them roll over and lift them to the sky, without any restraint, without any impediment. I desperately wished that freedom, and when it came, it was such a relief.

Thank you for reading!

About family and emotions

What family means to you?

A family is a place where we find support, kindness, love, magic, guidance, joy or sadness and disappointment. It represents the rope that can take us out of the deepest and the darkest places. Also, the crown that crowns every moment of happiness making it unique, special and long-lasting. We all seek family in our hearts, earlier or later in life. We all want to create ‘’family’’ around us and need somebody to rely on, to share our feelings with and to be comforted by.

Being an immigrant means to make the sacrifice to let your family behind sometimes, no matter how painful it is. Some people are apart from their wives or children and count the days until they will be together again. Throughout our journey in NICU, we met so many parents who were alone, without any support, but also, parents who had a bunch of people to welcome their baby, even if it was a very tiny baby. So seeing these people it reminded us how much we missed our families, not only because of the support that could give us but also because they lost the moment of a life coming to the world, a moment that reminds us about GOD`s power and blessing.  However, a family is not about being together and happy all the time, but also to transcend difficult situations. Moreover, is when we are apart we realise what we mean to each other and enjoy, even more, when together.

Aurora and Victoria spent over 230 days in the hospital, and each hospital had its own rules regarding the visiting time, strict rules were applied for siblings to prevent any viruses spread. At UCLH, in NICU, a level 3 UNIT, the winter policy was adopted on 3rd October 2017, so after that time Maria was not able to see her little sisters until spring would come. At Whittington Hospital, level 2 unit, it was adopted on 12th November, but the girls came in on 14th. It was very challenging to manage to be everywhere, and we almost forgot the feeling of being together, because one of us had to look after Maria, and the other one, to be at the hospital. There were days when Maria did not see her daddy as he used to wake up early in the morning to go to work and visit the girls after work. Rarely, we had time to talk face to face.

In the middle of the winter, I got a cold, and I was not able to visit Aurora and Victoria, so my husband had to spend more time at the hospital. Instead, I spend more time with Maria. On a Sunday, I told her that we will go to pick up her dad and will spend the rest of the day together, and she said: ‘’But I do not have a daddy anymore. Daddy stays only at the hospital’’. It was heartbreaking for me to see how much she needed both of us to be with her.

When the doctors asked about Maria, we told them what she felt, so they allowed her to come for an hour to visit her sisters when there were not too many babies at the unit and she did not show any sign of a cold. It was 4th of February 2018, a chilly afternoon when Maria and I came to the hospital. When we got there she asked me: ”Are you sure I can go in?”. She was so curious to see how much Aurora and Victoria have grown, and I was so excited. For an hour we could look at each other, talk and laugh without having to think what are Aurora and Victoria doing, without feeling guilty for being in a place, but not at the other…After a long time, we felt a complete family again. Throughout that hour we recharged our batteries, filled the empty spots in our hearts and collected memories where we could go back any time we wanted to be together again until the spring came, and Maria was allowed to visit again.

Sometimes, the quantity is not as important as the quality. Little things made with love, dedication and loyalty, are precious and unforgettable.

 Also, because every picture tells a story, please find attached some of ours from that day.

Maria, Aurora and their dad.

Maria and Victoria bonding.
Maria, Victoria (left), Aurora (right) and their dad.

All of us…as a family that we are.

Thank you for reading!

Breastfeeding in NICU

Mother`s milk is like a “magic potion” that has a significant effect on baby’s immune system and development. It also represents the best way for a mother to transmit her love to the baby, to bond and to soothe him.

When a baby is born prematurely, a lot of these things change. The mother does not have the opportunity to put her baby to the breast, but instead, the baby is fed through a tube with a syringe. In my case, soon after Aurora and Victoria were born, I was given a syringe and asked to express by hand. I did not understand why it was like that, so I asked, and the midwife told me that in the first days after delivery, the quantity of milk is minimal. Therefore, expressing with a pump might make the precious drops colostrum, rich in vitamins and minerals, to get lost in the tubing of the expressing kit. I followed the instructions, and I regularly expressed to stimulate the lactation. Some moms with premature births might struggle because their body is still not ready for this step.

Expressing by the pump was such hard work. It was sorrowful not to have the girls at my chest. So what I did, was to take something that belonged to them, a muslin for example, and had it close during the expressing sessions. That was helping to stimulate the milk production. Some moms might try to look at the pictures with their babies. I was not able. Whenever I tried, I ended up crying seeing them so little and sick.

Victoria fed by her dad with the syringe

To be able to feed himself, a baby needs to synchronise the sucking, swallowing and breathing. This happens after week 32 of gestation and even later if the infant is facing breathing issues. Aurora and Victoria were fed by UVC and IV in the first days, and OG and NG tubes, once they were able to receive the milk I was expressing for them. It took a long time for them to have the tube out due to the respiratory support they needed.

Victoria being fed by UVC and IV in the first days.
Victoria being fed by UVC and IV in the first days.
Aurora fed by UVC in the first days

At UCLH, I use to express in the expressing room. There was space for four moms at a time, and usually, we use to share our stories and struggles and encourage each other. More common questions were: ”At how many weeks was your baby born?”, ”Do you have other kids?”, ”What do you do to produce milk?”, ”For how long are you in NICU?”. All the expressing kits were for one use only. That was to reduce the spread of possible infections. The pump was cleaned before and after use by the moms, and every day by the staff of the hospital. Nonrecyclable bottles were provided, and the milk was kept in the hospital’s fridge, labelled with the name and the expressing date and hour. The nurses use to keep the amount of fluid necessary to feed the babies in the refrigerator that was in the nursery, and the rest of the amount was stocked in the freezer.

Once transferred to Whittington Hospital,  Aurora and Victoria were put in the isolation room because of the virus they had, CMV. I use to express in the same place. There was a pump only for me and bottles at discretion. Also, I had the opportunity to sterilise the kits.

At home, I expressed with a manual pump, filling the bottles from the hospital. Because I had much milk, I use to put it in the freezer. The bottles were taking much space, and I also used the milk bags, easy to find in any pharmacy. The milk can stay frozen for six months at home, and three months at the hospital. I manage to produce it for almost, four months, for both Aurora and Victoria. Maybe I could do more, but travelling to the hospital, being under pressure and stressed all the time, waking up during the night, use to make me lose weight, energy and I became exhausted.

After the girls had all my milk, they had the formula. From the very beginning, they did not tolerate it well, so the team that took care of them changed many types of milk, until the dietitian decided they should have the amino acid formula. It is a kind of milk with very broken proteins, usually given in cases of allergy to cow’s milk. It has a horrible taste and smell. After they were one year old, we gradually changed the PURAMINO with a goats milk formula, called NANNYCARE. Initially to number 1, and after, number 2 and they still consuming it.

The amino-acid formula
The formula that Aurora and Victoria had been on after they turned 1 year old

I can not stress enough the importance of mother’s milk for a baby, moreover, for a premature infant. Preemies do not have a strong enough digestive system to tolerate the formula. Mom’s milk is easy to digest, protects the baby against bacterias and infections and makes him thrive better than any other food or supplement in the world.

Source: Pinterest

Learn from the tiniest

“It is health that is the real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.“ said Mahatma Gandhi. However, sometimes it might take longer to realise it is true.

Preemies are very fragile, without strong organs to make them capable to survive by themselves, and with a weak immune system that does not help them to fight with the viruses and infections that are around.

It was a Monday, and Aurora and Victoria were two weeks old when a nurse called and said that Aurora’s right lung collapsed and she had to be intubated again. It was terrifying to think that something terrible could happen. After specific investigations, the doctors told us she has sepsis — a dangerous infection. For a preemie, even a mild infection is life-threatening. Everybody said that the journey through NICU is with ups and downs, and we had to get used to it. Aurora was treated with antibiotics, and we hoped she would get better, but unfortunately, she did not. She kept being very poor and her breathing was getting worse each day. The doctors tried different antibiotics, but nothing showed to beat the infection. She was still intubated, in 100% oxygen and nitric oxide, to help dilate the blood vessels in the lungs. It was devastating to see her puffy, with a changed colour and all covered by wires.



After doing further investigations, the doctors discovered that additionally to sepsis, Aurora also had CMV. All these things damaged her lungs dramatically. The doctors use to say she had “baggy lungs”, which means they did not have the shape of proper lungs. During this period, we experienced the feelings of helplessness, despair, pain. It was heartbreaking letting her in the hospital, not knowing if next time we will come she will still be alive. One night, around 2 am, the doctor who took care of her, called us and said that, again, she was very sick and they had to put a cannula in her head. At some point, she had all the medicine that she could have, everything could be done for her was done. We could only pray and hope for another miracle. The doctors told us she might not survive, and if she does, she will need a tracheostomy to help her breath. I was so scared thinking that we might lose her, after such a difficult time, after all the battles she already won. Nothing could console me. I just wanted her to live, with a tracheostomy, or with anything else. I would have done and given anything if something could make her better. At that time, I realised that there are situations when it does not matter the social class, education, background or any achievement. I understood what other parents who have terminally ill children feel. I could imagine what parents who lost their children think.

20181215_222208 (1)

We received very much support from the staff at this time and also, excellent advice that went to my heart, and I always followed. One of the doctors, told me to talk to Aurora as much as possible, because, although she is so sick, her brain is growing continuously, and she needed to hear people talking, not only the machines alarming. Before that, I just cried and suffered seeing her like that. She did not even want to be touched. If I was putting my hand on her, the saturation level was going down. So I started to talk…about what I felt at that time, about how much I wished she could survive, about anything came to my mind…and sing, new songs, old songs, any song I thought I know, even if I could not remember the words. Same did my husband and our daughter.


After 33 days of being intubated, Aurora started to improve. We all have been surprised and amazed by her will to live. She was just 1.5 kg and had an immense strength. I felt so proud when the staff was coming to congratulate her for coming off the nitric, the ventilation and morphine. NICU is a place where the smallest progress is celebrated, and we had great people around who shared both our sadness and happiness. Later on, a nurse that often took care of Aurora, said that: “She is such a little miracle. I have rarely seen a baby fight so hard.”.

On the other hand, Victoria was intubated for 23 days, but quite stable. She also had CMV, even higher number of copies than Aurora, but it did not do any harm to her; therefore, it did not require treatment. She had steroids to help her come off ventilation, but they did not help. Her lungs needed to grow more. After two trials, she managed to stay on biphasic and then CPAP.

After they were clinically better, I could finally cuddle both of them, at the same time. Soon after, they were moved to Whittington Hospital, our local hospital, on 14th November 2017. We were unfortunate to say goodbye to the great team that worked so hard to keep our girls alive. However, just like in any other situation, we needed to adapt to changes.


I am sure that every person, at some point in life, is passing through a difficult moment. Weather is economic problems, familial or career. However, as long as you are healthy, nothing is lost, because you can get up when you fall, fight, and try thousands of solutions that can take you where you dream to be.

Sweet, sweet cuddle

Our first cuddle with Victoria and Aurora is unforgettable. Aurora was doing very well in her early days in NICU. Despite being so little, she was such a lovely baby extubated after one day, sucking on the dummy and complaining whenever she did not like something. She had her first cuddle with her daddy, snuggle and comfortable. Next days I had one too. It was a unique feeling having her on my chest, with my hands covering her entire body. I was so happy to have her and sad that she was so little.  Victoria instead was a bit poorer, but still beautiful with big eyes and much hair. She was still intubated and having the recession when breathing. We have been worried about her but hoped for the best. She also had a cuddle in the first days, and again, it was a particular moment. Maria, the big sister, could not wait to meet the babies. We were a bit hesitant about bringing her or not to the hospital, but her desire to see them won. Later on, she played with a baby toy at the nursery and had put it in a microwave toy saying that he needs to grow.

Our first two weeks at NICU represented a process of adaptation to the environment, to the many machines, wires and noises that were there.  We got used to everything, except to see our babies having painful procedures, such as blood gases, cannulation, inserting long lines or eye tests. In the beginning, I was not able to look until I realised that they need me to be there and hold my hand on them. Aurora used to cry, making quite sounds. Victoria was not able to. I could see the expression on her face and the tears. I always cried for both of them inside me. I kept asking myself how can they take it, what they feel and what they think about the people who use to do those procedures over and over again. However, I knew they were essential to keep them alive.


It is challenging to see your baby tiny, sick, not being able to take care of him and let it in the hospital when who had to leave. It the beginning you feel like you want to move to the hospital and be with your baby 24h a day until the reality hits you and you realise that you have other kids to take care of, that you have to go to work sometimes, and that is not even indicated to be always there. What my husband and I did, was working in a team, sharing the responsibilities, and doing our best when in hospital. I remember one of the moms who already spent much time in NICU, told me that the most important thing I could do is to get to know my babies. This way I would be able to follow their progress, notice any changes that could be a sign of something going wrong and help to prevent it. Despite doing a fantastic job, doctors and nurses will have to change shift, but parents are there every day.

Other advise that we received was to take care of our self and ask for help when needed. It is imperative that parents do not forget they are human beings and try to sleep, eat and drink. Every journey throughout NICU is different. Some babies stay longer, some shorter, and parents need to be with their babies. We stayed in NICU 233 days with Victoria, and 267 with Aurora. In this time, one of us was every day at the hospital. Moreover, when home, the first thing in the morning and the last in the evening, was to call the hospital and ask how are they doing. We used all our physical and psychical resources, and we were not allowed to get unwell.

Help is a critical word in the journey of prematurity. Parents should ask for any help they need. Weather is breastfeeding, language difficulties or psychical support. That is because they should use all their energy to help their baby thrive, not to struggle with any other things. Moreover, people who know parents with premature babies can help them in different ways. Weather is taking care of their other kids, dropping them off or picking up from school, sharing their dinner or just encouraging them. Everything is welcomed and is one worry less to know that you can appeal to somebody when you get stuck. What they should not do, in my opinion, is ask when the baby will come home. Nobody can predict this and asking it all the time makes the parents frustrated.

My husband also has some thought for parents with premature babies, apart from getting involved in their care, to collaborate with hospital staff — also, the most important not to lose their faith in God as there is where the real help comes.

I am very curious how was your first cuddle with your baby, whether he was premature or term baby. Leave a comment with your special moments. Please, make sure your comment is friendly and does not offend anyone.

Thank you for reading!


Surpassing my limits

How far do you think we can go when we want to achieve something? I was always reserved for doing some things, just because I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle them from some point and I will fail. For example, talking in public. Problems with my second pregnancy made me overcome this mentality and “walk on a wire”, pushed me to look straight, to hold the equilibrium and not give up until I do not get to the end.

I am a very active person, and I love being busy. Being on bed rest was like cutting my wings.  I spent almost nine weeks in the hospital. I was based at Antenatal Care, at University College London Hospitals, sharing the ward with ladies who were about to give birth. Maria, our eldest daughter who was three years old at that time, use to visit me during the weekend and face time the rest of the days. It was incredibly hard being apart from her, and answering her clever question: “Mommy, why are you in the hospital? When are you going to come home? When are you going to get better? Why is the lady crying? When will the babies come?”. I kept doing small steps, just like on the wire, from one day to another. Every passing day was such a significant achievement, and I thanked God for it.

At 24 weeks, the doctors were ready for the babies to come. I had a course of steroids to help the maturation of their lungs, a neonatal doctor came to talk to me and helped me understand what was going to happen, I even went to visit Neonatal Unit, not to have a shock when seeing them. During my visit, I met a baby boy of 26 weeks, weighing around 700g. It was such a bizarre feeling to see him. I did not know how to react, what to say or to do. I already did a research on the internet, and Isaw various photos with premature babies, but it could not compare to seeing a real one. I went back to Antenatal Care and prayed for at least a few more days without giving birth.

I received so much encouragement from the staff, and especially from my husband, who was incredibly supportive and loving. However, the most important, I was motivated by my strong girls. They did not want to come yet, and I was not allowed to do something that could make it happen. The beauty of everything was that I could hear their hearts at least four times a day. That was because anytime, Victoria’s heart could stop, due to fewer fluids.

 I was not even thinking to the outside world, except to my family. I used all my energy to carry on with the pregnancy. I also drank a lot of water and it really made a difference. I amazed myself. I could never imagine my person so strong, so focused, able to cope with such high stress and pressure. I learnt that we never know our limits if we do not test them. We never know how strong we are, until we are not pushed to be so.

At 26 weeks and four days, Aurora lost the water too. I started to be very worried. Because she had quite enough fluids, she kept the womb enlarged, this way Victoria also had a chance. They could not stay in for too long now. At 27 weeks and three days, I started to have contractions was moved to Labour Ward. Again, everybody was getting ready to receive the girls. I had another course of steroids, a sequence of magnesium, which helps the prevention of brain bleeding in premature babies, and also slows down the contraction. It did so in my case. A neonatal doctor came to speak again to me, even the anaesthetist. I remember there was a very kind midwife who`s sister gave birth to twins at 27 weeks and 3 days. She said it was difficult, but they grew up so beautiful.

I spent five days at Labour Ward, permanently connected to the monitoring. During this time, I had numerous painful procedures, contractions, and so little sleep. Maria came to see me on Sunday and she was worried when she saw me. I was exhausted. Dr consultant came next day, and he decided that the girls have to come out.

It was Monday, 18th September 2017 when they were born via C- section, at UCLH. At 12:47, baby Victoria came out.2 minutes later, baby Aurora, who even cried. I did not have them at my chest, as it happens with other babies. They went straight to the neonatal team, which did a fantastic job. Weeks after, they told us it was quite challenging to stabilise them. I felt so relieved, and I hoped the girls will do well. Their weight was very encouraging: 990g for Aurora, 1139 for Victoria. It sounds so little, but for their age, it was a good one. I went to the nursery where they were. I could not see much, as they were covered by the wires and the tubing that kept them alive. But, everybody reassured me they were fine.

Next time, I am going to tell you how many things we had to learn again. beginning with how to take care of our babies, but also, of ourselves.