World Prematurity Day (WPD) takes place today (17 November) and is a global movement to raise awareness of premature birth and the sometimes devastating impact it can have on families.
For every 13 babies born in the UK, one baby is born premature. Each neonatal experience will affect families differently.
The colour purple has come to stand for WPD because it symbolises sensitivity and exceptionality.
Today, Walsall’s Neonatal Unit (NNU) celebrated the day by wearing a purple item and decorating the environment in purple with cakes for parents and staff.
One mother who was also celebrating with staff was 25-year-old Lauren Emms.
Carer Lauren who is from Darlaston had baby Hugo when she was 26 weeks pregnant.
Baby Hugo who is currently eight weeks old and is an inpatient on the unit weighed just under 2.5lbs when he was born.
The reason for his premature birth was because Lauren had a water infection.
She said: “Usually you know when you have a water infection but I didn’t know until I was in labour. I had to be rushed into theatre to have a C-section. It all happened so quickly! It felt surreal.
“After he was born he had to go to New Cross for five and half weeks while I stayed in hospital for three days. I was able to see him before he left but during that time I had no contact which was difficult.”
When asked about what advice she would give to other parents the mother-of-two said:
“Even though it is a really hard experience and you may even have trouble with things like sleeping and eating, you must try and stay positive and think good thoughts.”
Lauren also had nothing but praise for all the staff working on the NNU.
She said: “The staff are amazing, they really know their stuff when it comes to babies so I felt I was in safe hands. They made my experience really good and were so supportive.”