Giving birth to a premature baby: a Bristol mum’s story

11753691_983619918325223_2316223656445864211_n[1]Bristol Mum regularly features the real-life stories and experiences of local mums with the aim of informing and supporting readers who are going through a similar experience or who may do so in future.

Today’s post is from Sarah Sole, a mum from Bristol who shares her experience of having a premature baby, a little girl named Lily who was born at 33 weeks in Southmead Hospital. 

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The we found out we were pregnant was absolutely amazing, we couldn’t quite believe the fertility treatment had worked! After 3 years of trying and two IUI cycles we had a little blue line!

Our pregnancy was pretty straightforward to start with, just a few extra appointments due to bring a fertility baby. At 29 weeks I started to get really swollen, I just thought it was normal 3 rd trimester swelling but a friend of mine who hadn’t seem me for a while noticed that the whole of my face had changed shape. I rang the midwife the next day who suggested I go to the GP to get my blood pressure checked. I left work with A level coursework in my bag to mark ( I’m a chemistry teacher) expecting to go back in the afternoon….

My blood pressure was high and I had protein in my urine, my GP was great and didn’t panic me at all by mentioning pre-eclampsia, he just got me to the hospital there and then.

Once in Southmead day assessment ward the doctors started to mention pre-eclampsia and that they would need to give me steroids in case the baby came that day. I was just 30 weeks and burst into tears crying “it’s too soon!” My husband was brilliant and tried to calm me down. I had the steroids and got moved to a ward to wait and see what happened.

To cut a long story short, with lots of medication I managed to keep her in for 3 more weeks whilst staying on a ward in Southmead. It was a very scary and lonely experience but the other women I met and the midwives were great.

On the 31st March my kidneys started to fail and my blood pressure couldn’t be controlled anymore so I was at risk of a stroke. So Easter Sunday 2013 Lily Isabella was born by emergency Caesarean section weighing 3lb 5oz. Our little miracle was here small for her gestation, as she had stopped growing at about 29 weeks but here!

I was very ill for 2 weeks after she was born so I had to stay in hospital, Lily was in NICU so I managed to see her as much as I was allowed.

Once I was discharged I travelled into see her every day with my mother-in-law (my husband’s paternity leave had been used up) and Lily spent a further 3 weeks in NICU (5 weeks in total) She had a very bumpy ride: she stopped breathing, had suspected NEC and infection after infection. However by the 6th of May she was breast-feeding and even though she only weighed 4lb was allowed to come home. Luckily my husband’s work gave him 10 days holiday when she was home and those first few days were amazing finally being a family of three.


Lily has some health issues due to being premature but she is such a happy little thing you wouldn’t know!

My advice to anyone is that Southmead NICU are amazing and if your baby is in there or going to be there they are miracle workers. Also to join a Bliss prem baby support group (there is one in Filton) as it helped me through lots of health issues with Lily and a prem mum really understands another prem mum!

Lily’s mummy xx

Many thanks to Sarah for sharing her experience on Bristol Mum. If you are a Bristol mum or dad who would also like to share a personal experience on Bristol Mum, please email me (Hilary) on