In the world of TIN. The world of warriors

by Claudia Ravaldi

A story worth reading today, on the eve of World Prematurity Day.

I’m Marilù, 41 years old (inside many more).

I have three children: Simone (5 years and 4 months), Sara (3 days forever from 21 July 2013) and Marco (3 months and a week).

They are my three children forever. With them I met many realities. Simone was born at 37 weeks with induced delivery, Sara was born at 36 + 4 with a caesarean section and Marco was born with an emergency caesarean at 35 weeks due to rupture of the amniotic sac.

Simone I took him home immediately, but after three days I returned for jaundice (hospitalized in semi-intensive care); Sara was hospitalized in utin for respiratory crisis without having her mother next to her; Marco was hospitalized in utin 60 kilometers from home.

All my children fought, but Sara left me … She too should be remembered … Marco was my re-birth, my rainbow after the storm. Wanted, sought and desired immediately despite the immense pain, fear and caesarean section. I knew his smell after 2 weeks, just as he knew my smell after 2 weeks. With him I met the world of warriors, of crystal children. Yes, pregnancy does not always end with a carrycot that goes out with happy mom and dad … The UTIN world appears surreal right from the start. Everything is aseptic, except love for those little fighters. You know that whoever comes out of there will be a lion forever. These children face the toughest test: to live and earn a living. Next to them are the parents. They too struggle day by day. They live every day with the hope of being able to wrest those long-awaited children from a cruel destiny. Here, even the hours are worth a lot … They go through that corridor every time looking for their lion. And when they leave, they leave their hearts in that same corridor … They hope and wait for the day when they will return home with their baby. They wait and know to finally return with their arms full …

When you enter you already know, however things go, that you will come out different …
The first thing you do is put on footwear and a mask. You cross the corridor, taking a look at your warrior’s cradle.
You enter a room, put on your green coat and wash your hands CAREFULLY.
These are the things that parents of premature babies do before they go to their babies.
Gestures that are ESSENTIAL because life here is fleeting.
Now we are ready to meet our little ones.
And here, the world made of lights, catheters, tubes, alarms, sensors ready to pick up anything “anomalous”, machines for infusing milk or medicines.
You approach the incubator, gently open the two portholes and put your hands in. You try to make contact with that child who you cannot hug, rock and breastfeed.
Through the mask you try to make him hear your voice, but you realize that it is muffled, different from yours … You can’t shout louder, there is mostly silence so that you can hear the various sounds. Gently caress that baby you have desired. You would like to take his sufferings upon yourself. Those needles stuck in his skin pierce your heart.
You are in the condition that you cannot do anything. You just have to WAIT and HOPE.
You also look at the other warriors and cheer for them too … They are all brothers there …
An alarm goes off and you hope it’s not your child’s … No, it’s just the milk that’s gone …
Live in fear that something might happen at any moment …
Half an hour is short, it passes quickly. You would like to stay longer, but the nurse won’t allow it.
Only four times a day …
One last caress … See you tomorrow, my son!
Go into the room, take off your gown and cross the hall. One last look at your warrior …
Go to the neonatologist. It tells you about grams, saturation and any progress. You try to figure out how long you will have to wait before finally bringing it home. And even when you see other mothers who finally come out of that surreal world to experience reality, rejoice for them because sooner or later, perhaps, you too will come out.
You go out, you come home, but only physically …
You hope not to receive phone calls …
Hope to see him again soon …
You hope to go out with full arms …
Hope, hope, hope, hope, hope …

Marco, 35 weeks, 2,560 kg, two weeks in the NICU …
Sara, 36 + 4 weeks, 2,510 kg, two days in utin. And then the phone call “He didn’t make it!” … She also struggled. She was a warrior too. She must be remembered too, with all the love I have.

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