A MOTHER has spoken about the trauma of having a pre-term baby in order to raise awareness of World Prematurity Day.

Anita and Daniel Hyams’ son William was born on June 7, 2017 at 23 weeks and five days, weighing just 1lb 6oz.

Southend Standard:

Tiny - William at 20 days old

Mrs Hyams, 38, from Southend, said she wished she had known “it’s okay to cry” and to need help.

She said: “Life in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is tough.

“Every little step your baby takes in their journey will be emotional.

“Cry happy tears, cry sad tears, just let it out.

“I wish I’d known that Neonatal Intensive Care Unit life is a rollercoaster ride.

“Some days I felt helpless. Other days I was doing things for William like changing his nappy, giving feed via a tube or reading a story and he would take my finger with all his might and squeeze it.

“Suddenly I felt amazing. There will be ups and downs, but remember just being by their side shows so much strength and courage.”

Mrs Hyams added: “When I saw William for the first time, over 24 hours after giving birth it broke my heart.

“He looked so vulnerable. He was sedated, intubated and on a ventilator in a humidified incubator to stop his skin from drying out.

“His skin was almost translucent and looked red raw and his eyes were fused shut because he wasn’t ready to see the world. William’s life at the start was very rocky.

“There was so much to take in from the very beginning.”

Sunday, November 17 marks an international event to raise awareness of the impact premature births can have on families.

The campaign, supported by the Sick Children’s Trust and charity Bliss, is asking families what they wish they had known in order to help others going through a similar experience.

The family, including daughters Olivia, nine and Marion, six, were helped by the Sick Children’s Trust which gives families with a seriously ill child in hospital a comfortable place to stay and a friendly ear to listen in one of ten “homes from home”.