Just a Little Longer: Life After NICU

21/06/2016 11:11 | Updated 21 June 2016

Just a little longer please.

10 weeks early, my little baby, is with us far too soon.
I'd like to keep you safe inside,
Just a little longer please.

The nurse showed me your tiny face, wrapped in a blanket tight.
I reached out to touch your cheek, a mothers instinct strong.
I couldn't touch you as you couldn't stay, intensive care was needed.
I longed to shout as I watched the team whisked you away,
"just a little longer, please!"

Your little eyes were open, when we met in neonatal care.
Terrified I reached inside the incubator walls;
a tangled mess of tubes and wires, stick thin limbs so small.
Your tiny hand gripped my finger tight.
I prayed - fight my baby, fight.


How could I leave my baby?
I am empty now inside.
Emotion overwhelmed me, consumed with grief and loss.
How can I leave my baby - just a little longer please.

6 long days I waited, to hold you in my arms.
Lines and tubes obscured your face, the monitor alarmed.
Ding, ding, ding the ringing went, our time together up.
I whispered to my baby - "just a little longer please."

3 hours became a golden rule, expressing on the clock.
Now we're allowed kangaroo cuddles, time just for you and me.
But once again, three hours are up, is it really pumping time?!
I'd hold you close and feel your warmth, sometimes our only cuddle of the day.
I look to the nurse, she looks to the clock - "just a little longer please".

Weeks and months in neonatal care, our journey has been immense.
You've grown and you are stronger, but my baby you're still so small.
Home we go at eight weeks old, your due date still not reached.


At home we can be together, no monitors or alarms.
For the first time in forever I begin to be your mum.
I feel the pain we've been through, I stop to take a breath.
I realise now, what other NICU mums will know, my journey has just begun.

More hospital trips and appointments,
Corrected age explained.
Coughs and colds take their toll on little preemie lungs.

My boss has started calling, return to work is near.
My maternity leave is over, but please it's just too soon.
We're only now just bonding and my nerves are much too frail.
It can't be time to say goodbye, please just a little longer.
Just a little longer please.

First published on The Smallest Things website, campaigning for premature babies and beyond.
The Smallest Things is campaigning for mothers & their premature babies to be able spend more time together after neonatal intensive care. You can sign their petition to extend maternity leave for mothers of babies born too soon here.