Today is world prematurity day. This day raises awareness for the hundreds of thousands of babies born early every year.
This year, the day nearly passed me by. The only reason I really remembered is because I do a little volunteer work for the Neonatal Trust, so of course it's on their radar.
This year, I no longer feel like being premature defines Ada, or me as a mother. At nearly two years old she is just a regular toddler with most of the vestiges of her early days left behind. The only times it crosses my mind might be in a conversation about birth, or the early days with a newborn and I'll be reminded of our journey. Or when Ada sees her paediatrician or dietician to check up on her weight and eating.
I can now see what I could never know in those early days: she'll be fine.
That tiny little girl with chicken legs, and see through skin, covered in masks and under a blue light. It all felt like such a nightmare, and now it seems like a distant dream.
That fragile girl is gone and in her place is a rambunctious toddler, full of life and cheekiness, and new words and tantrums and cuddles and love.
And while I wouldn't wish this journey on anyone, I can now see the positives, and the people I've met and the paths I've been on that I wouldn't have been able to without Ada's early birth. It is a privilege and a joy for me to be able to talk to other mothers who are going through this, and to be able to provide a perspective of hope and of 'I understand.'
Here's to World Prematurity Day and celebrating all those families who have 'been there, done that.'