Your pregnancy and baby guide'His smile is the best start to the day'

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*Mohammed Jhangir lives in Bradford with his wife, Saima. Their son, Qais, was born prematurely. Here Mohammed talks about how they coped.  *

"I was over the moon when I first found out that Saima was pregnant.

"I had always dreamed of having a family and I couldn't have found anybody better than Saima to start a family with.

"Seeing our baby on the scan was magic. There was this little life we had created. Suddenly all my life and energy became focused on this one little being.

"I painted the nursery. I also bought the little babygrows, a pair of mittens and a tiny hat. Saima cried when I showed her them."

'I had to put on a brave face'

"I panicked when Saima started bleeding at 18 weeks. It was like a dream being shattered. I just didn't want anything to go wrong.

"I had to put on a brave face because I knew Saima was worried and scared. She would only feel more so if she saw me in a state.

"When, a few weeks later, the doctors said our baby was going to be born at 25 weeks, I was very scared. I wondered how the baby could survive."

'Doctors took him away straight away'

"I was with Saima through the whole labour and birth. It was amazing when Qais was born, but upsetting when the doctors took him away straight away.

"I could see him with the doctors huddled around him trying to intubate him. He looked so small, but perfect. I loved him from the minute I set eyes on him.

"Saima was panicking and she started crying. I could see she was distressed and just wanted to hold him. I thanked her for giving me a beautiful baby boy and tried to reassure her, even though I was terrified myself."

'I just wanted to hold and protect him'

"From the start I just wanted to hold him and protect him, but we couldn't. We weren't able to hold him until he came off the ventilator a week later.

"Even then I couldn't do it. Saima was a lot more confident than me – all the wires and beeping frightened me.

"I didn't hold him until he was eight weeks old. The day I held him was magical – I could have sat there with him forever.

"That day upset me, too, as my own mum passed away when I was younger. I just wished she was there to see how perfect and beautiful my son was."

'The doctors and nurses were amazing'

"We spent four months in hospital, and the doctors and nurses in the neonatal care unit were absolutely amazing. They were friendly, optimistic and yet realistic.

"We couldn't have coped as well without their support. Honestly, we could never repay them for what they did for us.

"During those months, one thing that helped me cope was having Saima there. It's so good that we have the sort of relationship that we have. When one of us is distressed the other calms them down, and vice versa.

"It was also helpful to talk to other parents who were going through the same thing. It gave us a good perspective on things that were new to us.

"Saima and I would go home at the end of each day and reassure each other. We'd talk about the positive things, such as anything new that Qais had done that day.

"We agreed no matter what came our way, we would do anything to give our little boy all the love we had in our hearts and the best possible life."

'I was so proud, showing him off'

"Bringing Qais home was an amazing feeling. We had almost been too scared to imagine what this day might feel like.

"I was so proud, showing him off to everybody. My father-in-law commented that he had never seen me so happy since the day I got married!

"When we were finally alone at home, we had Qais lying down between us before he went into his Moses basket, and all we could do was look at him and cry. Then we would tell each other to stop crying, and then we'd start crying all over again.

"It was like somebody had taken all the happiness in the world and given it to us."

'He's growing every day'

"Qais is two now [at the time of interview] and he is amazing. His smile is the best start and finish to each day.

"He is growing every day, and with every day he brings a new joy to our lives. He has some developmental delay – for example, he isn't walking – but things like that don't bother us.

"We are lucky that we have our son with us, and he is truly amazing. He has taught us the most valuable lesson in life – to realise how fragile and short life is, and to fill our lives with love and optimism."

You can read about Saima's experience in Premature baby: mum's story.

Page last reviewed: 19/04/2016
Next review due: 19/04/2019