'I thought she'd never come home': Mum gives birth three months early

Laura Watling and Dan Green met their baby girl at 30 weeks at Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital. 

Laura Watling and Dan Green met their baby girl at 30 weeks at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. - Credit: Laura Watling

At 30 weeks pregnant, the last thing Laura Watling expected was for her waters to break. 

The Thorpe Marriott mum gave birth to her 4lb daughter Eloise in June - and then saw her admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for five weeks.

Now first-time mum Miss Watling is looking to pen a book on the trauma she has dealt with as a result of giving birth so unexpectedly, and hopes to support other mums in a similar situation. 

Laura and Dan's baby was in the NICU and Norfolk and Norwich university hospital for 5 weeks.

Laura and Dan's baby was in the NICU and Norfolk and Norwich University hospital for five weeks. - Credit: Laura Watling

She said: “I'd read all the pregnancy books, none of them taught me how to prepare for a premature baby. 

“In the throes of contractions, you’re bombarded with information about the risks to you and your baby.

Laura and Dan's baby girl this weekend, happy and healthy on adventures in Norwich. 

Eloise is now 9lbs and happy and healthy on adventures in Norwich. - Credit: Laura Watliing


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“Gone are the first cuddles and the promised golden hour, my baby was whisked over to an incubator to be resuscitated.” 

For the first seven hours of her daughter's life, she couldn't hold her.

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She went on: “She spent two weeks in an incubator, her cuddles and nappy changes through holes in the plastic.” 

Miss Watling said she and her partner, Dan Green, 32, feared their child may never come home. 

Miss Watling said: “I felt guilt that I couldn’t carry her to full term, and I felt sad that my pregnancy had ended sooner than I expected.

Laura and Dan's baby is now happy and healthy. 

Laura and Dan's baby is now happy and healthy. - Credit: Laura Watling

"You feel like you won’t survive and that it will last forever but somehow, you just do it."

She added that her midwife, Jade-Eloise Course, helped her get through the difficult birth and following month. 

She said: “Jade-Eloise brought my baby into the world. It was fate that her name was Eloise too.

Laura and Dan taking their baby on her first pram walk. The pram was provided by the NICU. 

Laura and Dan taking their baby on her first pram walk. The pram was provided by the NICU. - Credit: Laura Watling

“When I was having contractions, we would just stare into each other’s eyes and that’s how I got through it.”

After more than a month the pair could finally take their baby girl home.

“An equally as daunting prospect, after having been surrounded by the beeps of monitors and the support of the amazing nurses," she said. 

Eloise is now happy and healthy at 9lbs, with her mum getting set to start writing.

Laura and Dan's baby in the incubator at Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital. 

Laura and Dan's baby in the incubator at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. - Credit: Laura Watling

If you would like to support the work at our local NICU, you can do so by donating something from the N & N Hospital Charity Amazon Wishlist

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