World Prematurity Day: A tale of two mothers

Katarzyna Kolenda with Antony, age 6 months

Katarzyna Kolenda with Antony, age 6 months - Credit: Archant

To mark World Prematurity Day yesterday, we spoke to two mums about their experience of a premature birth.

Katarzyna Kolenda with Antony, age 6 months

Katarzyna Kolenda with Antony, age 6 months - Credit: Archant

Sarah’s story

When Sarah Hasler’s daughter Hallie was born at 27 weeks, all she could do was take each day as it came.

Now Hallie is just like any other 14-month-old, full of personality and life.

“I came in because I had a bit of bleeding, and I was told I was in labour,” said Sarah, 27.


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“By the evening I’d given birth. She was breech, and she came out with her legs all black from bruising.”

Katarzyna Kolenda with Antony, age 6 months

Katarzyna Kolenda with Antony, age 6 months - Credit: Archant

Baby Hallie was whisked away to the neonatal care unit, where she stayed for 10 weeks.

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Sarah was in there every day.

“The staff were great, I couldn’t fault them,” she said.

“I became good friends with some of the nurses, which was nice as it can get quite lonely if you’re the only one in there.”

Although Sarah was able to take her maternity leave early, Hallie’s premature arrival meant she was born before Sarah and her partner Liam Staines’ planned move from East Ham to South Ockendon could take place.

“When we were told we could take her home, we were able to stay overnight with her in the hospital for a couple of nights beforehand,” Sarah explained.

Katarzyna Kolenda with Antony, age 6 months

Katarzyna Kolenda with Antony, age 6 months - Credit: Archant

“It was good to know the nurses were right next door and would help us if we needed it, although we looked after her like we would at home.”

Tiniker’s story

Despite a lot of technological advances since Tiniker Reynold’s daughter Nia was born prematurely 14 years ago, one thing still hasn’t changed.

“Parents are always going to be worried,” she said.

Tiniker is a volunteer for Bliss, coming into Newham University Hospital once a week to offer support to parents in the same situation.

“Sometimes you’ll be speaking to someone and they won’t realise you’ve been in the same situation,” she said.

“Sometimes you feel you can’t talk to your family about it.”

In her role as a volunteer, Tiniker speaks to the parents in the neonatal ward and makes sure they, not just their baby, are ok.

“We’ve bought tea, coffee and biscuits for the parents room, because for some people they can’t afford to keep buying a hot drink.

“I ask them if they’ve eaten anything and tell them they should at least have a cup of tea.”

The Bliss volunteers weren’t around when Nia was born but Tiniker says she has had good feedback from parents she has helped.

“Sometimes all you want is someone to talk to,” she said.

“You can’t talk to the doctors because they’re busy, so that’s why we’re here.”

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