Pregnancy and baby

'His smile is the best start to the day'

Mohammed Jhangir, 35, lives in Bradford with his wife, Saima. Their son, Qais, is two and a half years old and was born prematurely. Here Mohammed talks about how they coped.  

Qais, aged two, with his dad Mohammed

Qais, aged two, with his dad Mohammed

"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 and 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."

Feeling scared 

"I panicked when Saima started bleeding at 18 weeks. It was like a dream being shattered, and I just didn't want anything to go wrong. But I had to put on a brave front because I knew Saima was worried and scared and she would only feel more so if she saw me in a state.

"When, a few weeks later, the doctors said that our baby was going to be born at 25 weeks, I was very scared. I wondered how the baby could survive. I even wondered if the baby would be fully formed or not."

The birth

"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. Qais looked too small and fragile. His skin was so thin and you could see all the blood vessels."

Holding our baby

Mohammed holding Qais in hospital

Mohammed holding Qais in hospital

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

"I thought that it would be dangerous if a wire was pulled out, or that I'd not hold him properly and accidentally hurt him. I didn't hold him until he was eight weeks old, even though Saima was holding him before that and telling me that it was fine.

"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 and I just wished she was there to see how perfect and beautiful my son was.

"I held Qais quite rigidly at first I think, as Saima and the nurse, Leanne, kept telling me to relax! I was holding him against the skin of my chest, and I just wanted to make sure he was comfortable. Holding him felt perfect. I couldn't stop looking at him and watching every tiny move. I was in awe."

Life in hospital

"We spent four months in hospital, and the doctors and nurses in the neonatal care unit were absolutely amazing. They cared so much, 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 to cope was having Saima there. It's so good that we have the sort of relationship that we have, because when one of us is distressed the other calms them down and vice versa. It was also helpful to talk to the other parents of babies who were going through the same thing, as it would give us a good perspective of things that were new to us.

"Saima and I would go home at the end of each day and reassure each other, and talk about the positive things, such as anything new that Qais had done that day. I remember one day when we talked for hours saying that 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."

Our new arrival comes home

"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.

"Qais is two now 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.

Small Wonders is a campaign by the charity Best Beginnings to help and support parents who have a baby in neonatal care. Saima, Mohammed and Qais were filmed for the Small Wonders campaign during their time in the neonatal unit.

Page last reviewed: 04/06/2014

Next review due: 04/06/2016


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