On July 4th 2016, baby Emily came into the world, 15 weeks and 2 days early. She weighed a mere 540grams and spend 15 weeks in neonatal care over 2 hospitals. She had a relatively easy NICU journey with a few setbacks here and there, but no long lasting affects. As a family we struggled; emotionally, mentally and financially. We ate into our savings because of travel expenses, eating at the hospital, keeping the older one occupied with quick trips into the town centre for a treat. Emotionally we took it one day at a time and once Emily finally came home we had the stress and worry of her getting sick again. I suffered from post traumatic stress and I didn't seek support so all of that has just fed into my already existing anxiety. I still get flashbacks two years on, and I probably will for years to come.
Some families have to travel hours to see their premature baby, some parents have complete emotional and mental breakdowns, some relationships end and some babies don't do as well as Emily did. Some babies come home on oxygen, with ng tubes, or pegs. Some babies have severe developmental delays. Some babies have low immune systems and catch every illness going with endless hospital stays. And some have long term conditions such hip dysplasia or cerebral palsy. From what I now know, every premature baby has a different journey.
I want to explore these different experiences of having a premature baby; not just the effect of prematurity on the child, but on the family - parents, siblings, extended family and even close friends.
I am extremely passionate about the subject. I am also a film maker and media teacher eager to start producing independent documentaries.
This will be my first documentary, which is already deep into planning stages. The working title is Small Babies, Big Journeys. I have families and organisations lined up for interviews to reveal the different aspects of a families life that having premature baby can affect. I will spend time with various children who were premature and explore the different long term conditions they have as well as how it has affected the family over all.
The aim is not to make money, it is to raise awareness! I will enter the documentary into festivals as well as distributing it online. Funds raised through crowdfunding will help me update my equipment and cover travel expenses. All donors will receive a special thank you in the credits.
Thank you all for reading