A Premature Dad

by Anton Wills-Eve

November 27th

The story for today is both true and in verse. I have published it before. But it is a tale worth far more than twice the telling. November 17th, was world Premature baby day and as my youngest son was born at only 23 weeks and four days , he asked me to write a poem about what it had been like being a Premature Dad. Many people don’t believe that my wife and I can know so exactly the length of Ben’s gestation, but actually it was easy.

Ill health had prevented us from making love for some eight weeks before the day of his conception so we are in no doubt at all. The only possible doubt is that he might have been  even earlier!

The Life and Love of a Premature dad

On the seventeenth day of October in nineteen ninety

Our baby son was born, but gave mummy no pain.

The birth of a baby, what’s so unusual about that?

Well our Benedict had travelled on an earlier train

Than the one the doctors had forecast for his nativity.

He gestated for only 23 weeks and four days, before

His mummy’s appendix was infected and burst.

I was told they’d both die. Not the future I saw!

As they both were rushed to the operating theatre

I asked the chaplain to be present at Ben’s natal bed.

He was baptised within seconds of living,

And prayers For my darling wife were simultaneously said.

Paediatricians and surgeons worked for four hours

Keeping both of them alive, while expecting their loss.

I had to wait, all alone, for news of my family with only

Hope and faith to sustain me ‘neath the weight of my cross.

After three hours the chief paediatrician told me

“I hope your son will make it, but alas not your wife”.

A nurse sat beside me and then offered to take me

To see my little Ben, less than two pounds of life.

I prayed at his incubator, wired up from head to toe.

Then news of his mother,now in her own private bed.

As I looked at her face, deathly white but still breathing,

Emotion took over, an hour of tears I must have shed.

The hospital was wonderful giving me a bed in her room

So I could flit between both of them just watching how.

They battled their way through our frightening ordeal,

For I knew I could not live without both of them now.

That night I thanked God for each breath they took and

Knew saving both of them was the greatest love I’d ever felt.

From an act of pure loving, with the wife I loved so deeply,

I’d been given a second love overpowering me as I knelt

And blessed all who’d worked so hard and so long

To help deliver another child to our house and our home.

How on earth can anyone believe tiny miracles like mine

Can be left to die, by dry words in a sick legal tome?

For thirteen weeks Ben fought for each breath, and his

Mother had more operations, but who counted the cost

Of saving our son? Visiting him each day was well worth it,

For to be without him now, we knew we’d both be lost.

Last month at the age of twenty four,with two top degrees,

And his heart full of love as they walked down the aisle.

Ben married his Samantha, and I proudly rejoiced as

I saw my love shared by him. It was all in his smile.

Anton Wills-Eve