Why I'm Shaving My Head for Charity (Seriously)

So there I was, 28 years old, and expecting my first baby. I was very excited, and a little bit nervous, naturally. 

I'd have a home birth. Or maybe one in a cosy tub filled with warm water with twinkly music playing on a CD and candles. That would be nice. 

But there was a point, when I was 28 weeks pregnant, as I was being hurriedly daubed with antiseptic and placed onto an operating table with a light shining in my eyes and a needle about to go into my hand, while nurses rushed about, barking orders, scrubbing themselves up - when I thought that something obviously hadn't quite gone to plan. 

I'd developed HELLP Syndrome, a serious condition that can develop (although it is rare) in some pregnancies, where the liver stops working properly and you don't have any platelets in your blood. It's kind of a race against time to operate while your blood can still actually clot. As it turns out, I was having an emergency Caesarian to try and save mine and my daughter's life. The surgeon later told my husband that I was 'hours' away from dying. Scary stuff.

So anyway. Unbeknownst to me, my daughter was born - tiny, blueish and weighing just 941 grams - while I was wheeled over to intensive care. I woke up the second day. 

I was released from hospital about a week later, on strict orders to rest. 

My daughter stayed in for the next 3 months. 

It was difficult. We'd get to go in and change her nappy, hold her swathed in big bundles of blankets (if she was up to it) and we learned how to feed her through her nasal gastric tube. We learned what all her SATS meant on the machines that beeped and flickered above her incubator. The nurses at the hospital were INCREDIBLE. They made sure to allow us to bond with her as much as was possible. 

Sometimes things weren't so good. We'd arrive to see her and then be stopped in the corridor and asked to wait in the waiting room while emergency doctors worked on her. The phone might ring in the middle of the night. We always feared the worst. Which is where Bliss comes in to the story. 

Bliss are a charity that support the parents of premature babies with information, a helpline and through their forums, they helped put us in touch with other parents we could talk to. It meant so much not to feel like we were alone in this. They also work to raise awareness of aspects of prematurity, and work with hospitals to help parents bond with the babies as much as they can, rather than feel like they're in a plastic box and unreachable. By 2020, Bliss aims to recruit 28 Bliss nurses - one for each region in the UK. I used Bliss quite a lot when my daughter was young. She's ten years old now. And so now I want to give something back. 

So I'm shaving all my hair off to raise money for Bliss, so that they can support other parents going through similar situations to ours. 

And that's not everything. 

When my locks are cut off, they'll be donated to The Little Princess Trust, which is an organisation that provides wigs to children who have lost their hair through cancer treatment. 

So that's it. If my story resonates with you in any way, then I'd love it if you'd support me, either by donating (seriously - 50p would make my day) or by sharing this post. The people at Bliss do incredible work and they helped me keep a sense of sanity while my world was turned upside down. I'd love to help give a little something back. 

Oh, and you'll get to see me with a shaved head. That's got to be worth 50p, right?