When my son came home from hospital I became convinced I was alone in feeling the way I felt. Without a smartphone and little communication with anyone other than close friends and family, I became a bit lonely.

However since then, sites such as Facebook and Instagram have helped to form online communities for parents to connect with other parents, share common experiences and help them to realise they are not alone.

It is through Instagram that I started following the lovely @tinyandkate, not only a premie parent to 27 weeker Ellie, but also a NICU nurse. In her guest post below, Kate gives her unique perspective on what it is like to work as a neonatal nurse when you’ve been through the experience yourself…

Where do I start with this entry.. put plainly I’m a NICU nurse and a NICU mum, I’ve seen both sides and lived the whole NICU experience.

I love my job, I have only been a qualified nurse for few years and I’m still learning everyday but there’s nothing that quite prepares you for having your own baby in the NICU.

I now feel a bit of a pro at expressing and breastfeeding, I could assemble a pump in my sleep. Monitor sounds now sound like waves from the sea and the phototherapy lights no longer make me nauseous! I’ve learned that new mums cry – like a lot and now it doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable, I’ll probably shed a tear with you.

Empathy is the best skill as a nurse and now I can truly feel their pain! The love and fear you constantly feel until your baby is finalllyyy let home.. then it’s a whole new kind of worry!

Now every baby I nurse I give all my love and treat them as I would my own. Neonates are precious but so strong, they my be tiny but they love a cuddle and interaction, it’s good for their development and physical wellbeing. I promote kangaroo care a lot at work, it’s a wonderful thing for parents and their babies, babies cannot ever have enough love and you can’t spoil a baby!

My baby girl is now 17 months old. She was born at 27+3 weeks and the whole conception (IVF), pregnancy, birth and aftermath I could write books on! I was admitted into hospital at 23 + 5 weeks and there I spent a lot of time pre and post natal.

During my stay I started to knit. I made my baby a blanket and wanted to make something for her to love so I knit a bunny. I used to swap the bunny and a hat as you would with bonding squares and then my idea of Baby Bonding Bunnies began! I now have an Etsy shop and sell handmade gifts for NICU families.

It’s been a tough time but I wouldn’t change a moment. Life throws you many challenges and the best you can do is learn from them and appreciate life for what it is .. the most precious gift, never to be taken for granted.