‘I was daunted!’ Ben Mee opens up on his experience of the premature birth of his daughter

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Little Olive was born weighing just 1lb 2oz in May 2020 after his wife Sarah went into labour at around 24 weeks. Burnley captain Ben, 32, said: “We had to wait five hours to see her, which felt like forever. And because of Covid restrictions in hospitals we could only visit one at a time. “Sarah got so emotional she collapsed, which was tough because I wanted to look after her as well as Olive. “Seeing how tiny she was, all the wires, tubes, beeping monitors, was overwhelming and scary.”

“I felt so daunted, just sitting by the incubator, not knowing what to say or do. Holding her for the first time was nervewracking, but the care team reassured me she was sturdier than she looked.”

Olive needed blood transfusions and a ventilator to breathe and spent almost two months receiving specialist care at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Manchester. She was then transferred to their local hospital in Wythenshawe for three months before the couple were finally able to bring her home to meet brother Jaxon, three.

Earlier this year, Ben and Sarah received the good news that she no longer needed to use oxygen tubes. Star Ben has today teamed up with pregnancy charity Tommy’s to raise awareness of premature births for World Prematurity Day.

He said: “It’s difficult to mentally process everything you go through when your baby is born too soon, which is why I’m so passionate about campaigning with Tommy’s to help other families.

“If we can predict more premature births, hopefully we can prevent them, or at least give families the support they so desperately need. We searched for positive stories and struggled to find anything. So now we want to be that source of hope for someone else.”

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