Matilda's monthly progress

12 Months

Our Miracle Matilda is One Today!


At 8.42am on 25th April 2018, she decided she was coming whether we were ready or not. She wasn’t due for another 14 weeks, but doing things by the book has never been the Cotton family forte.

If I sound glib, it’s because describing the unvarnished reality of extreme prematurity is tough. It’s giving birth without the certainty of sustained life. It’s fearing sleep because the last three consecutive nights have seen you wrenched from slumber before dawn, told by doctors to prepare for the worst. It’s aching to hold and protect your fragile child, but having to wait twelve days, because your touch will do more harm than good. It’s the exasperating logistics of living in a hospital for over 100 humid summer days, during which you have never spent a moment alone with your own flesh and blood.

Motherhood is a world away from what I had envisaged, yet I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Matilda’s first few months were a steep uphill struggle, but having her home in good health and bonding with her on our own terms makes it wholly worth it.

Nothing fazes our sunny, sweet-natured daughter – she has an unquenchable thirst for life, taking anything and everything in her stride. Without her grit and determination, she wouldn’t be here today, let alone thriving – her consultant finds it remarkable that she hasn’t had a single readmission since leaving hospital nine months ago.

Watching her eyes spark with recognition and her face light up each morning as I lean over her cot fills me with pure joy. John and I are bursting with awe and love for our brave, curious, beautiful Tilda – our little girl with bucket-loads of personality. Here’s to all the milestones conquered and the story yet to unfold …

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