Seventeen year old Lauren tells us in her own words her experience of growing up after being born extremely premature ….
My name is Lauren and I was born 15 weeks premature in September of 1995 weighing 1lb 13 ounces.
I caught an infection and my weight dropped to its lowest at 1lb 9 ounces. It seems strange that my birthday is in September and should have been in December. I spent the first 3 months of my life in hospital in the intensive care unit. I had chronic lung disease due to being ventilated, a bleed on the brain and an innocent heart murmur but thanks to the special care and help from the neonatal unit at King George’s Hospital I was able to survive and leave their care without any problems.
I live at home with my parents and younger brother in Gidea Park, Essex. I have recently finished secondary school gaining 1 A*, 3 A’s and 8 B’s and am currently halfway through my first year at sixth form where I am studying Mathematics, Psychology, Biology, Chemistry and Critical Thinking at A level.
I have passed my grade 3 guitar exams with merit, and am currently learning to drive and applying for my practical test soon as I have already passed my theory. I have always had the full support from my family and their encouragement has enabled me to believe that anything in life is achievable. Although I have not made my mind up entirely what I would like to do in the future I know that I would like to work with animals in some form, especially ones that are mistreated or ill and am working very hard to reach my goal.
Outside of school I enjoy socialising with my friends, going out for meals and to the cinema. I also work part-time in a clothes shop. I have a real passion for cooking, especially baking cakes and also love skiing. I was fortunate to go on 2 trips with my secondary school in year 10 and 11 skiing in Austria which was very enjoyable and I hope to go again in the future.
I do not believe being extremely premature has affected my life in any way because I am able to do all the things that I want to do.
When I was a baby and small child I didn’t put weight on easily and so was always smaller than my friends but I soon caught up. I have been quite healthy apart from the usual coughs, colds and minor chest infections.
Everyone has always treated me the same and not seen me as different in fact a lot of my friends don’t know how premature I was. But being premature has made me realise how lucky I am to be healthy and has made me appreciate life more.
I have enjoyed being part of the Epicure Study, it makes me feel special, and am looking forward to being called again for the Epicure at 19.