The Neonatal Unit

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

Precisely one year ago, after a gruelling uphill struggle, Tilda was finally well enough to come home from NICU. Today, we revisited the unit to take part in a Q&A session with some parents of newborn preemies. If we were able to bring them even a sliver of hope, then it was a morning well spent.

We also encountered many of the doctors and nurses who saved Tilda’s life – it was an emotional reunion and it felt wonderful to share her progress with them. Mercifully, Tilda won’t remember a moment of her time in hospital but in their words, she was in there for so long she became somewhat of a celebrity!

It’s the little things that spark memories of last summer for me – the scent of pears, now forever synonymous with the shower gel I used in the patient hotel. The same three songs on incessant repeat as the radio blared in the milk expressing room. Even now, when my phone rings unexpectedly my heart flies into my mouth, expecting one of the many 4am calls I received urging me to come to Tilda’s bedside immediately … only for me to realise she is safe in my arms, beaming and trying to stick her finger up my nose.

As a mum to a wriggly rambunctious one-year-old it’s rare to have time to sit and reflect, but doing so today has made me appreciate just how bloody lucky I am.

Matilda's monthly progress

15 Months

It’s so hot that Mum’s brain is frazzled, so I thought I’d hop on her Facebook to give my 15-month update – after all, I’m used to the heat after spending the first 107 days of my life in a neonatal unit.

I’ve learned to clap and I enjoy practising my new skill whenever I can. It’s especially fun when I’m eating – strawberries look so jazzy when they’re splattered up the walls.

The audiologist says it’s encouraging that I’m responding to music. I love to shake my maracas and my tambourine in time to the beat.

I’m a joyful ball of curiosity who relishes being outdoors. I have bucketloads of energy and I’m rarely ready for bed before midnight. It’s just as well that my parents are night owls.

Monday marks a year since my due date – my second first birthday. It’s also the first day of Dad’s summer holiday, meaning five entire weeks with me. We have so many adventures planned, the kind we could have only dreamed about this time last year when I was in hospital. Now, that’s definitely something to clap about.