Meet my Wonder Woman daughter
You may not know that my eldest daughter gave birth to her daughter when she was 25 weeks and 2 days pregnant.
One minute she’s preparing for childbirth classes and the next she’s in hospital having her first baby.
Dottie weighed a mere 845 grams, less than a bag of sugar, and has been through so much already in her short 10 months on earth.
And so have her parents.
As have the rest of the family, but from afar – in our case it’s from the other side of the world.
Bliss and Life’s Little Treasures
Melanie made contact with Bliss, a UK charity for babies born premature or sick, while she was in NICU in Bristol. I remember seeing volunteers coming around and talking to the parents as they huddled over the cribs of their babies, looking shellshocked at what had happened to them.
In Australia I made contact with a similar charity Life’s Little Treasures and went on to raise money for them in the annual Walk for Prems last year with my husband, another daughter, her husband and their baby daughters – we were Team Dottie!
Melanie was asked to write a post about friendship within NICU and I am so proud of her honest and moving article, which you can read in full here. But here are a few short excerpts from her post.
When few people outside neonatal units can easily understand your experience, Melanie describes how uniquely strong friendships can develop between the parents inside them.
I met a few mums and dads in our fourteen weeks on the unit, but became really close to four.
The five of us got to see the incredibly tender moments of those first few weeks and months of having a child. We saw each other at our lowest and most scared. Often you don’t let your family see that side of you, let alone people who you have just met. But these women were there for me day and night when the visitors had left, when I was sitting there digesting the updates from the doctor’s rounds or when I was dancing with my baby to the radio in the middle of the night. They didn’t have to ask me anything – they already knew what I was thinking and feeling. They were me.
My family and friends were an amazing support but I’d always need to explain to them the new medical terms I had learned and I wasn’t really able to articulate just how I felt or what was going on in my head.
I’ve not got any photos of these women who mean so much to me. The NICU was hardly a place to grab a quick pic together and yet their faces are etched into my memory. I couldn’t have survived any of it without them. They are the strongest, bravest, funniest, most humble women I have had the pleasure of knowing. I found my long-lasting mum friends: it was just inside the NICU and not at birthing classes like I was expecting.<p class="has-text-align-center has-vivid-red-color has-text-color has-medium-font-size" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="https://www.bliss.org.uk/story/melanies-friends-story?fbclid=IwAR0ss89NNQgWUsno2MwImcxfrVbbj4UsI7E60-0fzK1bkdsV3urlG9qJYv4" target="_blank">Melanie's story for BLISS – you can read the full post here</a>
All three of my daughters are now mothers and it’s not been easy for any of them, for one reason or another.
Melanie lives on the other side of the world to us and we connect through facetime chats, family zoom meetings and messenger. We see Dottie eating her breakfast, watch her playing and talk to her – but all through a screen.
I’m not sure when I will be able to visit her again – maybe next year, but who knows?
Some of my favourite posts from when Dottie was born
Some posts I wrote about Dottie’s early days
What is the Globetrotting Granny up to now? Come join me for a cuppa as we farewell November and welcome December!
How was your November? Let’s take a minute to stop for a cuppa and a chat and I’ll even share my cream tea with you!
I’m a Globetrotting Granny – here are some random thoughts from my recent month away. I’m easing my way back into blogging.
Read why I’m taking a blogging break – it’s all about family! I’ll be back soon 😊
As I flew across the world to meet my newest and tiniest baby granddaughter, I wrote this story for her. She was born at 25 weeks and was called Wombat before she became Dottie. Enjoy!
At the moment, due to COVID-19, Dottie has to be shielded for a while longer, which will take her almost up to her first birthday but she is a happy, bright little soul. Melanie is a lovely mother.
I remember telling her I was proud of her when Dottie was just home from hospital and commenting on how well she was coping with it all. She said, I don’t have a choice, I don’t know any different, I just have to keep going.
That sums her up right there.
Her youngest sister commented to me that she thinks Melanie is a Wonder Woman, for how she’s doing, and I happen to agree with her!
I’d encourage you to read Melanie’s full post on the Bliss site, it is sad, poignant and beautifully written, even if I may be a bit biased!
Let me know what you think.
Note: In the beginning, before she was born, Dottie was called Wombat, a nod to Melanie’s Australian home, and we all enjoyed finding wombat themed clothing and baby goods and sending it to England. I wrote a story called Dottie and the Wombat and the header photo is one of the drawings I commissioned for my book.
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