Can you believe our little granddaughter Dottie is turning 1?
This time last year was very difficult with so many emotions – happiness, fear, love, worry!
But, as bad as it was back then, I’m just glad it happened in 2019 and not 2020!
Dottie arrived early…very early – like 15 weeks early!
I can still clearly remember getting the phone call that Monday night (Australian time). I was at a Rotary meeting, with the District Governor as our guest speaker. He had just finished his talk to the group and we were chatting away when my phone rang. It flashed up as Melanie calling, but instead of her voice, it was Craig telling me she had gone into early labour and was most likely going to have the baby that day.
I must admit I couldn’t take it all in at the time. She was only 25 weeks pregnant and to my knowledge that was far too early to have a baby. I handed the phone to my husband to try and get him to understand the situation as I was very upset. It really ruined the whole Rotary meeting with everyone soon knowing that something was very wrong. But they were all concerned for our family and offered support in many ways.
After talking to many people that night and being very confused I drove home via my book club meeting (which I had planned to do all along) and basically collapsed into the arms of my friends. They were brilliant with their soothing, calming messages of hope and love, and I tried to relax before continuing on home. I had trouble sleeping until I finally got a message that Dottie had arrived safely weighing a mere 845grams (1lb 13oz).
She started her life fighting and we were all willing her on. Even now I can’t go anywhere without people asking how Dottie is getting on!
Dottie was immediately taken from Taunton Hospital to the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Southmead at Bristol. Melanie didn’t get to go with Dottie until the next day and this was very hard for her.
And so Dottie became our little star. And her parents adapted as best they could to this new world. She had ups and downs and you can only imagine the worry we had as we were on the other side of the world.
I managed to fly to England and was there within a week of Dottie being born. I really wanted to support my daughter and Craig, and to meet my newest, tiniest little granddaughter Dottie. It was a long long flight, which I did alone, but I’m so glad I did it. Melanie, being Australian, has no family of her own nearby so I knew I had to be there with her.
I was able to stay with them for a month and learnt so much about premature babies, their brave parents, NICU – it was like entering a whole new world I never knew existed before. I found strength and hope in watching the staff work with Dottie and seeing her fight and grow.
While I was with Dottie my first granddaughter Emilia, turned one back in Australia, and I wasn’t there to celebrate – again so many emotions.
Can you imagine if that had happened this year, with Covid on the rampage? I probably wouldn’t have been able to leave Australia as very few flights are available and permission has to be granted to leave the country. It really doesn’t bear thinking about.
Dottie comes home
Dottie had 14 weeks in NICU, coming home from hospital 98 days after being born, a week before her due date. We were there to welcome her home, which was a fantastic but a nerve wracking feeling. She was on oxygen at home for the first few months and has gone from strength to strength. Can you believe I had to wait nearly 14 weeks for a cuddle? It was awesome when it finally happened.
When COVID struck, she had to be ‘shielded’ due to her vulnerability having been born so early. It’s been incredibly hard on Melanie and Craig but their love and unwavering belief in her has carried them through.
I am beyond proud of the amazing job Melanie and Craig have done, with getting through all of this and bringing Dottie up the way they have. She is the brightest little girl, with a smile and laugh that is contagious. She loves her food, her Ozzy dog and life in general!
Dottie turns 1
It hasn’t been an easy 12 months in lots of ways but here she is now turning 1! I have to say she has grown up into the sweetest little poppet, she’s still tiny but feisty. She gives us all so much joy to see her smiles, her eating methods, her giggles, her growth and her happy beautiful personality shining through.
I’m so glad we were able to spend 3 months with them late last year, as given the conditions at the moment, I can’t say when we will be able to travel to England to see them all again.
It’s also been good how Melanie has been willing to share Dottie’s progress, as everyone we know will ask after her. They have followed along and taken nearly as much delight in seeing her develop as we have. She has had so much love during her first year, and so has our family – many thanks to you all!
These are some words I’ve attributed to Dottie.
Dottie will make you smile
Just try watching this short video of Dottie on the swing (one of our birthday presents to her), with Ozzy helping push her, without breaking into delighted smiles. The giggles make me smile every time!
If I can’t actually be there with her for her birthday (as I’d been planning), then this is almost the next best thing!
Our family has been through a lot in the last few years and we continue to help each other time after time. I’m so lucky!
Thanks for your support during this time. It’s been so lovely having readers leave comments and follow Dottie’s story when I’ve shared bits and pieces on my blog. You’ve all played a huge part in getting Dottie, and us, through this first year.
I’m a proud mother and a very proud Granny.
Happy first birthday Dottie! Here’s hoping I can make it over there for your second!
Granny Debs xx
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Debbie is an award winning blogger and lives in the small town of Tumbarumba in NSW Australia. Married for 40 years, with three grown up daughters, Debbie and the Mathematician are avid travellers, cyclists and adventurers. Described by others as a ‘hummingbird on speed’ this active mother and grandmother has also received a bravery award from the Queen.
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