Today is National Best Friends Day and we couldn’t think of a better example of friendship than that of three families brought together by their shared experience of life as long-term inpatient families here at the children’s hospital.
Michelle’s daughter, Eden-Olive, Viccy’s son, Harrison, and Emma’s son, Sonny, were all born within three weeks of one another. Each had their own complex medical condition that required intensive neonatal care.
Eden-Olive was born six weeks early with Oesophageal atresia and tracheo-oesophageal fistula weighing a tiny 3ls 8. She spent 361 days in hospital and went home just five days shy of her first birthday.
Sonny was also born with Oesophageal atresia. He was born eight weeks early and spent 11 months and 11 days in hospital.
Harrison was born with a condition called gastroschisis, a birth defect in which the intestines extend outside of the body through a hole next to the belly button.
All three families spent time on NICU and were then transferred to Island ward where they spent many more months.
Eden-Olive’s mum said: “Nothing can prepare you for the journey of becoming a mother to a tiny baby with complex medical needs. It’s a completely different world. Life carries on as normal outside of the hospital but for us, it just stood still! Everything changes from friendships to family life.
“In 2017 my little miracle was born, but it was also the year I met Viccy and Emma. How we got each other through that first year was just incredible. We found a way to cope. Our group chat was always a place where we could just be ourselves. We’d cry together and laugh together and dream of the day our babies would come home. We’d talk about what it would be like to feed our babies. To just do all the things other mothers and babies could do.
“Our babies became like brothers and sister. We all have such a strong friendship. We definitely have become family. No one gets me the way these girls do. People say they understand we’ve been through a lot but how can they? I’m so glad that, through our babies, we were brought together!”