Renee and her wife Jade were so excited to be expecting their first child and fulfilling their dream of being parents. Little Harper just couldn’t wait to get into this world, arriving at 27 weeks!
Being premature meant Harper needed a little extra help and support. So she spent the following 4 months in the NICU at the John Hunter Hospital in the height of COVID-19.
During a very difficult time, the Family Room within the NICU Ward was a shining beacon of light and hope.
It became a space to take some time out during the 12 or 13 hour days that Renee and Jade would spend at the hospital, watching and willing Harper to grow stronger. Just steps from their daughters' side they found comfort and support when they needed someone to talk. The Volunteers “were a god send and made all the difference”. Together, they would share Harpers progress, and the excitement and care the volunteers showed their family warmed their heart.
It wasn’t only the Volunteers helping Renee and Jade through their journey,
The Family Room became a wonderful space for them to meet other families going through the same thing. They could step away from their cubicle in the NICU Ward, into the Family Room where they didn’t feel alone. “It’s hard for people who haven’t gone through this experience to understand what we were going through. The Family Room was the safe space where we have made lifelong friends, sharing in family celebrations like birthdays, swimming lessons, play dates and BBQ catch ups. It’s really just amazing.”
Harper, their “little miracle” is now 3 and thriving and has even taken time recently to come and visit the Family Room and Renee is giving back with her employer, Orica, doing more to help families like hers.