Living in Auckland is very tough financially for many families, especially in South Auckland where countless families are living in cold, damp houses without the funds to keep warm. A premature baby can add to the stress of making ends meet, yet it is particularly important to keep these vulnerable babies warm and healthy, especially in the cooler months.
Pictured: Harmony and Gotham (left). Harmony and Gotham with baby girl Jodele (right).
We recently met with a young couple, Harmony and Gotham, who were visiting their premature daughter Jodele, who is currently in an incubator. Parenthood has been far from smooth sailing for the couple, with labour pains taking Harmony completely by surprise. She rushed to the hospital, was taken into theatre and woke up as a mum much sooner than she was expecting. Jodele was only 26 weeks old when she was born, making her extremely premature. It also meant that Harmony was quite unprepared with the necessities and clothing her tiny baby needed.
After seven long weeks, on Jodele’s 51st day in the hospital, we gifted the family a knitting pack from the Middlemore Foundation’s Wool Programme. This hand knitted gift pack is a simple gesture that goes a long way to help keep newborns cosy.
Our wonderful nurses at Middlemore Hospital’s neonatal unit have been busy providing the special care needed so that Jodele becomes a healthy, full-size baby. Her parents are looking forward to her reaching her original due date of 20 June when she reaches full size and can finally be discharged. Baby Jodele is currently doing well and has now graduated from lying on a heated bed to a cot, meaning she is one step closer to going home.
While Harmony and Gotham have not missed a day of visiting they have found it very tough. They make sure that one of them is there every day until Jodele falls asleep. Of course, driving to the hospital every day takes its toll financially. With petrol prices so high, there is little money left for groceries and, to make matters worse, the time spent at the hospital makes it difficult to keep tabs on expiry dates for food, meaning some of it goes to waste.
The added expense of a premature baby inevitably causes extra stress for many parents, but Jodele’s parents are committed to doing everything they can for their new baby. After asking the young couple how they get through every day, they both agreed that it is important to “Keep at it and do the best we can”. Gotham was insistent that if you have a positive outlook every day will get better. They really appreciate their special knitting pack which has helped keep Jodele snuggly. Harmony is particularly touched by how the garments are obviously knitted with so much love and care.
Pictured: Harmony with her beautiful daughter Jodele.
We cannot thank our wonderful knitters enough for their time and talent, and we can assure you that all the families of both premature and full-term babies are extremely grateful. We are particularly overwhelmed by the support we have received from our knitters in the past three weeks. Knitters from all around the world, from Australia to the United States, have offered to knit for our South Auckland babies in need. It is amazing to have such global support and this care and kindness really does help our babies live warmer, healthier lives.