“Just because they were born early doesn’t mean they cannot do whatever they want when they grow up in life.”
Twice a day, Michele Forth drives 72 kilometres to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to visit her 4-month-old baby. She is a 2.5kg fighter in pink pyjamas who Michele affectionately calls “Miss Madilyn.”
Shane Forth, Madilyn’s dad says, “She fights harder than any adult that I know, let alone a tiny baby” as he strokes his daughter’s delicate left foot in his hand.
“We always talk about how feisty this one is or how sweet this one is,” Adrianna says.
Bedside chatting between nurses and parents took on a whole new life with a photo series called “From the NICU to the Moon”. The pictures imagine what the babies dream about as they wiggle and smile in their sleep, and what they might become someday. It also aims to educate parents about safe sleep for newborns.
The nurses and hospital communications team imagined Madilyn as a physician, surrounded by stethoscopes and Band-Aids. The photo series also features Brentley- the future astronaut, Arianna- the future chef, Sofia- the ballerina, and Carolina as an Olympian.
Madilyn was born two months early and has what is called vacterl association (a collection of birth defects), resulting in multiple surgeries and months in the NICU. Adrianna remembers Madilyn's arrival in the NICU like it was her own child.
"I think she's strong and she's definitely got the will to see whatever it is through to the end, so, if that happens to be med school in a few years, I would not be surprised," says Adrianna. "It's funny how much personality these babies have."
And Mum is happy with the depiction. "Even though Miss Madilyn does have a whole bunch of obstacles ahead of her right now," she says, "she can do amazing things and she can aspire to be anything that she wants to be."
Carolina, the tiny Olympian, is “a strong-willed patient who has a lot of heart and she is letting nothing hold her back," says Jessica Wright, a NICU Nurse with 10 years of experience.
"Just because they were born early doesn't mean they cannot do whatever they want when they grow up in life," Jessica says.
True to her athletic depiction, Carolina is hardly ever still in her crib. Gazing up at the green alligator and orange lion of her soother, Carolina playfully kicks her feet back and forth, her bright eyes fixed on Jessica.
"What are you thinking about?" Jessica asks, her hand on Carolina's blue and pink ensemble, "You tell 'em about it, wiggle worm."
Sofia, the ballerina in the photo series, is also on the move. Since she was photographed, Sofia was able to leave the NICU and go home with her parents, Fred and Dawnyale "Dawny" Hill.