Just last week, Sophie Smith found herself in the neonatal unit of the Royal Women’s Hospital. It wasn’t the first time she’d been there – her three sons Henry, Jasper and Evan spent much of their lives between its four walls – but this visit wasn’t plagued with the memory of her three lost boys.
This visit was about life, not death.
“Last week, I went into the unit and I saw the equipment that wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for us. I met the smallest baby I had ever seen, he was about 450 grams and I had never seen such a small baby alive. That little baby is alive today because of our equipment,” Sophie tells Mamamia.
Of course, that little baby isn’t the only one alive because of Sophie’s tireless efforts. There are no doubt hundreds of little kids running around today that entered the world far sooner than their tiny bodies could handle. These kids running, living, being because of the neonatal equipment Sophie’s family was able to give the hospital.
But before she could work on saving the lives of many, Sophie had to lose her own precious boys first.
In 2006, she and her husband Ash were impatiently awaiting the arrival of triplets. They were to become first-time parents. By her own admission, anticipating their new lives was “an incredible experience”.
“All I remember thinking was that I had four hearts beating inside of me at the one time and I thought it was amazing. We thought we were the luckiest people in the world,” she says.
And then, at 21 weeks – and 19 weeks before the babies were due – Sophie’s waters broke for the first time. That point would mark the beginning of an 82-day journey enveloped by life and death, of tears and hope.
Henry entered the world first, gave a small cry and lay on Sophie’s chest for a precious hour before he passed away. Henry’s brothers didn’t follow him that day, patiently waiting for their own turn to meet the two parents that had wanted them so.