A consistent theme we encounter is the special people involved (in the care of neonatal babies and the wider support of the families). We’re extremely grateful to all those who provide their ideas, time, support and donations to The Neonatal Trust.
We want to highlight these great people and below do so and thank the wonderful Sarah Stephens who has helped us support neonatal families in a number of different ways . . .
Volunteer profile, Sarah Stephens
1. What have you done in your role as a Volunteer for The Neonatal Trust?
I have helped out with little things here and there including:
- Sorting NICU hats and booties
- Writing Christmas cards that were placed in the incubators for NICU parents and babies
- Collecting at the Wellington Phoenix football match and at the mall
- Attaching woollen items (booties and beanies) to thank you cards for a fundraiser
- Most recently I have signed up to be on the committee organising a Home Tour for late 2017
How did you come to volunteer/fundraise for The Neonatal Trust?
My daughter had to be born via emergency c-section at 36 weeks due to inter-uterine growth restriction, she was 1.7kgs. My husband and I suddenly had a baby that would now be in an incubator for an undefined period of time. This really threw us as, like all first time parents, we expected to be taking our wee baby home after just a couple of days. We didn’t know anyone who had ever had a baby in NICU for an extended period of time, and we knew very little about NICU and The Neonatal Trust. I remember being told I would be discharged in a couple of hours and that my daughter was staying in the hospital. I was desperately upset as I tried to get myself packed up when I realised I had no breast pump. I left my room to visit my daughter to cheer me up when Tasia in the Neonatal shop asked me if I was ok, it must have been written all over my face! I told her my problem and in her wonderful, kind manner she had me sorted in under 5 minutes. Pump, bottles, tubes all tucked into a bag for me to take home until I could get one sorted. I’m so grateful for Tasia’s help and all the amazing work that happens in the NICU unit and through The Neonatal Trust. I volunteer to help as many mums and dads that were in our position as possible.
What is your favourite part of volunteering / fundraise for The Neonatal Trust?
- Being able to give back to those who helped us so much
- Talking to people about their neonatal journeys
- Seeing the amazing generosity of people when collecting
- Helping such an important cause.
What do you do when you aren’t volunteering / fundraising for The Neonatal Trust?
I’m originally from Queenstown so grew up in the great outdoors. I try to do as many walks as possible and am very lucky that Wellington has so many to offer. These walks aren’t quite as adventurous now that I have my daughter strapped to me, but they still bring me a lot of happiness. I also enjoy reading, catching up with friends and do some relief teaching at my local school.
What advice would you give to someone who is currently on a neonatal journey?
Just know that your baby is in the best place possible! Ask for and accept help from family and friends. If you are unsure, ask as many questions as you need to be comfortable you have the right answer. Eventually you will take your wee bundle home and what will seem like a lifetime in the hospital will seem like a minute!
What do you wish other people knew about The Neonatal Trust?
- That a lot of the things that you may take for granted (privacy screens, comfortable breast feeding chairs, pump rentals etc) are all provided by The Neonatal Trust. It may seem a minor thing to have a comfortable chair, but when you sit in it for 10+ hours a day giving kangaroo cuddles and breastfeeding it is extremely important!
- That the fantastic NICU doctors and nurses are working incredibly hard to take care of your baby and that The Neonatal Trust are working incredibly hard to support the parents. They organise morning tea catch-ups, education courses, Christmas parties and so much more.
How many other people do you know who have had a neonatal experience?
Since leaving the NICU unit we have had two sets of friends have a neonatal experience. I tried to help them as much as possible with lots of hints and pointers, as well as informing them of all the positives that come from have a NICU baby… lots and lots of support, medical professionals on hand to throw all your questions at and a baby already settled into a routine when you head home! I also directed them to the Neonatal shop for information, support and to buy teeny tiny clothes!
What other volunteering / fundraising have you done, if any?
More school fundraisers than I can count!
Thanks so much for your support Sarah. We can only provide our support to neonatal families because of great people like you!
For links to other Volunteer profiles, FAQs and details of how you can help, head here.