Nobody expects to be told they are in the early stages of labour at 28 weeks gestation, but for Amy and Josh Lynch this was their reality.
With antenatal classes due to start the following week and this being Josh and Amy’s first child, they were given a crash course in what to do there and then at Ata Rangi, Hawke’s Bay Hospital.
It was 4.23am on Monday 17th May 2010, Xavier (Xav) Christopher Lynch arrived, 28 (+2) weeks gestation, 3lbs 3oz, a grey long body of skin and bones. He had not put on any of that baby fat that happens in the last trimesta. Whisked away immediately, Xav’s 10 week stay in the Special Care Baby Unit began.
Life was turned on its head for the new parents. They had a new puppy, were building a new cottage, Josh was settling into a new job and now they had a very premature son. It took everything Josh and Amy had, to manage everything at this time.
The routine of SCBU became the norm, but there was nothing normal about coming home every night without your child. No hungry baby that needed feeding in the night, instead pumping to a machine and storing milk for the following day.
Xav became weak and sick with an infection, he required two blood transfuions, a spinal tap and endless tests that might indicate possible and known complications with babies as early as Xav. In spite of this, he had a spirit that was determined to fight. Josh and Amy were told on many occasions that Xav had a 50/50 chance of survival.
SCBU had plenty of positives too, the nurses became friends, babies in neighbouring incubators became ‘roomies’ and Mum’s would pump milk in a circle together making each other chuckle and keeping spirits up. Friendships blossomed and now 8 ½ years on those ‘roomies’, climb trees together while the Mum’s chuckle over a cuppa!
One night, about 5 weeks into Xav’s time in SCBU, Amy was driving home and a song came on the radio. The lyrics “Can we pretend that aeroplanes in the night sky are like a shootin’ star. I could really use a wish right now!” filled the car. Amy stopped and watched a plane fly overhead with its light flashing; very much like a shooting star.
In that fleeting moment, with no coping skills left to draw on, Amy made a wish to her Granny, to pray for her son to be well. Her Granny, a devout Catholic had died many years before. This moment and Amy’s action to ask someone to pray for her, has sat with her for over eight years.
Amy is a full time creative maker, currently designing and making large scale metal sculptures. With a story to tell, the skillset to match and an opportunity to exhibit: ‘I Wish’ was created. A large (over 2m) freestanding shooting star form which was exhibited for the first time at the recent beinnial Wildflower Sculpture Exhibition in Hastings.
Expressing this moment in a sculptural form through the design and making process enabled Amy to put the emotional weight of this whole time down finally. Josh again and now Xav, support Amy in a different way; not minding long hours in the workshop at weekends and are first to give Amy a huge hug once the piece was complete. The shooting star tells her story of that time and that her wish came true.
See below for images of the beautiful sculpture ‘I Wish’. To read and view more on Amy’s work, head to this Instagram page.
The story was also featured in a story in Hakes Bay Today on World Prematurity Day 2018.
You can read this here.
** Thanks for sharing your story Amy! ***
We get a lot of positive feedback from families in a neonatal unit who read these stories and feel strength, hope and positivity knowing that they are not alone going through these experiences and feeling certain emotions.
If you would like to discuss sharing the story of your neonatal journey, we’d love to hear from you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested in how The Neonatal Trust supports families going through the stress and anxiety of a neonatal journey?
Here’s a gallery of support examples.
Aluminium, Automotive Paint
by Amy Lynch 2018
“A shooting star appears for just a fleeting moment. It is in those moments we wish fervently for that one thing or someone, that we can’t live without.
My wish came true….