South Lake mum thanks Fiona Stanley Hospital Neonatal ICU staff for care given to son


Nurse Emily Walling with Gemma Mills and 10-month-old Sage. Picture: Matt Jelonek
Nurse Emily Walling with Gemma Mills and 10-month-old Sage. Picture: Matt Jelonek

AFTER 13 rounds of IVF, South Lake mum Gemma Mills was desperate to hold her little boy but was shocked to discover that 36 weeks into the pregnancy her baby was in distress.

Delivered the next day, Sage was rushed into the neonatal unit at Fiona Stanley Hospital where he required a feeding tube and a stay of 17 days.

Mrs Mills returned to the hospital last Tuesday with Sage, now 10 months old, to thank the staff who cared for him including nurse Emily Walling who had performed the bulk of his care.

Ms Walling had her own Neonatal ICU experience, born prematurely at 25 weeks, and said Sage’s stay in hospital was an emotional journey for the Mills family who had waited so long for a child.

“It’s amazing seeing how our hard work’s paid off,” Ms Walling said.

Mrs Mills described the staff as a godsend and they encouraged her to ring at night if she wanted to check on Sage from home.

“As a first time mum, it was very distressing to leave him; that’s not part of the plan when you have a baby,” she said.

“I was not allowed to drive after the caesarean so hubby would be dropping me off at 4.30am before work and they’d give me a comfy recliner couch and I’d stay all day until he picked me up.”

Staff at the neonatal unit work 12-hour shifts and continuity of care is encouraged wherever possible, pairing families with the same nurse.

The unit can cater for 18 babies, mostly housed in single rooms to give families greater privacy and whiteboards allow parents to personalise their space.

The Miracle Babies Foundation offers weekly support to parents and playgroups after discharge, and hosted the Thank You NICU Day afternoon tea at Fiona Stanley Hospital last Tuesday.