Indie's first birthday

By Kirsty Veltman

I'm fundraising for Ronald McDonald House!

You never expect the birth of your first child to be like this. "Your baby will need surgery". Transferred to a city away from home, emergency c section, baby taken away for tests and put through surgery that night. Looking at her through incubator plastic, only allowed to touch her very gently. Waiting for her to take over her own breathing so she can come off the ventilator. Asking permission to change her nappy or record her temperature. Finally able to hold her when she is already five days old. Being careful each time you move her as she is covered in cords and cables. Having the nurses tell you she is "stable" when you are hoping for "good". The unknown stretches ahead. Hours upon hours pass as you sit in a hot, noisy room. It seems like every 20 seconds an alarm goes off and every single time you glance up at the monitors to check if it's your baby alarming. The nurses become your friends in there.  You inwardly cheer when you see one you like has been assigned to you that day.  You dread the days where you might get one you don't like. You bring your kindle in every day but can't turn your mind off for long enough to get lost in a book, so you scroll reddit for hours as your baby sleeps. Something that is quite routine doesn't go right and you learn what crushing fear really feels like.

There are good moments too. When she is ready to move from incubator to cot. The doctors start telling you shes "doing well". She takes a feed through a bottle instead of the tube through her nose. Weight starts ticking upwards. She is getting stronger. The Covid level restrictions are lifted and you can finally introduce your family to their newest member. Surgery goes according to plan. The doctor tells you your daughter is "exceeding all of our expectations". You get moved from the most serious cot in the highest dependency room in the unit, to one less noisy and scary. They finally take the long line out of her arm so she can wear her clothes properly. One day, they tell you you're being transferred to the unit in your home town. A few weeks later, you finally get to take your baby HOME.

You will never forget though. You can't wear your favourite hand cream any more, as the smell takes you right back to all the nights slathering up the hands you had to wash 45 times in a day. You have to watch the videos you took in NICU on mute, as you never know when you're going to hear an alarm in the background that will pull you back there. You wonder if you’ll ever give your child a sibling. What if they also needed NICU? Could you do it again?

Each minute in the NICU is like building a house of cards. Sometimes the cards stack and stack and stack and then one card just doesn't sit quite right and the whole thing comes crashing down and you find yourself trying to find an empty room to cry in, in a unit that is over capacity. There are other parents there, everyone going through hell. You watch with interest every time a new baby is brought into the unit. You see yourself in every anxious new parent, and can't help the stab of jealousy you feel every time a newer baby is declared healthier than yours and moved away. When will it be our turn? It feels like the day will never come.

Ronald McDonald House was an absolute godsend during this time. A 5 minute walk from the hospital, it was a relief at the end of the day to come home, have a hot meal ready (or in the fridge waiting if we were late) and have a comfortable bed to sleep in. The staff and volunteers are incredible humans who always made us feel so welcome and like we had somewhere calm in the storm that was raging around us. They understand the importance of both parents having a place to call home when their kid is in hospital somewhere away from home. They know that a family needs to stay together.  In our 47 nights there we saw many families come through.  Some were there for one night,  some were there when we arrived and still there when we left. I'm sure every single one of those families feel grateful that this place exists.

In honour of our little girls first birthday we would love to give back to the place that made her first few weeks a little bit easier on us. We would consider a donation on her behalf, to help other families like us, to be the greatest gift she could receive from our friends and family this year.

❤❤❤

Every year, thousands of families from around New Zealand will turn to a Ronald McDonald House for free accommodation and support during their child
s medical treatment. 

I want to make a difference for these families by raising much-needed funds.

Please help me help them by giving whatever you can using the 'Give Now' button. 

The more people that know about RMHC® New Zealand, the greater their impact, so please also spread the word by sharing my page with your friends and family. 

Thank you in advance for your generosity, it means a lot!

My Updates

Indie turns ONE

Monday 16th Aug
August 14 2020 was one of the scariest days of my life. We knew Indie was coming out, it was all very calm and controlled. We knew she was premature and going to need surgery. We knew she would be taken away not long after she was born. They said I might get to hold her before they took her if all things were going well - I didn't. She came out, I saw her, and then they stabilised her and took her away. Knowing in advance didn't make it much easier to suddenly not be pregnant anymore, with my baby somewhere in another part of the hospital. I lay in recovery and tried not to stress about what I couldn't control. They knew what they were doing, I had to trust the doctors, the nurses and the surgeons. Alex went with her, I knew she wasn't alone. But for the first time in 35 weeks and 2 days, I was.
I don't really remember when they wheeled me in to the NICU to see her. The time between 12:35pm when she was born and when they finished surgery around 9:30pm is all a blur. I do remember lying awake at 3am, hearing the cries of the other babies on the maternity ward and feeling a desperate tug in my heart that I didn't have mine with me.
I've heard lots of people say the day their kid was born was the best day of their life. I don't know what my best day was. Maybe the day she came off breathing support? Maybe the day we got to take her home? Maybe somewhere in between. Maybe it was later, when they surgeons said they no longer needed to have follow up appointments. Or when she laughed for the first time, or when she looked at me and said "mum mum". Maybe the best day doesn't exist, maybe it's actually about the little best moments that make up the whole story.
Here we are a year on. A year that started off so hard but has been packed full of the most amazing, wonderful moments. I feel so blessed to have this sweet, happy, cheeky little girl in my life. Happy birthday Indie Belle. I love you infinitely ❤

Thank you to my Sponsors

$1.53k

Mtf Finance

$208

Ryan & Joz

$104

Amelie & Xavi

For our gorgeous little friend, can’t wait to celebrate your first birthday with you xx

$104

Jarrod Ramsay

$104

Papi, Gethin And Effy

$104

Denham Whanau

Arohanui Kirsty, Alex and Indie xx

$100

Jeff Carter

$52

Gaylene Leyden

Love from Great Aunty Gay and jay

$52

Gramz - Aka Bridge

RMH was a godsend for you whilst Covid in the world meant going up and down levels too , which meant it was a long time before I got to hold Indie ! Happy birthday my wee sweetie xoxo

$52

Great Aunty Theresa

With love.

$52

Aunty Abs

So thankful to have this little 🐥 in my life

$52

Nat, Len & Lola

$52

John Bain

Happy birthday. Hope the years ahead are less eventful!

$52

Lydia Hopkins

$52

Cheryll

Happy 1st Birthday Indie

$52

Carole Woodford

Happy Birthday precious love the Woodys x

$52

Monique Rodger

Happy birthday Indie

$52

Will, Kelsey, Zoe And Odin

Happy birthday Indie!

$52

Anonymous

$52

Anonymous

$52

Kyle Cameron

$52

Maisoon Khalil

Wishing Indie a very happy birthday.

$52

Danielle Hill

Happy Birthday Indie!

$52

Barbara Leyden

$50

Jacob Cromb

$50

Andrea Leyden

Happy birthday Indie! so happy watching you grow up, big girl of 1 now. Love Great Aunty Andrea x

$31.20

Anonymous

$31.20

Rose & Ed Oskam

Happy 1st birthday Indie. Love Ed & Rose

$31.20

Gareze Family

Happiest of Birthdays Miss Indie, Can't believe you're going to be a big 1 year old soon. What a beautiful idea! xxx

$31.20

Kate Medlin

$31.20

Reenie ?

$31.20

Jamie Moran

$31.20

Cooper Family

Happy first birthday Indie. What an incredible little girl you are & what an amazing Mum & Dad & family you have supporting you & loving you. Sending much love today & always. ❤️❤️

$30

Melba Denniston

Happy 1st birthday Indie. :) Such a fantastic idea. Melba

$26

Mary-anne And Will

Great way to celebrate and give back.

$26

Paula Taylor

Wishing Indie a very happy 1st birthday!

$26

Ollie Wilson

Happy Birthday beautiful Indie! Lots of love, Sam, Amanda and Ollie

$20.80

Vania

Happy Birthday Indie :)

$20.80

Anonymous

Best of luck with the fundraising. Indie is doing so well.

$20.80

Steph Van Zoomeren

$20.80

Jan

$20.80

Psul Booth

Much love

$20.80

Dicky

Onya Kirst and Alex. Indie looks like such a cutie.

$20.80

Joel Hibbs

Happy birthday Indie!

$20.80

Dan Te Au

$20.80

Stephanie & Malcolm Hill

What an amazing thing you are doing Kirsty and for something so dear to your heart. Indie is just beautiful. We as a family are so thankful that you and Alex had the support of Ronald McDonald House at such a vulnerable time in your lives. Best wishes to your beautiful family. Keep up the amazing work xx

$20

Jadon Sancho

I grew up watching Ronaldinho and Neymar vids on youtube, that's why I play like a hybrid of the two. It's coming home BTW.

$15.60

Sarah Seque

Happy birthday to Indie, and what a fantastic idea! Such a tough and unpredictable time, how wonderful to be a year on. Xx

$15

Mel Mckenzie

Amazing way to celebrate Indie’s 1st birthday x

$10.40

Renee, Michael And Eva

You have a real gift with words Kirsty, you’ve brought the reality home of having a kid in NICU in a way I haven’t heard before. So glad RMH helped.

$10.40

Sonia Mcgregor

Love this! 🥰 x

$10.40

Trudi Wigg

$10.40

Karen Mcarthur

Happy Birthday Indie! X

$10.40

Rebecca Macale

Happy birthday Indie!! What amazing parents you have. Can’t wait to see more of you soon x

$10.40

Anonymous

$10

Sharon Grimsey

$10

Megan Kliegl

Happy birthday, Indie! A one-year-old superhero!

$5.20

Stacey Bryan

So happy that Indi was able to receive the care she needed and that you were both able to be so close. Love that you have chosen to support the place that provided you guys with support and comfort when you needed it.