'A real family behind those secret double doors' - Mother's call for neonatal unit families to come together
A mother whose youngest son spent four weeks in neonatal intensive care (NICU) is calling for all families who have been through a similar experience to come together for a giant photo.
Katy Porter, from Norwich, came up with the idea after her son Rupert, now five months old, spent time in the NICU at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) when he was born at just 32 weeks.
She said his time there was straightforward, as he was only there to grow, but she recognised others had more difficult experiences and said the unit was somewhere families could feel safe.
She said: “It really felt like a NICU family behind those secret double doors and hand sanitising stations.
“I had to get the big family together for the largest official Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NICU photo ever.”
Mrs Porter, who is also mother to six-year-old Pippa and three-year-old Toby, also noticed how difficult it was to record her son’s journey while on the unit, so came up with the idea of a unique set of milestone cards designed especially for NICU babies.
The mother-of-three said: “I took endless photos of him in his incubator or his little plastic cot but I was limited with the pictures I could take of him. I had a set of baby milestone cards but the only ones I could use were his ‘welcome to the world’ one and ‘one week old today’. I remember sitting there with the box leafing through the cards hoping there was something else in there I could use but there wasn’t.”
The idea of the photo and the cards came to Mrs Porter at 3am as she felt the cards could be a good way to raise money for the NICU, with the photo the perfect opportunity to launch them. The cards would also represent those babies who tragically did not make it out of NICU, and those who wanted to come along to the event could register for a balloon for the photo.
The Big NICU Family Photo will take place at Caistor Hall Hotel, Norwich, from 2.30pm to 5.30pm on Saturday, October 6. The photo will be taken at 3.30pm but there will also be a number of child-related stalls, all donating a percentage of taking to the department.
Visit The Big NICU Family Photo on Facebook to register or email firstname.lastname@example.org