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"I’ll never able to thank Zoë's Place enough" - celebrating Children's Hospice Week 2022
Middlesbrough HospicePress Releases

"I’ll never able to thank Zoë's Place enough" - celebrating Children's Hospice Week 2022

Published date: 20 June 2022

"I’ll never able to thank Zoë's Place enough" - celebrating Children's Hospice Week 2022

Written by Aimee Louise, Millie-Mai's mum.

As its #ChildrensHospiceWeek I thought I would try and put together how Zoë's Place helped us.

Our beautiful, ‘healthy’ baby girl Millie-Mai was seventeen days early and came rushing into the world at 16:32 on 2nd June 2006. But, Millie wasn’t breathing and needed ‘a little help’ before been took to the neonatal unit.

I wasn’t to worry though as I was told ‘she’s just swallowed some mucus’ which is common in babies. I got some sleep before the nurses from neonatal came to see me, they said Millie had started having ‘abnormal movements’ and that there needed to do tests and investigations.

We went to see our beautiful girl, she was stunning, everything I imagined and more.

She was hooked up to so many machines and we were told she weighed 5lb 15oz and I remember looking around and noticed that she was the biggest baby in high dependency at the time and couldn’t understand why she needed so much help.

Her doctors ran many tests, investigations, lumber punchers, biopsies and MRI scans. Everything came back clear, Millie had everyone on their toes already and her doctors didn’t know what was wrong.

Getting our baby home was everything to me but it wasn’t that easy.

Millie-Mai had been diagnosed with epilepsy and would need medication all her life, so we were trained to give rescue medicine. Millie-Mai couldn’t suck or swallow which meant I would need to learn how to tube feed her. Millie-Mai would ‘pool’ her secretions and would need a suction machine to stop her choking.

All along I didn’t get it. How could she be so poorly yet looked so perfect.

Adjusting to Millie’s world was hard, exhausting, draining and very overwhelming. It was only when one of Millie’s nurses suggested Zoë's Place.

I had heard of Zoë's Place and knew it was for poorly babies but thought surely Millie wouldn’t need to access their services. Her nurse made us an appointment to have a look around and in all honestly, I dreaded it. But, I remember first going in and getting this warm homely feeling, as if it was a massive weight off my shoulders already.

After meeting the nurses and looking around, we decided to give it ago. Millie would go for a few hours, whilst I caught up with the housework and more importantly got to spend time with James and Ebonie.

Millie loved it at Zoë's Place and I was loving being able to start relaxing a bit. After a few weeks Millie was invited for her first sleep over and after seeing Millie so happy when she was there, I knew we’d made the right decision.

Zoë's Place were brilliant with her and we felt – and still do - so lucky to have been able to access their services. James and Winnie started looking forward to ‘normal family’ days out whilst we knew that our girl was getting the best care there was.

As time went on, we eventually got told by one of Millie’s specialists that Millie had been starved of oxygen at birth and would be severely disabled all her short life. As Millie grew so did her needs and as everyone knows we lost our beautiful girl in April 2019 due to pneumonia.

As much as it came to a shock, deep down we knew Millie was always only ever ‘borrowed’ to us,
we just never imagined having to say goodbye to her at just 12 years old.

I’ll never able to thank Zoë's Place enough for making every moment count. They made her so happy and I’ll be forever in debt to them for being there for us, through the hard times when Millie was born and for the even harder days when Millie was dying, and for the bereavement team who I still see.

I can’t help but smile when I’m there because I know Millie made some the best memories there.

The love, care and support they give is second to none. Zoë's Place will forever own a piece of my heart.

Thankyou for everything.

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