Living with Mackenzie (part two)
After Mackenzie was born we had a wonderful eight weeks together as a family while Jonny was off work. That time was so precious to us. We enjoyed learning how to be our own new little family unit. We walked around feeling like super stars doing the new parent strut. We felt indestructible and very happy.
Jonny was a very hands on Dad. He took pride in being able to do nearly everything for Mackenzie... minus the breastfeeding. I also made sure to learn how to do things on my own (like how to get the pram in and out of the car) so I felt capable enough to get out of the house when Jonny went back to work.
When we found out we would lose Mackenzie, Jonny had only been back at work for two weeks. He instantly stopped work. We were lucky that we had both worked for the public service for around 12 years each, which meant we had enough personal and annual leave to stay home and focus on our baby. We used every ounce of leave we had to dedicate our lives to her.
We were also so very lucky to have the support of friends and family around us including those who set up a Go Fund Me campaign to raise funds so that we could make memories with Mackenzie.
For the short term, we knew we had some time and some money to create memories. We scrambled to organize a passport for Kenzie. We paid for the rush job as it was important for us to travel with her but, ultimately, we found out we couldn’t use it. We couldn’t get travel insurance for a terminally ill baby... an added hit but we overcame it by traveling around Australia instead.
Our hospital social worker was kind and put in an application to the Starlight Foundation on our behalf. We were lucky enough to be offered a trip to Broome. Within two days of finalizing the arrangements, we were off! We spent the time pretending to be a normal family on their first holiday. Whilst in Broome we took Kenzie to a pearl farm and a brewery, we walked in dinosaur prints, bought some Kenzie pearls and swung in a hammock on a deserted beach. We went on a hovercraft, took a helicopter ride, went to the beach (a lot), dipped in a pool, saw some camels, watched sunsets, watched sunrises, stared at the stars in the outback, camped, walked in red dirt, sung, danced and cuddled. We did everything that she could feel, touch, see, hear, smell or experience.
Those memories will last us a lifetime. We can never thank the Starlight Foundation enough for the chance to make those memories. If ever there was a worthy cause for anyone who wants to donate, it is them.
Back to reality, we had more appointments to check she was ok. As soon as we were told that she was doing well, we were off on our next adventures. At times, we were lucky that our families were able to join us on those trips.
I won’t go into details of all our trips as that would take up too much space plus it is also nice to keep some of those memories just for us.
But, just to give you an idea of Kenzie’s exotic life, we took her to:
- Kangaroo Valley;
- Cape Tribulation;
- Snowy Mountains; and
- Byron Bay.
She went in:
- golf buggy;
- helicopter; and
- saw snow and tasted it on her tongue;
- put her feet in sand and the ocean;
- went to beaches;
- saw rivers;
- enjoyed tropical rainforests;
- visited deserts;
- saw fireworks;
- went to the zoo and saw lions and tigers;
- gazed at fish and dugongs at the aquarium;
- she went to the Archibalds;
- the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA); and
- she even did the City 2 Surf.
We tried so hard to strike a balance between being home and being away. We would normally spend a week away and three weeks at home trying to live a normal life.
To every person who contributed to our Go Fund Me please know your money was truly spent well making memories with Mackenzie. Memories are now all we have of her. Thank you just doesn’t seem enough for what you did for us.