Zoe’s journey: A tale of courage, hope, and love

Mother's Day campaign visual
Little Sylvie was a dream come true for parents Zoe and Gray.
23 April 2024 | Fundraising | Babies | NICU

It took a village to help create and bring Sylvie into this world. It was a dream come true for Zoe, who battled cervical cancer and went through multiple rounds of IVF, to become a mother.

We are grateful to Zoe, Gray, and Sylvie for sharing their story this Mother’s Day. Their journey is one shared by many women and families whose babies are cared for by our Newborn Intensive Care Unit at the Women’s. 

For five agonizing years, Zoe and partner Gray's hopes of parenthood seemed like an unattainable dream as they navigated the uncertainty of infertility after Zoe's battle with cervical cancer.

The constant trying, and negative IVF results year-after-year took a huge toll. I also needed regular check-ups to ensure the cancer hadn’t returned,” recalls Zoe.

Together they rode the emotional rollercoaster of IVF treatments, facing disappointment after disappointment. Yet, amidst the pain and uncertainty, they found comfort in the support of the team at the Women's. It was Sarah, Zoe's dedicated nurse, who became her pillar of strength during the darkest moments of her journey.

“Sarah's unwavering dedication and compassion were a beacon of hope for me, a constant reminder that we were not alone,” said Zoe.

After countless attempts, Zoe and Gray finally received the news they were waiting for, Zoe was pregnant.

Zoe recalls “I still get goosebumps thinking about the moment we found out I was pregnant.  The other nurses ran up and hugged me. Everyone knew how long I’d been trying”.  

Zoe's pregnancy was going well however, at 21 weeks and 5 days, her waters broke, Zoe was placed on bedrest and started steroid injections with the hope that she could remain pregnant for as long as possible to give her baby the best chance.

At 23 weeks and 6 days, Zoe's worst fears were realised as she developed a life-threatening infection, forcing doctors to deliver her baby girl, Sylvie, via emergency caesarean. Weighing only 628 grams, Sylvie's tiny frame didn’t match the strength and resilience that lay within.

In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Sylvie fought bravely for her life, her delicate lungs relying on oxygen to keep her alive.

Despite the challenges that lay ahead, Zoe and Gray found solace in the unwavering support of their nurse Emily and the dedicated NICU team at the Women's. Together, they formed a village of care and compassion, supporting one another through the darkest of days.  “Even though it was quite stressful with Sylvie in the NICU, we knew she had an amazing team around her. She was getting the best chance at life,” remembers Zoe.

As the months passed, Sylvie defied the odds, growing stronger each day. Zoe and Gray became active participants in Sylvie's care, empowered by Nurse Emily's guidance and support. And finally, after 134 days in NICU, the moment they had been dreaming of finally arrived; they were bringing Sylvie home.

This Mother’s Day, Zoe is filled with gratitude for the journey that brought them here.

“We started off at the Women’s in a dark place with cancer treatment and we’ve always felt supported. This amazing team has allowed us to go from darkness to light. We are so thankful – we have our happy ending,” said Zoe.

Every year, the team at the Women’s provides 250,000 episodes of care and delivers up to 7,000 babies. For those in need of life-saving care, we aim to surround them with support, in the very best and very worst times.

If you would like to donate, please visit our Mother’s Day Appeal page.