At home in hospital
Parents entering the neo-natal ward at Taranaki Base Hospital will find the comforts of home.
Since April last year the Neo-natal Parents Support Group Taranaki has worked on upgrading the bedrooms and lounge area in the ward.
Through donations from families and businesses they've almost completed the task.
"Having a neo-natal baby is a really stressful experience and to be able to make it more pleasant in any way possible is a good feeling," Claire Ogier said.
Her sister, Sally Butler, nee Hodgkinson, died after giving birth to her premature baby in 2007. When Prince William and Kate got married, Ogier's family held a fundraiser in memory of her sister at the Nice Hotel.
"That money was to kick-start the neo-natal trust in Taranaki," she said. "We had 50 people at that and it raised over $4000."
The group started when Ogier met current group chairwoman Philippa Gray, who had been through the unit with a premature baby of her own.
Although her experience in the ward overall was good, she remembers how tired the rooms were.
"I had a week of uncertainty and all the emotions that come with having a premature baby and then we had five weeks in the unit away from home.
"You plan on having a baby and going home a couple of days later but I was in hospital for five weeks.
"My husband was back at work and coming in here in the evenings. It was just a different start to our son's life than what we planned."
She believes the rooms had not been renovated for 20 years.
"After being in here, I didn't have family in New Plymouth, I realised there really was a need for a support group."
There are three rooms in the unit and a lounge, which are all freshened up. The rooms are used just before the baby goes home to prepare couples.
However, the group's not finished yet. It wants to replace the carpet and an upstairs room in the maternity ward needs a bit of work.
The group is pleased with the outcome so far.
"I'm amazed. It's one thing to come up with an idea but to push through and do it is another thing," Ogier said.
Neonatal ward clinical nurse manager Jane Bocock said the renovations have made the environment for the parents more pleasant and comfortable.
"They're already stressed from being in the unit. I think to have a peaceful, comfortable, clean and nicely decorated room is just great."
Support came from the Hodgkinson family, Resene Pacific Wall Coverings, Freedom Furniture, Cleggs Furniture Court, Mason Appliances, Methanex, Spotlight, Briscoes, Lions clubs, The Engraver and quilts were donated by various families.
Email taranakisupport@neonatal trust.org.nz or find the group on Facebook or visit neonataltrust.org.nz.