It’s been six years since I walked down this hall toting a ever decreasing baggy of breast milk for my teeny-tiny premmie daughter. Today, as I walk these same halls my heart pounds with anxiety—this isn’t the place any new parent wants to end up.
Instead of the necessities of newborn life, I’m carrying my camera, iPhone and so so professional microphone.
It’s a pity I’m on the wrong floor and am feeling anything but professional. Is catching the lift to level five so ingrained in my psyche that I automatically do it even all these years later? I hope so, because the alternative means I simply have no idea where I’m going.
The Milk Bank at the RBWH is on the sixth floor with Obstetrics and Maternity. I guess that makes sense, it’s not really the NICU mums (neonatal intensive care unit) who are in a position to donate, in fact it’s they who the milk bank support—I wish they’d been around when we virtually lived here.
Walking towards the Maternity Ward I peer at the plaques on the wall beside closed doors. None of them are what I’m after. My pulse races and I begin to sweat. I press the home key on my phone, 10:54am, I’m not late…yet. Turning back towards the elevators I resolve to ask someone, of course the corridor is now empty. I’m on my own.
Eventually the office is found—small for a room, big for a closet.
It’s only after the Milk Bank rep is finished talking to a potential donor and I’ve unpacked my equipment that I realise my phone doesn’t have an audio recording app on it. Great. I’m glad I introduced myself as a journalism student rather than a fully-fledged journo—mistakes are excusable for a student, right?
Luckily for me, photos are suggested first so I’m able to quickly download the app from “the cloud” while I snap shots of fridges filled with little bottles of breast milk, a store that has so far fed 96 NICU bubs.
Mercifully the rest of my visit goes well, aside from a little interview nerves. Questions are answered, laughs are had, but I still heave a sigh of relief as I walk out the door.