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Author: Evie's Mum

I don't even know your name. But I celebrate you. The random doctor on the night shift. Our saviour. The piercing cry of my newborn daughter brought you to us. It was 5am and after childbirth and a haze of hours of trying to soothe.... you came to my rescue.

'Do you mind if I order tests?'

My exhaustion blinded my senses. All babies cry like this, don't they? I wonder if you know you saved her life? I wonder if you know you saved mine?

I don't remember your name. But I celebrate you. Consultant. Specialist. Hero. My daughter's fate? Group B Streptococcus. This diagnosis brings us to you. We despaired; our hearts broken. You acted swiftly and decisively. An expert in your field. Your confidence a stark contrast to our inadequacies. Your calmness reassured us. You were the captain of our fate and you guided us through our personal tempest.

You didn't even know my name. But I celebrate you. Less than twelve hours after her birth, my daughter's infection brought us to you in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care unit. Childbirth, exhaustion and the agonising breaking of my heart was taking its toll. All I could do was stare at my little one concealed in her bubble tangled in a web of wires. Every beep sent shudders of anxiety through my body.

'Go have a rest,' you urged me while I tried to stay awake.

The thought repulsed me. My daughter was batting for her life. I didn’t care about myself. But you did. You recognised I needed rest and it allowed me to be strong for my baby. You were just doing your job but helped me to do mine; to be a mum.

I don't know your name. But I celebrate you. Cleaner. Safeguarder. Protector. Cleaning within the NICU must allow you to look through the very soul of the families who find themselves there. I felt raw and exposed during my stay; strangers witnessing me at my lowest. It was Christmas Eve; my daughter and I were alone. I was exhausted. I was dishevelled; certainly, looking worse for wear. But this was the first time I was permitted to hold my child since her birth.

'Would you like me to take a picture of you with the baby?' you asked.

I hesitated, aware of my appearance. I was ashamed. You smiled reassuringly and insisted. I reluctantly handed over my phone and you captured this moment – cradling my baby at her hour of need. I may not have appreciated this gesture at the time, but this photo offers me perspective. It is a window into my darkest moment and how we prevailed. Thank you for seeing the beauty in that moment when I could not. I celebrate you.

You gave me my name. I celebrate you. My partner, my support, my husband. In sickness and in health were our promises. You kept your promise. Your strength, optimism and unwavering hope held me together when I wanted to fall apart. You stood by our daughter’s side during the most invasive of treatment. You crept out of our room at night to look over her in her incubator. I heard you whisper promises of days out and gifts for every milestone she achieved – a drop in infection rates, every millimetre of milk she consumed, every tube that was able to be removed. You were her protector. You were mine. It is no surprise that you are her hero; and now you will always be mine.

I gave you your name. And I celebrate you. Your name inspired by your two great-grandmothers. Evie Marie. Their strength coursing through your veins. Their presence missed sorely on Earth but their spirit lives on through you. You have displayed such character from the moment you were born. You survived a fatal illness and every day since, you have amazed everyone with your determination, humour and infectious sense of fun. You continue to inspire as you have spent the beginning of your life trapped in lockdown. You have missed out on so much but you greet every day with unadulterated joy. I celebrate every smile, giggle, step and word that you grace us with. I promise to make every day of your life a celebration because you changed mine for the better.

Heroes don't wear capes. They wear blue scrubs. They work through the night. They mop floors. They see you. They protect you. They hold your hand and weather the storm with you. They work for the NHS. They steal your heart every day of their life.

They walk among us.

And I celebrate them.

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