A new mother is in limited isolation and quarantine (MIQ) limbo at Wellington Hospital after giving birth to a baby at just 26 weeks.
New Zealander Ferne Grady, who now lives in Perth, was visiting family in Palmerston North in July when the trans-Tasman bubble closed the day before her return flight.
Her husband Declan is originally from Ireland but a permanent resident of Australia. He is desperate to meet his new son, but cannot secure a place at MIQ and Ferne cannot fly back to Perth because baby Mikey is in the Wellington neonatal unit.
Declan is now attempting an emergency MIQ assignment, but was told For the first time He was on the edge of his wits after his wife went into preterm labor late last week.
“The baby is fine, obviously he gets a lot of care,” Declan said.
“He is now in the NICU in Wellington and they are very happy with his progress.
“Just for Ferne, and for both of us, but mainly for Ferne it is a great stress. And trying to cope with the big operation that he just had, he is not allowed to lift anything, drive or do anything like that.”
She said she was having trouble with basic things like shopping and felt like she should be with Mikey as much as possible so she wasn’t getting enough rest.
“She has family, but they are not in Wellington, they are in the Palmerston North and Wanganui area. On the day of the birth and the next day, her mother and sister were there, but since then she has been herself, her brother has come to visit once and his father has also come.
“They cannot come to see the baby due to the Covid-19 restrictions and since I am not there, we had to nominate his mother as a second caregiver, but she also has work commitments and cannot be there.” There 24/7, so he gets depressed as often as he can, but he also has things to do. “
Declan is now applying for an emergency MIQ assignment so that he can come and care for his wife and newborn son.
“I joined the Grounded Kiwis Facebook page and found a lot of help and a lot of people who are in the same, if not worse, situations as me.”
Declan said he tried to get a room at the latest MIQ room launch.
“I got up … at 4.30am to log in and see if I could get into one of those rooms they assigned, but I was out of luck. I had like 22,000 in the queue so there was no hope.”
He said his wife was now requesting a room on the emergency assignment after gathering documents from the hospital in Wellington, the couple’s obstetrician in Perth, and letters from Ferne and himself to support their case. You don’t know when you could find out if your application was successful.
“It’s been horrible,” he said, “obviously Skype and video calls help a lot, they make it bearable, but obviously it doesn’t come close to what you want to do.
“He is our first child, we also conceived him through IVF, so it has been two and a half long years to get to where we are now and think that I was not there for the birth of my son. Son, it’s hard to sit still here while she’s sitting so far away with the little one. “