Of all the things Daniel and his partner Beatriz planned for when expecting their baby, their beautiful son Marco being born at just 26 weeks and five days gestation was the last thing they imagined.
Little Marco spent the first 97 days of his life in hospital. “It was pretty stressful,” Daniel recalls, and adds it was really hard to process what was happening.
“You don’t have time to process it. You’re in the hospital with him all the time and you’re listening to all the doctors talking about all these crazy, big, scary subjects about his life and his health,” Daniel says.
“You don’t plan for that when you decide on having a baby. That’s the last thing in your mind.”
The Wellington couple were referred to Bellyful Karori by one of Daniel’s colleagues. He says the charity, which cooks and prepares meals for whānau with babies or young children who need support, made everything simple.
“They reached out us and we didn’t have to do anything. It was super easy … which was amazing.”
He says travelling to and from the hospital, they didn’t have time to cook or prepare much.
“It was amazing to have nice food that you could just chuck in the freezer and just grab out when you needed it. Five minutes in the microwave and you are eating a good, decent meal.”
The family was also given cupcakes and muffins from the Bellyful Karori team which Daniel says were a real treat. He also greatly appreciates Bellyful Karori’s Branch Leader reaching out and checking on the family a number of times.
Marco is now eight-months-old and going strong.
“We’ve had him at home for a few months now and he’s moving in the right direction. Ticking all the boxes. He’s doing good,” the proud dad shares.
Daniel would “a hundred percent” encourage other dads to ask for, or accept, help from Bellyful.
“[Bellyful] do everything and make it super easy. Dads should definitely reach out. Lots of the time people don’t want to accept help. I was one of those people as well, I was like ‘I am ok, I can do it, it’s fine,’ but there comes a point where you need the help.
“And when you actually get the help from friends, family, or in this case Bellyful, it just makes a massive difference. It’s one less stress to think about basically. And better than going out and eating bad rubbish food like takeaways because you haven’t got time to cook. Or just not eating at all, which is not good either.”
Daniel says Bellyful is an amazing charity which it’s great to have access to.
“So a big thank you from me and my partner – and Marco as well. I am sure he will say thank you when he can say thank you.”
Story by Jacqui Stanford