Television sports journalist Sam Squiers is expecting her husband Ben to shed a tear when their ‘little fighter’ Imogen starts school for the first time next month.
Imogen weighed just 1.3kg when she was born two months early at Mater Mothers’ Hospital in Brisbane in 2017. Complications during pregnancy meant Imogen needed to be delivered early by emergency caesarean section.
While her first-born child is now thriving, significant milestones like the first day of school remind Squiers how far Imogen has come in the past five years.
“I remember all those days and nights sitting by Imogen’s humidicrib, attached to wires and machines,” Squiers said.
“I don’t think you can really understand what it’s like unless you experience it.
“It was a rollercoaster of emotions and fear, and helplessness personified. It feels so long ago, yet a simple ‘ding ding’ of those medical alarms, the smell of sanitiser and the sight of a pink or purple lazy boy chair takes me right back in the thick of it.”
She said it was “pretty much a given” that her firefighter husband would cry on Imogen’s first day of school, given he was reduced to tears watching Imogen’s excitement at her first Wiggles concert.
“It’s hard to be anything but happy when Imogen’s just so happy about going to school. Her joy is pretty infectious,” Squiers said.
Meeting new friends and having swim races are at the top of Imogen’s to-do list when she starts Austinmer Public School on Monday.
“Immi dresses up in her full school uniform and plays ‘going to school’ with her little sister every day,” Squiers said.
“Immi is joyous, she bounces everywhere, loves exploring new things and meeting new people. She throws out heartfelt compliments every day and even stops strangers on the street to tell them she likes their dress, shoes or even their hair - she is just a bundle of energy and joy.”
Squiers, a Fox Sports news presenter who relocated to New South Wales from Brisbane after Imogen was born, suffered from pre-eclampsia and a placental abruption during her pregnancy, requiring emergency surgery.
Imogen received around-the-clock care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Mater for seven weeks, and Squiers said was grateful for the medical, nursing and midwifery teams who saved both their lives.
One in five Queensland babies are born at a Mater Mothers’ hospital in Queensland every year.