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The Zaky HUGging Boet at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in Melbourne, Australia

by Marijn Mees
This is the story of our darling baby Boet. Boet is our third child and our first living baby boy. We had struggled with multiple late miscarriages, so his pregnancy was scary to say the least. Everything seemed to be going really well at the 20-week ultrasound and we slowly started to relax. After that, on one of our weekly ultrasounds it was picked up that his growth had slowed down significantly. I was admitted to hospital for monitoring purposes. I had CTGs twice a day and dopplers 2/3 times a week.

Boet was born on a Friday at 27+3 weeks gestation after a CTG showed decelerations in his heart rate. He was born with the cord triple around his neck. He weighted a whopping 689grams and was 30.6cm tall. He came out fighting and kept doing this his whole life. Initially things were going ok although he needed the ventilator to help him breath however after a few weeks it became clear that his lungs were struggling. He was transferred from the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, where he was born, to the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) here in Melbourne and was put on a jet ventilator specifically good for premmies with bad lungs.

It was at RCH that one day I walked in and I saw this big green hand lying in his cot. He was still on the ventilator back then and the hand was used to help position and settle him. Boet had a feisty character and whilst he was tiny he had a big personality. No matter how sick he was or what level of support he required, he found ways to communicate. Even whilst ventilated, not being able to use his voice, he would be by upping his blood pressure, desaturating, have thumping heart rates and high body temperature to show he was not happy. And when he wasn’t ventilated you could hear him through the corridors, doing a scream-off with other babies in the room. The big green Zaky hand quickly became very pivotal in Boet’s care and was always with him. And it was clear that for Boet, having The Zaky HUG giving him support and comfort, helped him greatly to be way less agitated.

One of the most traumatic events as a parent with a baby in hospital is leaving him behind each and every day. The Zaky not only helped Boet but it helped us as well,

One of the most traumatic events as a parent with a baby in hospital is leaving him behind each and every day. The Zaky not only helped Boet but it helped us as well, it was a great tool to help him settle and it smelled like us and home. When he was tiny it would fit around his whole body and when he was older and bigger it was used on his bum, belly or as a toy.

Unfortunately, after an 8.5-month battle in NICU our little hero and superstar passed away. His Zaky has a significant spot on his table. To honour and commemorate him we organised a fundraiser.

With the funds raised we are buying things to help babies and their families in hospital. We are super proud that, with Yamile and Zachary's The Zaky Cares Program, we were able to donate 33 Zaky HUGs to RCH and pay it forward!

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The Zaky HUGging Boet.

 I am Marijn (37), mum of 3 beautiful kids: Caat (7), Eef (5) and Boet (forever 8.5 months). We are originally from The Netherlands but moved to Australia almost 10 years ago. So where we still speak English with a Dutch accent, our girls speak Dutch with a proper Ozzie accent. My husband and I both work as management consultants here in Melbourne however since Boet’s birth and passing I have been focusing on our family. For our family, I wish that after everything that’s happened we can find positivity and a purpose to help, support and love other families that go through the greatest adversity ever imaginable, losing a child.