Diving into the new year

Australian Olympic swimmer Marieke D’Cruz gave birth to baby Camille last year at just 31 weeks at the Royal Hospital for Women.

Tiny Camille weighed just over one kilogram and required around the clock care. After spending time in the Royal Hospital for Women’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Marieke and her husband Jason recently took baby Camille home in time for the new year.

Marieke said the experience was both terrifying and humbling: “It was a crash course in parenting, not being able to control the outcome, no matter how hard you tried. I realised that the only thing I could control was how I responded to the situation.”

The D’Cruz family are looking forward to a bright future but say that not a day goes by without reflecting on how lucky they were to receive treatment at the Royal Hospital for Women, who care for over 1,000 premature and critically-ill babies each year, just like Camille. 

“It’s just wonderful being at home with her during the day, taking her out in the pram. It’s the first time she’s been in natural light,” Ms D’Cruz said.

“There’s always a baby that’s sick or having a harder time. I try to remind myself that staying in hospital for three months is a small price to pay to ensure our girl can live a happy and healthy life. We can’t thank all the wonderful nurses and doctors at the Royal Hospital for Women enough.”

Marieke represented Australia in the 2004 Athens Olympics and was a world champion in 2009 for both 50m butterfly and backstroke and has been a swimming reporter for Seven Network’s Sunrise program and Nine Network’s Today show.

Mother and baby