All eyes are on baby Kit McClymont, as his parents pour all their strength into his recovery as they rewrite their story of heartbreak.
The 10 week-old boy – who was due to be born this week – has been at the Royal Children’s Hospital since his first day of life.
It was feared he had suffered a perforation of his oesophagus during attempts to keep him alive after birth.
As Kit was rushed to the RCH, his identical twin brother Noah was on the precipice of life 700m up the road at the Royal Women’s Hospital.
Sammy Scott was home alone when she went into early labour at 26 weeks gestation.
When she arrived at the Women’s, the original plan was to give her steroids as a last-minute boost for her babies’ lungs as they waited for delivery on a later date.
But on further inspection doctors saw that Noah’s umbilical cord was already being delivered.
Within the hour, the boys were born via an emergency caesarean.
Ms Scott and partner Nathan McClymont took turns visiting Kit at the RCH, and being with Noah during his first and only week of life. The extent of damage to his brain from the prolapsed cord became apparent on day three.
Noah now watches over his brother. His photo rests above Kit’s cot in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where Kit continues his own struggle on the path to good health.
He has avoided surgery, with tests showing that the oesophageal perforation healed on its own.
Each morning when Ms Scott arrives from Ronald McDonald House in Fitzroy, she changes her son’s nappy, bathes him and holds him as he is feed milk – measured by the tens of mills – through a nasal gastric tube.
They world the pair now live in is one where the background noise of lullaby music is superseded by beeping machine and monitors, and cries from cots mimic mews of hungry kittens.
It is a ward where you need to follow the tubes and wires from the ventilators and infusion pumps to the cot, it find the hospital’s tiniest patients.
This is a world where it can be days or even weeks between cuddles.
Involving parents in the day-to-care of their sick newborns is a crucial part of the Butterfly ward’s Cocoon Care program.
Kit now needs to put on weight, grow and reduce his dependence on oxygen before he can be discharged home.
“The bigger that he gets you think it’s going to get easier, and it’s less time in here, but it gets harder. It feels like it’s never ending,” she said.
“Hope it keeping me going. The hospital has been amazing. The nurses become your family, but I’m looking forward now to making memories outside the hospital.”
To donate to The Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal please click here or phone 9292 1166.
Words Brigid O’Connell (Herald Sun), photos Jay Town.