It was the opening line of the song Airplanes, which resonated with Amy Lynch, as she was driving home from the hospital one night, eight years ago.

The song says "Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars, I could really use a wish right now," and, with her baby boy in hospital having been born at just 28 weeks, Lynch could really use a wish.

As the song played, a plane shot across the sky, Lynch looked up and asked her grandmother, who had passed away, to make her baby boy better,

Eight years later Xavier is a happy, healthy kid, and Lynch has channelled the traumatic first weeks of his life into a piece of art, a sculpture called I Wish.


The completion of the sculpture has co-incided with today's World Prematurity Day, a day celebrated in 50 countries across the world. It was on display at the Wildflower Sculpture Exhibition.

Lynch said having a child in the special care baby unit at Hawke's Bay Hospital sees both highs and lows, from hearing her baby had gained weight to getting calls in the middle of the night to say he was sick.

Xavier spent 10 weeks exactly in SCBU, coming home seven days before his due today.

Amy Lynch, her husband Josh and son Xavier, with the sculpture which was inspired by Xavier's premature birth. Photo / Supplied
Amy Lynch, her husband Josh and son Xavier, with the sculpture which was inspired by Xavier's premature birth. Photo / Supplied

Sarah Charteris , whose second daughter Nina was born at 30 weeks gestation, said if you have a child in SCBU, don't be too proud to ask for help, or to accept it when it's offered.

"If you know of someone who is going through it, your way of helping them is the meals, or offering to take their older children, or just coming and visiting at SCBU."

Nina went home when she was 2 months old, weighing 2.72kg (6 pounds), still smaller than the average baby.

Charteris said, even once Nina was home, having a premature baby was difficult, especially for Nina's older sister Penelope, who was anxious about her mother disappearing again.

"She had a lot of anxiety around me going anywhere because mummy had disappeared in the night on a plane."

"I'd never had a night away from her and we were going stretches of 14 days."

However, Charteris says she and her husband Blake know, when it comes to having a family, they are among the lucky ones.

"There are people who simply can't have a family and there are people who have way sicker babies than we did."

Now Nina is almost 3, and despite being small for her age, is doing well.

Both Charteris and Lynch said they were incredibly grateful to the team of nurses and doctors at SCBU.

"I look at my three babies everyday and know that if it wasn't for that hospital and its incredible staff, both in maternity and SCBU, we wouldn't be living in the beautiful chaos that we do," Charteris said.

"Those nurses are a lifeline to everyone going in there," Amy said.

"You can never say thank you enough."

In 2017 157 babies were born prematurely (before 37 weeks) in Hawke's Bay Hospital, about 7.5 per cent of total births.

The Neonatal Trust will be holding a morning tea for families and staff today to celebrate World Prematurity Day.