Walk for Prems in the Media
Some of the stories behind why people Walk For Prems
2019 Walk Stories
Mid last year our daughter Grace was born by emergency C-section at 35 weeks. Two days later she had surgery at Monash Children’s Hospital to remove a blockage in her bowel.
She ended up having two thirds of her bowel removed as it had not properly developed during pregnancy.
Through additional complications, Grace ended up having a total of three surgeries on her bowel and we spent 145 days at the Monash Children’s Hospital.
During this time Life’s Little Treasures gave us a community to talk to; people with similar circumstances.
CARMITA Valverde had to wait two days to hold her fourth child for the first time.
Little Mila was born prematurely at 33 weeks and two days in June, weighing just 2.37kg.
After crashing her car close to home in November, a week later she found out she was expecting.
“That caused a bit of a complicated pregnancy,” Ms Valverde said.
“At about 28 weeks, I went into premature labour for the first time. I had steroid shots and a whole heap of medication to try and stop labour.”
Then again, at 33 weeks, she presented back to the Mater Hospital in Brisbane where she ended up delivering by caesarean.
Jayden Strogusz was only 745 grams when he was born prematurely to his Springfield Lakes parents Samantha and Josh in August last year.
“He gave us two glorious weeks before he passed away on the 20th of August,” Samantha said.
“His lungs weren’t developed enough, so sadly we lost him.”
Jayden was born while Samantha was just 23 weeks pregnant.
In memory of their son, the couple will take part in the Walk for Prems at Sandgate on Sunday, October 27.
Thousands of people will take part in the event at locations around Australia to support the 48,000 premature or sick babies born in Australia every year.
“We did the walk last year and we’re doing it again this year, and we’re getting t-shirts made up,” Samantha said.
She said the couple heard about the walk during their stay in hospital.
Bell Post Hill’s Emily Connell is a lively and healthy five-year-old with “bundles of energy”.
But her entry into the world was anything but easy at 27 weeks premature and weighing
only 659 grams. Emily spent her first 98 days in hospital, an emotional “roller coaster” for mum Amanda.
“She had one or two nurses constantly monitoring her, there were multiple cords attached to her – she couldn’t breathe on her own because she was so small,” Amanda said “Leaving her at the end of the day was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”
The beginning of Amanda’s pregnancy was “completely normal” before a “lingering cold” at the 26-week mark.
Amanda saw her GP when she felt something was wrong.
Weighing a healthy 3.3kg and being a quiet baby, Ava was the perfect first child for Brianna Liebelt and her husband Bernie.
The couple joked their next child was going to be much tougher to handle – “a screamer or something” – and they were right.
During their second pregnancy Brianna’s waters ruptured at 18 weeks and she spent several weeks in hospital before baby Archie was born prematurely at 26 weeks, weighing
Archie spent 105 days in hospital and will be attached to an oxygen tank for at least the first six months of his life.
As she gets ready to step out to raise money and awareness for families affected by premature birth, Indiana Harley gets flashbacks to her son’s traumatic arrival.
Miss Harley’s second-born son Jackson entered the world 10 weeks early at King Edward
Memorial Hospital in Perth, six weeks after her waters first broke in her bathroom in May 2017 and she was put on bed rest.
“Prematurity has become such a high ratio and the journey sometimes doesn’t end at those hospital doors and it hasn’t for us with ongoing medical complications,” Miss Harley said.
Emily and Angus
WHEN Nicole Burton’s twins were born, they were small enough to both fit in one
hand. But it would be more than a week before she could hold her babies at all.
Conceived through IVF, after a difficult pregnancy twins Emily and Angus were born premature at 30 weeks.
With the combined weight of about 2.6 kilograms, they were about the size of a small
cabbage – each.
After being flown from Launceston the twins were born at the Royal Hobart Hospital.
They would go on to spend two months in the neonatal intensive care unit, where each day was touch and go.
Cohen and Harrison
THE Camilleri family will walk side by side at the 10th annual Walk for
Prems in Melbourne this October, in loving memory of their son
Two years ago Courtney and Ben Camilleri were excited to be expecting twins, but their whole world was “turned upside down” when Courtney went into early labour at 22 weeks into her pregnancy.
An emergency transport service took Courtney into Melbourne the following afternoon, after she had held off her labour under advice from doctors.
“She held on and held on because she was at 22 weeks and seven days and life isn’t viable at that stage,” Ben said.
“So it was a case of having to hold on until the next day which she did”.
Florelle, Obi, Jai and Kester
South Kingsville couple Sandhya and Benjamin Burriss have four children, three of whom
couldn’t wait to get into the world. Florelle, age three, and two-year-old twins, Obi and Jai, are all “prem babies” who were born before 37 weeks gestation.
The family, whose latest addition, Kester, nine months, was born at 37 weeks, is taking part in this month’s Walk for Prems.
Orlando was not expected to survive seven years ago, when he was born at 23 weeks.
Now thriving, the Tharawal Public School Illawong pupil has not only caught up to his peers, he is on track to helping other bubs who followed in his first tiny footsteps.
Orlando’s mother, Menai’s Stephanie Stojanovski, 32, went into labour at 23 weeks. Orlando spent four months in special care.
“I started bleeding and by the time I got to hospital, my cervix was open,” she said.
“There was no way of stopping the labour. I had no warning signs. The survival rate was low, we were given all the talks.
“He only weighed 696 grams and was almost doll-like. He had to be on ventilation because his lungs were extremely underdeveloped. He was also born with his eyes fused shut because they hadn’t opened yet.
Haley Orme lives in Yarra’s Edge and will join the Melbourne walk in Albert Park with her 18-month-old son Xavier.
“Xavier was born at 30 weeks. I had to go to hospital because I had stomach pain and it turned out I had something called HELLP syndrome,” Haley said.
“My liver and platelets were dropping, so it was my body shutting down not Xavier’s. They stabilised me and took him out via caesarean.”
Haley didn’t see Xavier until the next day and due to his premature birth, he developed a hole in his lungs. He breathed through a chest tube for a week, when his lungs had healed enough to breathe on his own.
“His first week of life was a bit crap but from then on he was doing really well,” Haley said.
But Haley’s recovery was months long.
Hoor Jehan Noorani is a Lenah Valley resident who has been participating in the walks since her son Areeb was born premature three years ago.
“Areeb was born at 800 grams,” Mrs Noorani said.
“It took 11 days for me to be able to hold him because he was too delicate, his skin was too delicate, and he was on breathing support – that just became so normal for us.”
Mrs Noorani said Areeb was born at 26 weeks and had to be kept in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for three months.
“I had to leave my job, but I would be there with him from the morning to the evening for the whole three months and my husband would come straight after work,” she said.
“It was really difficult to try and juggle home and going to the hospital every day.
Harrison and Oliver
The stress of having to leave her newborn twin sons at hospital sent Buderim mum Rachel Kenny into meltdown.
Her boys Harrison and Oliver arrived six weeks premature and had to spend the next two weeks in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit in incubators.
“You never think it would happen to you and I didn’t realise the support I would need until I was in that position,” Rachel said.
She said the hardest part for her was having to leave them at night.
“I had a bit of a meltdown because it was terrible having to leave someone else to look after them when I felt that I was meant to be,” Rachel said.
“It was scary seeing them in the humidity cribs needing oxygen and thinking that they wouldn’t be here without that.
To see little Piper walking around now you would never know the challenges she faced during her first weeks of life.
Andrina Anderson was 30 weeks pregnant in January 2018 when she felt the baby’s movement diminish, and decided with her husband Gary that it would be best to get it checked out.
Within hours of arriving at Sunshine Hospital she had given birth to Piper via cesarean.
“They found that Piper’s heart rate was going super high and then super low so said it was better to have her out than in,” Andrina said.
“They later said if they’d waited just a few more hours she may have died.
“Later that day she was transferred to Heidelberg Mercy Hospital for more tests and monitoring, which is where she was for about 42 days.”
Andrina said having a premature birth had its challenges for their family.
Baby Evelyn is a little blessing.
Evelyn was born via cesarean at 27 weeks to first-time parents Aisling Maher and Jayson Vella after Ms Maher suffered from a rare condition known as HELLP syndrome – a complication with high blood pressure during pregnancy.
“It was completely out of the blue,” Ms Maher said. “It happens in one per cent of all pregnancies.”
The Sunbury couple was in Ireland visiting family at the time.
Evelyn weighed only 1.26 kilograms at birth and had to stay in Ireland for five months.
“She wasn’t sick when she was born but she was undercooked,” Ms Maher said.
A walk later this month will celebrate children like young Connor.
The Hoppers Crossing boy and his mother, Kerrie Watkins, have taken part in Walk for Prems the past two years.
The annual event raises funds for Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting the families of babies born sick or prior to 37 weeks gestation.
Miss Watkins said that during 2016, when she was 22 weeks pregnant, she started having severe migraines.
She was referred to Sunshine Hospital, where she was given medication to help her rising blood pressure and a steroid injection to help Connor’s lung development.
Miss Watkins was then transferred to the Royal Women’s Hospital, where she developed pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome.
With medication still not helping her rising blood pressure, Miss Watkins was told that she needed an emergency cesarean.
When Emiliana Devincenzi was born at 25 weeks she weighed just 173 grams and fit inside her father’s hand.
Now, 13 months later, she is a perfectly healthy and happy little girl.
Her mother Fatima Devincenzi will join the Walk for Prems on October 27 to raise money for families with premature or sick babies.
The main fundraiser for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, Walk for Prems has raised more than $1.8 million since it began 10 years ago.
For the Rosanna mum it is a small part she can play in repaying the love and support she received while going through a personal nightmare.
Angus and Emily
When Nicole Burton’s twins were born, they were small enough to both fit in one hand. But it would be more than a week before she could hold her babies at all.
Conceived through IVF, after a difficult pregnancy twins Emily and Angus were born at 30 weeks.
With the combined weight of about 2.6 kilograms, they were about the size of a small cabbage – each.
After being flown from Launceston the twins were born at the Royal Hobart Hospital. They would go on to spend two months in the neonatal intensive care unit, where each day was touch and go.
Describing the experience as surreal, Ms Burton said she was still coming to terms with it.
Madeleine weighed just 565 grams when she arrived in the world.
Born premature at 25 weeks and six days in December 2017, her lungs were the size of kidney beans.
She spent 127 days in hospital before she could be taken home by her parents Jess and Chris Cooley, clear of complications.
Next month, the family of three will take part in the Walk for Prems 2019 for the second year in a row.
Mrs Cooley said it is an important cause for her to be a part of.
“She defied the odds,” Mrs Cooley said.
It’s a challenge adjusting to life as new parents. A change made that much more harder if you have a baby which is born prematurely.
Bonny Hills residents Kim and Glen Calvert’s beautiful baby daughter Macie was born two months early on March 7. Kim’s original due date was May 4.
Kim said it was a rough start to parenthood but they have been blessed that Macie was a relatively healthy premature baby.
When David and Serena Arnold’s son Thomas arrived at 30 weeks gestation, their expectations of parenthood were thrown into disarray.
Serena was unable to give birth at West Gippsland Hospital and was admitted to Monash Medical Centre, Clayton so their baby could be born into the immediate care of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Thomas had stopped growing at 28 weeks and weighed just 1200 grams when he was born in April 2008.
Max, Lee, Zoe and Emma
Watching these three toddlers playing chasey around a tree would bring a smile to anyone’s dial.
They’re just bursting with life.
But behind the smiles of Shepparton mums Miranda Berry and Ruth Boyd lie months of uncertainty, fear and — in Ruth’s case — loss.
Miranda’s 20-month-old twins Zoe and Emma were born at 25 weeks gestation — 14 weeks premature. Emma weighed an astonishing 662g, while her bigger sister tipped the scales at 698g.
Ruth’s two-year-old toddler Max came into the world at 26 weeks gestation, weighing 930g while his bigger brother Lee weighed 940g.
As with most premature births, both sets of twins faced severe breathing problems because of underdeveloped lungs.
Sadly, Lee’s complications were made worse with a hole in one of his lungs and he died after just 34 hours of life.
SHELDON author Michelle Worthington and son Tom, 3, will march at the head of the pack as ambassadors for this year’s Life’s Little Treasures Foundation’s Walk for Prems.
Ms Worthington – who gave birth to Tom at 28 weeks, weighing just 1350 grams – wrote her picture book My Brother Tom for families of premature babies.
The book helps older siblings of premature babies to make sense of what is happening at a difficult time. Funds raised through book sales go towards Life’s Little Treasures Foundation.
2018 Walk Stories
For anyone who has had a premature baby, you will understand what a stressful time it can be for the parents.
Often mothers are separated from the babies as soon as they give birth and may wait some time until they know how their new baby is ok.
Tomorrow, families across Australia will join Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, Australia’s foremost charity dedicated to supporting the families of babies born sick or prior to 37 weeks gestation in the Walk for Prems 2018. Shusannah Morris is Co Founder / CEO of the charity and spoke to Warren Moore.
HAWTHORNE’S Lucas and Teresa Wasiak and their son Ari will be among thousands of families nationwide tomorrow walking in support of the 48,000 premature or sick babies born in Australia every year.
Walk for Prems is the largest annual fundraiser for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting the families of babies born sick or prior to 37 weeks gestation.
Ari Wasiak was born on March 29, 2013 – Good Friday. He was born at 31 weeks and three days, weighing in at 1.7kg.
Mr Wasiak said Ari spent the first six weeks of his life in hospital.
“The hardest part was leaving him behind in the hospital and not taking him home,” he said.
MORE than 100 Tasmanian families took to the Montrose Foreshore to walk side-by-side in support of the 48,000 premature or sick babies born in Australia every year.
Walk For Prems, a national campaign supporting families of premature babies, took place across all Australian capital cities yesterday with 115 Tasmanians signing up for the Hobart leg.
The walk began with a moment to pay respects to families who’ve lost babies, before a ceremonial release of white doves was cast into the sky.
Among those who took part was Sarah Taylor, who showed off a colourful display of purple balloons for her baby Violet, born 13 weeks premature.
Six weeks before she was due to give birth to the miracle baby that took six heartbreaking rounds of IVF treatment to conceive, Nadine Craig received news no expecting mother wants to hear.
Doctors conducting her 34-week prenatal scan on July 11, 2012, found her baby girl had intrauterine growth restriction and had stopped growing at 29 weeks.
Mrs Craig was told her daughter needed to be delivered as soon as possible or she would not survive.
Fortunately Autumn-Rose was healthy, but she needed to spend four weeks in the special care nursery at Joondalup Health Campus to “fatten up”.
Haylee and Leah
The Goulburn Valley walk was organised by Wunghnu’s Katrina Brereton who walked with her daughter Haylee, who was born a prem.
Also walking were Sue Charlton and Glenn Willis from Katunga, with their daughter Leah Willis.
Now a thriving 10 year-old who is tall for her age, Leah weighed just 708g when she was born one day short of 25 weeks gestation.
Sue said that although the family considers themselves extremely lucky, even 10 years on the emotions of Leah’s first months are still raw.
“Leah was in hospital for nearly four months and it was a real roller-coaster,” she said.
Megan Denby’s son Huon weighed just one kilogram when he was born and spent the first 13 weeks of his life In a Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit. II was five days before she even got to hold her tiny newborn baby.
The annual Walk for Prems has a special significant for this Phillip Island Mum.
On October 28. across Australia people walked to support sick and premature babies. This was the ninth year for the walk which has so far raised $I.4 million to provide vital support services for families in need.
Raising awareness of the issues faced by these tiny babies and their families was a key motivator for Megan to support this year’s walk.
Summer and Harper
WANGARATTA couple Stephanie Lloyd and Chris Crabb helped raise more than $3500 to support the families of premature babies, like their daughters Harper and Summer, by taking part in last weekend’s Walk for Prems in Melbourne.
Stephanie and Chris, along with a team of family and friends, completed Sunday’s 5km walk around Albert Park Lake, which was conducted by the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation.
The couple called their team Summer’s Legacy in honour of one of their premature twin girls, who passed away in April last year; Summer’s twin, Harper, walked, took piggy back rides and had turns in the pram to also take part in the walk.
On Sunday 28th October, families across Australia will walk together in support of the 48,000 premature or sick babies born in Australia every year.
In its 9th year, Walk for Prems will take place simultaneously in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra and Perth – as well as regional locations such as Cairns, Townsville, Ballarat, Goulburn Valley & Gippsland.
In Ballarat, the event will be held at Lake Wendouree, in its 2nd year, starting with registrations at 9am and the official welcome and walk from 10am. 3BA’s PT spoke with walk organiser Samantha Prowse about the event and how you can become involved.
With 1 in 6 babies being born premature, the impact of premature births is significant and traumatic for many families. Rusty Benson, ambassador and board member of Life’s Little Treasuresfoundation joined Mat on the Mag to discuss the the work that the foundation does to provide support, friendship and information for families of premature or sick babies. The organisation was started in 2005 by a group of parents who saw the lack of support provided in this area and wanted to do something about it.
On Sunday 28th October, families across Australia will walk together in support of the 48,000 premature or sick babies born in Australia every year. In its 9th year, Life’s Little Treasure’s Walk for Prems will take place simultaneously in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra and Perth – as well as regional locations such as Cairns, Townsville, Ballarat, Goulburn Valley & Gippsland.
Henry and Lily
This will be the second time the Browns have been part of the walk, and the first time the twins have graduated from their pram to walk under their own steam.
Mrs Brown was 30 weeks pregnant with the twins when her waters broke in the middle of the night and she went into labour in November 2016.
With both babies in difficult breach positions, the twins were delivered by caesarean soon after she arrived at the Royal Hobart Hospital.
“When they were delivered we heard the tiniest little squeak from both of them, just the tiniest little meow.”
Every mother dreams of the first moment they get to hold their newborn after birth but for Penrith resident Paige Harty, complications forced her to wait 17 days until she had her chance.
In a hurry to enter the world, her two identical twin boys were born at 28 weeks and immediately rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Nepean Hospital, where they stayed for the next nine weeks.
Born a tiny 1.4kg and just 32cm long, the boys were immediately put on life support due to their lungs not working on their own.
“Not knowing the outcome was numbing – just like my legs – I had to wait the longest five hours of my life to see my little guys,” Ms Harty said.
Now 16-months-old and 12kgs, the twins are happy, healthy growing babies.
IN SUMMER’S MEMORY STEPHANIE Lloyd and daughter Harper will remember Harper’s twin, Summer, when they take part in the Walk for Prems in Melbourne this Sunday.
Summer was five weeks old when she passed away last year.
Stephanie, partner Chris Crabb, and their daughter Harper will be joined by other Wangaratta residents in their ‘Summer’s Legacy’ team in Sunday’s walk.
Hampton parents Jeremy Skanthalingam and Narelle Toohey will take part in this year’s Walk for Prems on Sunday with their son Lachlan.
Lachlan was born prematurely and spent 83 days in hospital.
While there, Lachlan and his parents received support from Little Treasures Foundation – a charity dedicated to supporting the families of babies born sick or prior to 37 weeks gestation.
“Lachlan is doing really well now and this is because of the support we received from Little Treasures and the great work of the doctors and nurses,” Mr Skanthalingam said. “Doing the walk is our way of paying back the fantastic support we received.” The Skanthalingams expect to raise $1000 by the time the walk begins.
Emma and Zoe
Shepparton couple Miranda and Steven Berry thank their lucky stars each day for their healthy twin girls.
Emma and Zoe Berry were delivered via emergency c-section earlier this year when Mrs Berry was just 25 weeks pregnant.
Following a previous un-viable premature birth at 19 weeks, Mrs Berry said they feared the worst when she was rushed to hospital.
‘‘Considering our past experience we knew viable age so it was very, very terrifying, it felt the same as last time except we were six weeks later,’’ she said.
‘‘It was very scary and the doctors kept saying that we were at a viable age and the girls would be fine, however, obviously there are risks involved being premature babies.’’
The first question Kambalda resident Leah Lynham asked when she woke from giving birth under general anaesthetic was, “is my baby alive?” Her son Harry Lynham was born prematurely at 34 weeks on February 24 in Kalgoorlie this year.
“It was 4am when my waters broke and we had to be flown out of Kalgoorlie by the Royal Flying Doctors Service to King Edward Memorial Hospital,” Ms Lynham said.
At the hospital, the largest maternity centre and only referral centre for complex pregnancies in WA, Leah could not see her baby for six hours after giving birth.
Harry was placed in the neonatal unit as a level three premature baby for 24 hours before he was moved to the level one nursery where he stayed for 11 days.
“It was horrible, you have a baby and you expect to have them with you as soon as they’re born,” Ms Lynham said.
LIKE most parents, Kasey and Daniel Carr were excited by the prospect of bringing their new baby home.
But it would be more than 10 weeks before little Londyn Rose was able to join the couple at their Wakerley home.
Born just 27 weeks into the pregnancy, the little girl was one of 48,000 premature and sick babies born in Australia every year.
“It’s a pretty big shock to the system and for us there were no warning signs,” Mrs Carr said.
“She was under a kilo when she was born and seeing your baby hooked up to all the machines was pretty confronting.
“I don’t think anything can prepare you for it.”
Logan Hospital Staff
Hospital staff take part in walk for premature babies
IT is meant to be one of the happiest days of a parent’s life, but for many the birth of a premature baby can be nothing short of traumatic.
During her time working in Logan’s neonatal ward, Katherine Lawlor has seen hundreds of premature babies, and impact these births can have on parents.
Ms Lawlor said the unexpected early arrival of these vulnerable babies causes not only health complications for the infant, but stress for the entire family.
“For many it will be the first and biggest stressful event in their lives to date,” the nurse unit manager for Logan Bayside said.
“Everyone has expectations of what it will be like to give birth but when the baby is premature you have an immediate grief situation,” she said.
Looking at little Alexia Hanna, you would have no idea she had a rocky start to life.
Alexia was born via an emergency c-section at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on October 12 last year, after mum Lisa was forced to call an ambulance.
“Until he (the obstetrician) said ‘she’s out she’s fine’, that’s when I took my next breath,” Lisa, who now resides in Berwick, said.
“I didn’t get to hold her. The nurses whisked her away.” Dad Mina missed Alexia’s birth. He was working in Melbourne, where the Hannas were preparing to relocate to, when Lisa’s placenta ruptured.
Like many first time mums, Lisa thought she would go over her due date and told her husband not to worry about leaving her in Sydney to begin his new job down south.
Brianna, Daniel and Chloe
A WATTLE Grove family will join thousands of people across the country in the Walk for Prems on Sunday, October 28.
The annual event supports Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, a charity which helps families of babies born sick or prior to 37 weeks gestation and this year they hope to raise $300,000.
Mother of three Jane Moukhallalati said it was a personal event for her family.
Her twin girls are 16 and her son is 11 and they were all premature babies.
WHEN Indiana Harley gave birth to her son Jackson last June, he was tiny and born 10 weeks early.
Now with a healthy one-year-old, the Beeliar resident wants to give back to not-for-profit organisation Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, which helped her through the early days of raising her premature baby.
Ms Harley will be among hundreds who will take part in this month’s 2018 Walk for Prems at Sir James Mitchell Park in support of premature and sick babies.
She said her own experience had made the issue an important one for her and her family.
WALK for Prems is an event very close to Ashlee Ralph’s heart.
In August 2017, Ms Ralph’s son Nate was born prematurely.
“I had my son at 27 weeks, and he passed away after four months,” she said.
“When Nate was first born, he had millions of dollars worth of equipment around him trying to keep him alive.
“You have no idea what it’s like until you’re in that situation. You’ve just got to push on.”
JUST 25 weeks into her pregnancy, Ellenbrook mother Emma McKenna’s waters broke and she was rushed to King Edward Memorial Hospital so doctors could try to stop her labour.
The first-time mum said it was a frightening experience knowing her baby might not survive being born so early. When Ms McKenna was 30 weeks pregnant the contractions could not be stopped.
“I have spina bifida, so Billie was born via C-section under general anaesthetic and arrived weighing 1.5kg on November 24, 2016,” she said.
On October 28, Ms Bathgate will walk in support of the 48,000 premature or sick babies born in Australia each year.
ILZE Tipton describes her son Noah as a miracle baby.
The Leeming resident delivered Noah after 36 weeks when she was living in Melbourne with her husband Beau in May.
“When I was 28 weeks pregnant I was told he would be a premature baby and so there were regular ultrasounds and check-ups.
When he was born he wasn’t breathing, although they didn’t tell me how lifethreatening the situation was,” she said.
“I only had skin-on-skin contact for two seconds and they took him to the nursery; I was totally confused by the situation.
Traralgon mum Gemma Kaiser was not expecting that she would be on the receiving end of something she had supported a few months earlier.
The 30-year-old pharmacist will join this month’s Walk for Prems in Melbourne in support of Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, a charity supporting families of premature and sick babies.
In May, Mrs Kaiser donated to the charity after her sister gave birth to a premature baby at 31 weeks in Geelong.
She had no idea it would be her turn two months later.
When Bailey Goodwin was born at 26 weeks he weighed 702 grams and within two days needed major bowel surgery. He then spent the next 150 days in the neonatal intensive care unit at Monash Childrens Hospital.
On Sunday 28 October, the Seville schoolboy, will stride out as a thriving 7 year old to walk five kilometres around Albert Park Lake in the annual Walk for Prems.
“We were pretty lucky that our little boy got through this and the support we received got us through, even if took time for us to reach out and accept help,” said mum, Jade.
Olivia and Kyle
WHAT should have been a joyous occasion welcoming their twins into the world became a terrifying experience for Redcliffe parents Katrina Prodger and Dave Kinder.
At 23 weeks pregnant, Ms Prodger was admitted to hospital and eight days later, when it was “just considered viable”, she gave birth to Olivia and Kyle.
Weighing just 600 grams each, the premature bubs were rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) where they were treated by a team of physicians at King Edward Hospital.
Chase, Ila and Demi
BETTINA WARBURTON CASSIE and Damien Jenkins know how to live with hope.
When their triplets were born at only 28 weeks gestation, they watched as Chase, Ila and Demi clung to life.
“Watching our babies connected to all the lifesaving machines was so hard, as was not being able to hold them,” Mrs Jenkins said.
“We were never sure we would leave the hospital with three healthy living babies.
“That is the most frightening part of it all. We had to live in hope that all would be OK with our babies.” The couple spent up to four months in the neonatal intensive care unit and special care nursery before they were able to take their children home.
When baby Banjo arrived prematurely, young mum Tiffany Hayman was left scared and uncertain about the future of her little treasure.
Banjo, weighing just two kilograms, was born nine weeks earlier than expected with several health issues including trouble breathing.
The Menangle resident was sitting in a waiting room when she discovered Life’s Little Treasures books which provided an unexpected source of hope.
LOOKING at energetic, active and independent toddler Mayla Murtagh you would not guess she was born premature, weighing just 990g and spent the first four months of her life in hospital.
Mildura mum Nicole Murtagh had a completely normal pregnancy until the 27 week mark when she had a placental abruption while at work, which resulted in her delivering three months early.
“It was pretty scary, within an hour of getting to the (Mildura Base) hospital we were told they had to deliver Mayla and possibly do a hysterectomy given some of the blood damage going on, but the whole team on the day were unbelievable,” she said.
Kye Wilkinson is an energetic five year old who loves dinosaurs and Carlton Football Club.
But the McCrae boy’s entry into the world was dramatic – he was born at 27 weeks and weighing just 1.2kg.
Kye spent the first 72 days of his life in hospital and mum Sarah, recalls the time as arollercoaster
“You don’t know it’s going to happen, until it then happens.”
These are the words of Warragul mother Serena Arnold upon reflecting on the birth of her now 10-year-old son Thomas.
Serena was just 32 weeks pregnant when she was rushed to a Melbourne hospital. Thomas was born weighing just 1.2kg and, as a result, spent five weeks in the NICU.
Not particularly concerned, but unable to get rid of a worried feeling, Jacquie Smith from Monbulk drives to The Angliss hospital hoping everything is ok.
She’s 31 weeks pregnant – surely her baby can’t be arriving, she thinks.
“I had contractions on the early Saturday and by Sunday lunch time I went into the Angliss hospital,” she said.
“Alexcia was born three hours later.”
COURTNEY Austin and Bradley Hermann were told to prepare for the worst after doctors performed an emergency c section at only 27 weeks and six days gestation.
Their daughter Amelia weighed only 550 grams, faced multiple surgeries and was put on oxygen for the first year of her life.
Now the Bellara family is taking part in the Walk for Prems in Sandgate on October 28 with their four older sons.
William and Penelope
They weren’t baked for very long but the mix was right.
That’s how Altona Meadows couple Kimberlee and Sam Blyth refer to the premature births of their two children.
The pair are taking part in the Walk for Prems, the largest annual fundraiser for Life’s Little Treasures Foundation supporting families of babies born sick or before 37 weeks.
Their oldest, four-year-old William, was born at 25 weeks and one day, weighing just 750 grams.
“He fitted in the palm of our hand,” Ms Blyth said. “He was our first and we were with him for 125 days in the neonatal intensive care unit.
FAMILIES from across Australia will come together for several walk events on Sunday, October 28 in support of the 48,000 premature or sick babies born in Australia every year, with local resident and mum of a premature baby, Katrina Brereton organising an event in Nathalia.
Katrina said, “My little girl, Haylee, was born at 31 weeks and weighed 3 pound 2, and while I was in the hospital the nurse told me about the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation and after giving them a call to talk about Haylee and what to do next, I found them to be a great support so it’s nice to be able to do something like this walk to give back to them.
Mattia and Manuel
BALGA mother Daniela Bianco and her family are raising awareness of premature births ahead of the Walk for Prems 2018, after her premature twins spent 86 days in hospital.
Ms Bianco has joined fellow mothers to form the Neomates team, which is raising funds for charity Life’s Little Treasures Foundation ahead of the walk, held at the South Perth foreshore on October 28.
Her twin sons Mattia and Manuel were born 13 weeks early on March 29 at King Edward Memorial Hospital.
Not particularly worried, but unable to get rid of a niggling feeling, Alyson Myers drives herself to Bacchus Marsh hospital hoping for assurance everything is OK.
She’s only 24 weeks and six days pregnant – surely her baby can’t be arriving? She wonders if it is even possible for babies born so early to survive.
“It was Labour Day, ironically, and the [hospital] staff told me I was already two centimetres dilated,” she recalls.
She’s given drugs to stop the labour and steroids to speed up the development of her baby’s lungs before being rushed into a waiting ambulance and – with lights and sirens on – taken to Mercy Hospital in Heidelberg.
By the time Ms Myers is finished the 70-kilometre trip to hospital, she is six centimetres dilated and in active labour.
Ruby and Zoe
A REDBANK Plains family that had two daughters arrive into this world prematurely will be taking part in the upcoming Walk for Prems event in Brisbane.
On Sunday, October 28, Rachael Turner, husband Ben and daughters Ruby and Zoe, will join thousands of other families across the country to walk together in support of the 48,000 premature or sick babies born in Australia every year.
WHERE do I begin? Someone once told me that once you hold your baby for the first time, you will love like you have never loved before, experience an unexplainable feeling that you will forever have.
On May 29 at 12.32pm, I felt that love, that instant connection. Suddenly life felt complete and it was because I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, Willow. She was taken from me almost immediately and put straight into an incubator for instant care.
When Amanda Harris fell pregnant four years ago, the first-time mum of Cranbourne West was over the moon.
But what happened in the days after Amanda gave birth to little Amelia was more devastating than she or her husband Paul could have imagined.
When Amelia was born at 28 weeks and five days, weighing only 705 grams in March 2014 – she was diagnosed with Necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease that develops when the tissue in the inner lining of the small or large intestine becomes damaged and begins to die.
“In the end we decided to switch off her life support,” says Amanda. “She passed away when she was 21 days old.”
BORN at just 29 weeks, Carter Hay defied the survival odds and is now a thriving 22- month-old. In gratitude, parents James and Brittany Hay, will walk this month to raise money for other premature babies and their families.
The Mawson Lakes couple hope the proceeds from Life’s Little Treasures Foundation Walk for Prems will give other families support in the tough times following the birth of a premature baby. “Some families gave us support and advice and it was the best thing for us,” Mr Hay, 29, said. “So we’re hoping that, with anyone else it happens to, we can give them some help.” Nearly 50,000 sick or premature babies are born in Australia each year.
A Corio couple is joining families across the nation in a fund-raising campaign and walk together in support of the 48,000 premature or sick babies born in Australia every year.
Lena Phillips and her partner Steve Moxon have already raised $1000 through online donations and direct support of clients at his gym The Training Room Geelong.
In March this year their son Tyson Anthony Moxon, now six month old, was born a tiny 1.9kg at 36 weeks.
Lena said the trio would be participating in the Walk for Prems 2018 to recognise some of the invaluable support they had received from Life’s Little Treasures Foundation.
Jorja Ermel and Daniel Lambert join in Walk for Prems to raise funds for premature and sick babies
Knox Lambert was two weeks old before his parents Jorja Ermel and Daniel Lambert could hold him. It wasn’t how the Eaglehawk couple had pictured their first cuddle. Knox was covered in IV lines and monitors. A nurse put him on their chest, where they had to hold him completely still. It made everything feel like they hadn’t imagining the past fortnight. Baby Knox was born unexpectedly and quite sick at 33 weeks in January.
Lucy and Layla
Eight-year-old Anabell Bowey is leading her Lock family on a charity walk in Adelaide for premature babies, inspired by the story of her twin sisters.
Lucy and Layla Bowey were born premature at 31 weeks, leaving Lucy with a series of health complications.
Parents Donna and Daniel faced an uphill battle to finance frequent trips to Adelaide while taking care of elder daughters Anabell and Rosie.
Donna Bowey said Lucy’s health issues dominated the first year of her and Layla’s life.
Seth and John
GIVING birth to a premature baby can be a daunting and terrifying experience for any prospective mother. But for one Nyah West mother, this became her reality with both her sons born premature in the span of less than two years.
That’s why Jacqui Klabbers is heading to the Goulburn Valley next month to take part in the Walk for Prems 2018 with both sons, Seth and John. Seth is now 21 months’ old and was born 12 weeks premature, weighing 1130 grams.
If baby Rory had decided not to make his way into the world early, he may not have made it at all.
The little boy was born at 30 weeks on October 4, 2017, after his mother Angela Chau, 29, went into labour.
“I was feeling weird pains and they ended up being real contractions,” she said. “I had steroid injections and after a 48 hour labour, he let out a little cry and I burst into tears.”
Rory weighed just 1398 grams and measured 38 centimetres – not much bigger than a one litre bottle of juice. His tiny hands could wrap around an adult finger.
My second daughter Willow was born at 28 weeks – three months premature – but she measured in at 24.5 weeks and weighed just 743 grams. The pregnancy had been progressing well – other than lots of throwing up – until I stopped feeling my baby’s movements one weekend.
I mentioned the lack of movement to my mum, who told me to keep an eye on it. My first pregnancy had been completely smooth sailing, so I didn’t think there could be something seriously wrong.
2017 Walk Stories
Layla and Miracle
The only way identical twin baby girls Layla and Miracle Pearce can be told apart is by their chubby cheeks.
The tiny babies are the newest addition to the Pearce family and made quite a dramatic debut when they arrived eight weeks early. Since they were born on July 20, parents Lalaine and Jay Pearce have fed the girls 1140 bottles and changed 1520 nappies.
llLL nine Pearce family members, including baby twin girls Miracle and Layla, will be lacing up their shoes and setting off to help support the services that supported them. On Sunday, October 29, people across Australia will join them to walk together in support of the 48,000 premature or sick babies born in Australia every year.
Mrs Peace said it was a way for her and her family to show their thanks to the nurses and hospital staff who helped them bring Layla and Miracle home.
WHEN Zoee Hall (1) was born three months early, she was so small her father’s wedding band fitted on her arm. Parents Breigh and Daniel’s heartache at seeing their newborn daughter in intensive care and not being able to hold her has motivated them to join this month’s Walk for Prems in the Perth on October 29 along with other families across Australia.
DECEPTION BAY family will pull on their walking shoes and take part in this year’s Walk For Prems fundraiser – a cause close to their hearts. Lisa Mitchell gave birth to her son Lucas, now seven, at 25 weeks and five days.
Champion swimmer’s Brooke Hanson plans to dedicate her leg of the Commonwealth Games baton relay to her prematurely born son Jack who never got the chance to feel the sand between his toes. Mrs Hanson, who plans to have sons Cooper (8) and Billy (3) and daughter Mathilda (2) run the baton alongside her, is an ambassador for Life’s Little Treasures Foundation which supports families dealing with sick and premature babies.
Jessica Harvey, her husband, son and friends are walking to raise money so that the foundation can continue to support families with premature babies. Jessica’s Lachlan was born at 31 weeks and 1.725kg. A year later, Jessica and her team will be walking 30am 29th of October at The Village Green, Barwon Park Road, St Peters.
In a bid to help other parents with premature babies, Mrs Kerri-Anne Cali and Josh will take part in the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation’s Walk for Prems on Sunday, October 29. The walk raises money and awareness for the foundation, which provides support for parents of premature babies. They will be joined by three of Josh’s best friends and their mums.
Falcon mum Kira Campbell will be supporting a cause close to her heart when she participates in the 2017 Walk for Prems this October. For mums like Ms Campbell, whose daughter Annelise was born 11 weeks early, it’s a chance to raise awareness for those dealing with the struggles of a prematurely-born baby.
2016 Walk Stories
Mothers Beacon of hope
JENNA Corby-McDermott knows first-hand the challenges faced when giving birth to a premature baby. The Rosedale woman gave birth to twin boys Oakley and Knox in December 2014 at 31 weeks after experiencing spontaneous pre-term labour – when a woman goes into labour before 37 weeks. Jenna, a single mum was alone in a Melbourne hospital by her boys’ sides for about seven weeks until they were well enough to return home. She described the experience as “lonely and daunting” and believed things could have been “a lot harder” if not for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation. Upon the boys’ birth, Jenna was presented with a folder from the foundation with “heaps of useful things that helped in the early days”, including what to expect as a parent of premature infants, a breakdown of medical terminology and contact numbers. Buy one driving lesson, Get one free “That folder was amazing… when the doctor tells you your son (Knox) has a brain bleed you’re in such shock you forget to ask questions.But then I could go back to the folder and realise ‘ok, it’s actually quite common’,” Jenna said. She also attended weekly meetings over coffee organised by the support service. “It was great; when you have a baby in hospital you tend to spend all day, every day next to the cots. It gets repetitive and lonely,” Jenna said. “I found the weekly coffee catch ups were enough to sort of refresh your mind before I went back to the boys.” As a way to say thank you to the foundation that “had been there through some of my toughest moments” Jenna and the twins, now thriving and almost two, will participate in the annual Walk for Prems on Sunday. Walk for Prems is a national fundraiser hosted by the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation to Buy one driving lesson, Get one free bring awareness and recognition to sick and premature babies and their families. This year, Victorian participants will take a stroll around Albert Park Lake to fundraise for the charity, followed by a picnic and live entertainment. “It’s my way of giving back to them,” Jenna said. “I wanted to do it last year but their (twins) immune systems were not up to it.” All funds raised will go directly to the charity and be used to provide support and education initiatives to families of premature and sick children. “Just knowing that Life’s Little Treasures, that someone is there and willing to listen and offer that support if I need it makes all the difference,” Jenna said. “They do such great work and I’d like to see it continue.”
Twenty-five-week premmie fighting fit
LITTLE Tobias Hollis-Tobin and his mother Jodie are lucky to have survived birth, let alone the 81 days intensive care that followed. After going into labour just 25 weeks into her pregnancy, complications arose and doctors informed the family that Tobias and Jodie wouldn’t make it. Jodie was put to sleep and emergency forceps were used to save both their lives. Tobias weighed just 886g, was smaller than a 600ml Coke bottle and was suffering from multiple life-threatening conditions, including bleeding on the brain. Tobias’ grandmother Mickie recalled the harrowing moments that almost robbed her of a child and grandchild. “We thought everything would be fine, but then I received a call saying she’s gone into emergency and they were losing her and her baby – and I was devastated,” Mickie said. “Thank God the surgeon saved my daughter and delivered our baby boy Tobias. “It was frightening how small a baby he was … his little foot was the size of my thumb.” The next few weeks were just as horrific as Jodie recovered and Tobias spent his first nine days in isolation from his family. “He was born with a hernia, a hole in his heart and blood on the brain – going through all this happens to premmies (premature babies) because they’re born so early, but it doesn’t prepare you for the shock,” Mickie said. “Then she (Jodie) was watching everyone else come in and leaving with their babies, which was heartbreaking to watch.
“It’s mentally and physically draining because you don’t sleep out of panic you’ll get a phone call from the hospital.” Tobias was Jodie’s third child and her second premature child after her daughter Ariella was the first at 33 weeks. Tobias is now four-months-old despite his original due date of October 10. He is still deaf in one ear and has a hole in his heart, but he has finally gone home. Mickie since raised almost $1000 for Life’s Little Treasures Foundation who free support, education and understanding to families of premature babies. She has also secured multiple prizes for the Brisbane Walk For Prems, and will be hosting her own walk in North Lakes. Donate to ‘Tiny Tiddlers Little Fighters’ at the www.walk forprems.org.au website or register to walk. Call Mickie on 0424420679.
Parents raise awareness in memory of prem son
A Dandenong North family will be remembering their son and brother when the annual Walk for Prems is held on Sunday. Nicola and Alistair Finch are the parents of twin premmies Jonathon and Joseph, born at 26 weeks. The 800g babies slowly put on some weight, but tragically Joseph died at six weeks. “It was the hardest moment we’ve ever had,” Mrs Finch said. Jonathon spent 93 days in hospital before going home. “We think Joseph has helped Jonathon because he’s just amazing and is doing everything he should,” she said. The walk, hosted by Life’s Little Treasures, is a national event which raises awareness for babies born premature and sick, and their families. Mrs Finch said the day was also about “commemorating and celebrating” the life of premmies.
Working to help new arrivals
KAT Collett (left) feels blessed every day her “little man is still with us and healthy” after arriving nine weeks early. “Flynn was in a hurry — once he decided he had had enough, that was it,” the Frankston North mum said. “He was born not breathing, but fortunately he was OK and just needed some medicine and longer to grow.” Flynn, who spent his first 42 days in hospital, is now five. Ms Collett and other family members are looking forward to taking part in the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation’s fundraising Walk for Prems event around Albert Park Lake on Sunday, October 23.
From Little Things Big Things Grow, Say Walkers
When Sullivan was born at just 27 weeks, he weighed 800g and was about the size of an adult hand. Four years later, he is a strong and energetic little boy who promises to run ahead of his mother, Nicole Koglin, during the Walk for Prems event this Sunday. Ms Koglin, from Fawkner, will be walking around Albert Park with a group of mums she met during the first 75 days of Sullivan’s life, which were spent at the Royal Women’s Hospital. The walk raises money for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, which supports families of premature babies. “They really helped when I was in hospital,” Ms Koglin said. “This is giving back so they can continue to do it.” Details: walkforprems.org.au
Walk helps organisation fund support for premature babies
The day after her baby shower, at just 32 weeks pregnant, Penrith resident Karli McGrath was told to prepare for the worst when she realised she was going to give birth to a premature baby. For four days she was in and out of the delivery room with doctors trying to prevent her from giving birth so soon by giving her morphine and steroids. However, on May 30 last year, Ms McGrath and her partner Clint welcomed their son Kade into the world
“I was exhausted after spending so long in active labour,” Ms McGrath said. “The baby was in distress too so they eventually had to break my waters and an hour and a half later, he was here.” Being born at the gestational stage where the lungs develop caused Kade to have temporary breathing problems resulting in him moving into the neonatal intensive care unit. While Kade is now a happy and healthy 16-month-old baby, other families don’t always have the same experience. Life’s Little Treasures Foundation will be holding their seventh Walk for Prems in Sydney on Sunday, October 23, with Ms McGrath and her partner now regular participants. “We did the walk last year and after our experience we just said to each other that we have to do it every year – it’s important and very close to our hearts,” Ms McGrath said. Funds raised from the event ensures Life’s Little Treasures Foundation can continue to provide support, education and understanding to families in need, free of charge.
Walk for Prems: parents of premature twins to participate as thanks for help
Huntingdale’s Kaylene and James Shepherd want to help the people who helped make the birth of their premature twins an easier experience. The family will take part in the Walk for Prems on October 23, which raises money for Life’s Little Treasures Foundation. The foundation provides free support, education and understanding to families of premature babies. The Shepherd’s twin girls, Emily and Matilda, were born at just 28 weeks and Ms Shepherd said it was a shock when they came early. I didn’t really have time to think about it and I had no issues with pregnancy,” she said. “All of sudden I was in spontaneous labour.” She said her two girls were now healthy and no longer had to go for checkups, which they had to do for the first two years as each weighed little more than 1kg at birth.
Walk to raise money for prem babies
In Bridport on October 22, families, friends and supporters are walking to raise funds for Life’s Little Treasures Foundation. The money raised goes towards providing vital services to families of premature and sick babies. Each year thousands of babies are born premature or sick. Many families in the North-East have been affected by premature babies. Local parents Andy Lethborg and Jenna Crawford whose twins arrived prematurely have registered a virtual walk in Bridport so that locals can take part. “Because the main event is held in Campbell Town this year on October 23, we thought it might be easier for families in the North-East to participate in an unofficial event in Bridport the day before”. “We hope to meet those who would like to take part on the grass area in front of the Bridport RSL at 11am to walk along the foreshore track and return for a (BYO) picnic lunch. “People can register online and they will receive a Walk for Prems T-shirt and wristband for joining,” Jenna said. Jenna and Andy’s passion behind helping raise much-needed funds for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation stems from the incredible support they received from them during their journey with premature twins. “Our twins were born two and a half months early, and we had to stay away from our home in Bridport for four long months. “Our smaller twin, Rory, defied all the odds, the doctors gave him virtually no chance of survival, suggesting we didn’t resuscitate him. “He is now a busy, walking, talking 18 month old – all of which they said he might never do. “Life’s Little Treasures (LLT) provided so much support and information to us during this time, as they do to many families, and we’d really like to help with fundraising and raising awareness,” Jenna said. “When you have a baby (or babies in our case) born too soon, you need all the support you can get, organisations like LLT who truly understand what you’re going through. “Th ey o f f e r m a n y programs and initiatives to help families during what is such an overwhelming and traumatic time. “Even little things like providing children’s books in the NICU to read to your baby to help with the bonding process when you may not be allowed to physically touch your baby”. “The journey doesn’t end when you get your premature and sick babies home, and LLT continues to provide families with support. “Rory one of our twins, still suffers from chronic lung disease and will be undergoing surgery at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne later this year, the foundation still helps us during these tough times so in return we’d really like to help with fundraising and raising awareness,” said Jenna. To join the virtual walk in Bridport you need to register as soon as possible, visit www.walkforprems. org.au With your help, Life’s Little Treasures Foundation can support these families along their journey.
Cranbourne mum Colleen Atkinson inspired by “miracle baby” Josh to take part in Walk For Prems
When Colleen Atkinson gave birth to her “miracle baby” Josh nine years ago, she really didn’t know what to expect. Born at just 25 weeks, Josh had to spend 81 days in hospital before he was strong enough to go home. Ms Atkinson, of Cranbourne, said there wasn’t as much information or support available to parents of premature babies back then. “Josh is very good. He is autistic and has learning difficulties … he is our miracle baby,” she said. “Everything he has accomplished in life is brilliant; he goes to mainstream school. He is very car-focused; any hotted-up car he is very into, and he is just about to start gymnastics, he is very, very excited about that.” Ms Atkinson said she decided to get involved in the annual Walk for Prems to support other families of premature babies. This year she, her husband Jamie, older daughter Jessica and Josh’s grandparents will take on the 5km walk for the fourth time. The event is Australia’s largest national event for premature babies and their families.
Life’s little walk for Oscar
FOLLOWING their own personal experience, Gawler East couple Matthew and Shari Chambers are preparing to take part in the annual Life’s Little Treasures Foundation Walk for Prems on October 23. After a complicated pregnancy, their son Oscar was born in March 2008. “We had complications in my pregnancy and were told that we lost him numerous times and it wasn’t until the 10-week scan they said that he was still there,” she said. “We had complications all the way up until 19 weeks and at 19 weeks, we had our growth scan and he was at two to three weeks lower than what he was supposed to be at, and they could see he had club feet at that stage. “I had to have growth scans every couple of weeks and then back down to one week, and I got to my 34-week scan and we went in there and they said he’s stopped growing and he’s going to have to come out.” Oscar was born at Lyell McEwin, weighing just three pounds and 38 centimetres long, and with severe club feet. “We had to have a caesarean because he was in the breach position, and because of how small he was they didn’t want to put more stress on him through the labour,” she said. “We stayed in hospital for the full four to five weeks, we left hospital when he was five weeks and he weighed 2kg at the time. The moment we left Lyell Mac we had to go to the Women’s and Children’s (Hospital) so the physios could start working on his feet; he’s had eight operations on his feet and relapsed already. The diagnosis wasn’t over for Oscar either, with a diagnosis of anxiety at the age of five, and then autism just a year ago. Shari and Matthew were prepared to do the walk in last year’s event, before Shari required surgery on her pack. “Last year they did a walk and we were going to do the walk and got sponsored but unfortunately I ended up having a back operation at that time, but we did our own anyway,” she said. “We’re going to do it again this year.” Life’s Little Treasures are doing their part to keep people aware of the ongoing difficulties of premature births, as at the time of Oscar’s birth, there was nothing to support premature babies and their families. “We actually didn’t have any premature baby groups in South Australia, there was a support group at the Women’s and Children’s, but I contacted Queensland and they had a foundation called PIPA, and I started PIPA up here in SA,” she said. “Oscar would have been just one and we got a lot of local people, we got someone from Nuri, some from Eudunda and lots of Gawler people. It’s making sure there’s still awareness after hospital.”
Walk to mark an early start
Libby Thomas was 27 weeks into her first pregnancy when she started to feel cramps. Adamant she was not in labour, she tried various stretches to ease the pain, but nothing worked. About four hours later, at the insistence of a friend, she reluctantly went to Flinders Medical Centre. “I had an infection, it was some form of influenza, and my body tried to expel everything, including my son,” Ms Thomas, of Morphett Vale, says. “Because my infection wasn’t getting any better, they didn’t want to pass it on to Jacob so I was induced.” Ms Thomas, 27, says it was heartbreaking seeing Jacob, who was in hospital for 78 days, hooked up to tubes, fighting for his life. She recalls the first time she held her son. “I was petrified I was going to break him but at the same time, it was the most magical experience I’ve ever, ever felt,” she says. Now nine months old, Jacob still makes regular visits to the hospital for physiotherapy to treat clubfoot, but is otherwise happy and healthy. Ms Thomas is taking part in this year’s Walk for Prems in Adelaide on Sunday, October 23, to raise awareness about the complications associated with premature birth.
Baby Alicie was delivered at 28 weeks after her mum was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition
STEFANIE Godinho knows how distressing it is to give birth to a premature baby. The first time mum delivered daughter Alicie at 28 weeks after being diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, a variation of pre-eclampsia. The condition causes a rise in liver enzymes and lowers blood platelets, with fatal consequences for mother and child if the baby is not delivered. Stefanie, who lives in Fairlight with husband Wander, was diagnosed during routine appointment at Manly Hospital and was rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital. “I never went in to labour — Alicie was delivered under general anesthetic. She weighed 1kg,” she said.
Melbourne’s Walk for Prems a special day for Eltham family
Eltham twins Nathan and Samuel Hannington’s rocky start to life won’t stop them from giving back to other premature babies and their families.
The seven-year-old twins, who were born eight weeks early and spent the first 49 days of their lives in hospital, are taking part of this year’s Walk for Prems in Melbourne on Sunday, October 23 to help raise money for Life’s Little Treasures. Their mum Jodi’s fight to save her sons started when she was diagnosed with Twin to Twin syndrome, where identical twins share the same placenta. After complications developed she was admitted to hospital when she was 24-weeks pregnant. Mrs Hannington said the family was proud to join the walk with other families who had experienced the same things as them. “This is hugely important for us to be involved because it means the world when you know that there are people out there willing to help out,” she said.
“Initially we came across Life’s Little Treasures when the boys’ were four years old while on a Facebook support group and they were a great help to us.” The Facebook support group has formed a team and will walk around Albert Park Lake on October 23.
A loving stroll for prems
The Carcarello twins and their parents will join thousands of families in walking to raise awareness about premature babies. The Life’s Little Treasures Foundation’s Walk for Prems in Melbourne on Sunday, October 23, will be part of Australia’s largest national event to raise money to support premature babies and their families. Sunbury mum Tahlia and husband Gary welcomed twin boys Bede and Samuel at just 27 weeks in 2014. The couple’s expanding family already included five children. “They were very fragile when they were born,” Mrs Carcarello said. “We didn’t prepare for a premature birth, we prepared for a healthy birth. So it’s very daunting. There’s a lot to learn … when you have a prem baby, it can be an isolating experience because naturally you want to be with your child around the clock. “Life’s Little Treasures does a wonderful job at providing support for all those parents and that’s why it’s very important that we have organisations like this to help.” The twins had a number of ongoing health issues with their lungs and mental development, Mrs Carcarello said. Foundation founder Shusannah Morris said money raised from the annual Walk for Prems event helped ensure the organisation could continue to provide free support, education and understanding to families in need.
WHEN Erin Scott was born at 28 weeks, Tara and Peter Scott feared the worst.
Erin originally tried to be born at 21 weeks, but finally settled on 28 and weighed 959 grams and could fit into her father Peter’s outstretched hand.
Erin was in intensive care for three weeks and on oxygen all the way through to discharge – almost three months after being born.
Helpers on the run for premmies
Helpers on the run for premmies JULIE Wessling knows only too well the agonising wait that comes with having a child in hospital. All three of her children, Brayden born in 1996 and twins Tarnee and Casey, born in 2002, were premature babies who required considerable time in neonatal intensive care. For the Nudgee resident, it was a “long road” but one that ended happily.
Karen & Jamisyn’s story
Luke is walking for Prems
Mum Kate’s story: Eight years ago today I was admitted into the Mater Mothers Hospital.
I was 19 weeks pregnant & the only thing holding my baby in was a stitch placed at 12 weeks. Less than 12 months earlier my precious Eloise was born too early & there was a real possibility that I would lose this baby. I only made it to 25+6 weeks. Luke was 1034g when he was born, huge for a baby of that gestation. I believe having a baby so premature made me appreciate what it really means to be a mum.
I think I’m a better Mum for it, not that I’d want anyone to have to go through the stress, anxiety and at times despair that goes with the utmost joy, excitement & relief of bringing a prem home. Please help me to support Mum’s like myself who have a baby or babies in the nursery by registering for the Brisbane Walk for Prems event.
Miracle Miles walking tall
Seville Grove couple Jacqueline Wereik-Dimer and Ian Dimer will be walking proudly alongside their son Miles at this year’s annual Walk for Prems on October 23 at Sir James Mitchell Park in South Perth. That’s because Miles, or ‘Miracle Miles’ as he is affectionately known, was born 17 weeks premature on June 18, 2014. Despite doctors saying he would not survive the night, two years later he is able to talk and walk unassisted and will join his family on the walk. Ms Wereik-Dimer has had four other premature children but none as premature as Miles.
Walk for Prems to support families with premature children
THE birth of a child is normally a cause for celebration. But for families who welcome a premature child it can be a time of confusion and anguish. Helena Geyer’s first child, Charlotte, was born 12 weeks premature in 2014. The 37-year-old, who resided in Colebee at the time, said the birth was “very unexpected” and left her feeling overwhelmed. “I’d never had any experience with premature babies before or known anyone who’d had a premature baby before, so it was completely foreign to me,” she told the Star. “I was quite upsetting. You start to think about what you could have done differently or could have been prevented.”
Nationwide walk to seek awareness for babies born premature and sick
ARARAT’S Emma Hobson is set to take part in Australia’s largest national event on Sunday, October 23 to raise awareness for babies born premature and sick. Life’s Little Treasures Foundation’s Walk for Prems is in its seventh year and happens every October, bringing together those affected and those wanting to support the cause.
A parent of three children who were born prematurely, Ms Hobson told Life’s Little Treasures Foundation all three children were forced to spend time in hospital before going home, with her last child spending 57 days in care before it was deemed safe for her to be taken home. Australian retailer of baby goods for more than 30 years, Baby Bunting will present this year’s walk.
Stacey’s walk for prems
Stacey Snow’s fight for her premature twins did not end when they left the hospital. Edie-Jayne and Tobias Snow were born about 15 weeks premature on February 4. Months were spent in a Sydney hospital with the twins fighting for their life and Mrs Snow, her husband Clint and their eldest son Corbin hoping for their recovery.
They were discharged and returned to Wagga in early May but this is not where their battle ends. The twins are now seven-and-a-half months old but their corrected age, which is measured from their actual due date, is four months. Their underdeveloped lungs mean they are vulnerable to the slightest infections. The twins just spent four days in hospital on oxygen with chest infections. “Because their lungs are still underdeveloped, it causes havoc,” Mrs Snow said.