World Prematurity Day is on the 17th November and ongoing supporter and Corporate Partner of Miracle Babies, Tommee Tippee, are once again 'tipping in' for families of premature newborns.
Each year in Australia, more than 27,000 babies are born premature and sadly, up to 1,000 will lose their fight for life. Prematurity is the number one cause of death in newborns and this experience can have traumatic impacts on the entire family unit. Those babies that do survive can face lifelong health issues, challenges and disabilities.
As part of an online campaign to raise much needed awareness and funds to help more families challenged by prematurity, Tommee Tippee will partner with Miracle Babies Foundation to help raise funds toward the vital NurtureProgram.
You too can ‘Tip In’ to help a miracle in honour of World Prematurity Day by clicking here.
Jack was born at 24 weeks, weighing just 658 grams. Read Jack’s story below.
Miracle Mum, Leah went from a rather uneventful pregnancy to being told she was in labour and her 24 week old baby would arrive within hours. She shares the story of baby Jack's arrival.
"I was 24 weeks into a perfectly normal pregnancy with my first baby when I had some light bleeding and minor cramps and went to Campbelltown hospital. They checked mine and the baby's obs and all was normal and they were about to send me home on rest when my obgyn asked for an internal. I was 4cm dialated and in labour, and to top it off baby Jack was in breech position. From that point everything moved in hyperspeed. I was immediately transferred to Liverpool hospital by ambulance still unaware of what was actually going on or just how serious it was about to get. I was told at about midnight that jack was most likely coming in the next few hours and the chances of his survival and long term health outcomes were fairly low considering he was only 24 weeks and a small baby.
We made it through the first night, although it was the most anxious night of my life, I thought every time he kicked he was going to come out. I was put on steroids and magnesium sulfate for his lungs and brain and put on bed rest for as long as possible. However by the next morning I was fully dialated and booked in for a scheduled C-section later that afternoon.
That apparently wasn't fast enough for Jack as my labour suddenly started to progress more rapidly and I was rushed into theatre for an emergency C-section. Jack was born at 1:37pm that day at 658g, he was rushed straight to the NICU and I didn't get to see him until the next afternoon.
He was diagnosed with chronic neonatal lung disease (which was his biggest issue the whole time), MRSA sepsis, a collapsed lung and pneumonia. Because of his severely underdeveloped lungs and the subsequent issues he was intubated and we almost lost him.
On top of this he had a stubborn PDA that took a while to close, he had acquired CMV which wreaked havoc on his blood cells and platelets. And because of this he had a dozen blood transfusions and a course of cytotoxic drugs, all whilst simultaneously battling ROP which required injections and laser eye surgery.
Jack finally came home after 116 days in the NICU, on oxygen and with a N.G. tube for feeding, but over the last few months he has thrived and other than needing some help gaining weight he is hitting all his milestones and is now oxygen free. Although, I am still very careful about not taking him many places or having many people around him just to make sure he stays healthy over this flu season.
Jack will be 2 in December. I can't thank the doctors and nurses of Liverpool NICU enough for all they did to save my son's life."
Having a Premmie during COVID:
“This year has been a little up and down, we had just started really venturing out with Jack before the covid restrictions came into play. After been so vigilent about keeping him from getting sick and ending up back in hospital, with his history with chronic lung disease and his low weight.
So it wasn't great when he ended up been admitted to hospital right before covid rared up for hypokalemia and possible kidney and heart issues.
Fortunately his issues were rectified and found to be related to his chronic vomiting, since then he has been his usual healthy happy self.”
What has helped us cope:
“Having a great relationship with my husband and supporting each other is probably the biggest factor that has and continues to help me cope with Jacks NICU journey and subsequent health issues, especially during this pandemic and the isolation it has caused.
But seeing Jack been happy little boy running around and hitting milestones (at whatever time they happen) is a constant reminder of what is truly important.”
Our advice for other families going through this right now:
“Every NICU journey is different but for me I came to realise how strong these little guys are and how much they can do, you just have to be there to support them and their needs. I always had the mantra "whatever he needs", no matter how hard it was to see other babies passing him by in milestones in the NICU and him constantly struggling I had to remind myself whatever he needs to help he get home to me was all that mattered.
Whilst some days were much harder than others there is light at the end of the tunnel.”