Walk for Prems is the largest annual fundraiser held by the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, Australia’s leading charity dedicated to the families of babies born sick or prior to 37 weeks gestation.
When: Sunday 25 October 2015, 5 and 10km runs start at 8.30am with the 5km walk starting at 10.30am
Where: Albert Park Lake, Aughtie Drive, ALBERT PARK
It’s possible (if you’re a parent) that you may have seen inside the NICU in a maternity ward – hopefully, like me, it was just a fleeting visit.
I clearly remember as a new parent, in that first 24 hours of complete overwhelm, feeling a white prickly glow of Gratitude. My baby was born with a loud baby cry, she had ten toes and ten fingers – she was perfect in a scrunchy baby way. My delivery hadn’t been too traumatising (other than a very humbling amount of bodily fluids I’d rather forget about; gosh midwives are AMAZING).
I had made it out the other side of that 10 months of waiting and hoping with my fingers and toes crossed… I mean other than doing the exercises, reading lots of books, attending those classes and trying to eat healthy there isn’t very much you can do to “prepare” for the actual birth bit as you really have no idea what it is that is going to happen (and my control freak side found that a lot disquieting). And those birthing videos don’t help.
When Immi was only a few hours old she stopped breathing. She turned completely blue… not just a little bit but a really deep dark blue. I had never felt such panic – I pressed the big red button (I was still in the birthing suite at this stage) and leapt to my feet and grabbed her as the nurse raced in.
We got her breathing again – she had some mucus stuck in her windpipe and so they whisked her off to NICU (and this is completely not the correct terminology, but you’ll get my drift) to have her nose and throat vacuumed and have her monitored. An hour or so later I was moved to my room in the maternity ward and I went to collect my baby who they had decided was in the clear.
I walked into the NICU and my feeling of overwhelm went off the charts. There was my 5-hour old baby (so tiny in my arms only an hour or so ago) lying in her little crib. She was a beast. She was showing off like only a 3.5kg, 50cm long overdue newborn can. My breath caught in my throat as I saw her neighbours lined up; tiny tiny little souls fighting with every breath. Some not much bigger than my hand. Immi practically looked like a toddler. My heart broke for all the parents who would have been fighting alongside their Little Treasures.
I know how much panic, anxiety and fear I felt for that brief moment when Immi turned blue – but I saw in the NICU and I knew: I know nothing of what it must feel like to be hoping with every cell in your body that your sick child will be okay.
And over the years I have had friends who have “lived” in the hospital supporting their premmies make it to full term – it’s not an easy time.
This year my cousin, my bestie from Kindergarten and I are walking together in the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation Walk for Prems on behalf of Medela (one of the sponsors). I hope you will join us. If you miss the cut-off for the online registration – there is registration available on the day. You can bring the kids too.