Arrival of a premature baby from an Aunty's perspective
I remember very clearly what Kirst & I were doing the moment she got the phone call from her doctor advising that she needed to come in to see him ASAP- we were charging around Chadstone like crazy ladies, shopping for all the fun things for the impending arrival- onesies, nappies, cute little outfits, blankets - you name it, we were buying it (as well as all the not-so-fun-but-necessary-things - maternity pads, nighties & very large underpants!). Kirsty was about 32 weeks pregnant and hardly showing at all. Her doctor had advised she had extremely high blood pressure/ pre-eclampsia and was at high risk of having a stroke- so was I at this point, standing in the middle of Target, overflowing shopping trolleys, miles from the car! As always, Kirst took it in her stride & didn't panic (we even went through the checkout as we decided we couldn't waste all those hours shopping & not come home with anything!).
Unprepared & somewhat nervous, Kirsty & Hayden headed out to see the doctor that afternoon. It was at this point that he told them that their bundle of joy world be arriving early, 7 weeks and 3 days early to be exact. He sent them straight to Freemasons Hospital, advising she would be booked in for a c-section the following day. Again, Kirst took it in her stride, and knew it was the best thing to do for herself & her little bub.
Early afternoon on the 12 January 2012, the gorgeous little Poppy Louise Munroe was born. She was so small and precious, weighing a tiny 1.67kg. I'll never forget the first time I saw her, so little in the humidicrib. At this point we knew she'd have to stay in the Special Care Unit at Freemasons for at least a few weeks. I must say, I remember admiring the strength & positivity of both Kirst & Hayd in light of this news. They were both amazing. Over the next 5 days or so, Kirst also stayed in hospital as she needed to recover from the c-section & be with Pops.
I was off work at the time, so I delayed my return for a month so that I could spend time with Kirsty and my brand new niece Poppy. As Kirst had a caesarean, she was unable to drive for a few weeks, so I happily drove her in to see Poppy every day. I must say whilst the circumstances were not ideal, it was one of the most special times of my life. Being her first child, Kirsty was learning so much from the amazing nurses in the Special Care Unit at Freemasons hospital. The love and care that they have for all the babies in the SCU is unsurpassed, they really are very special people. We would spend the whole day in the hospital (usually with a picnic lunch break in the gardens over the road, which was lovely!) Kirsty (and I) learnt all about feeding, sleeping patterns and routines, bath time, kangaroo care (very important for a premature baby) and much more from the nurses. It was their experience, care and expertise that made it that little bit easier for Kirsty and Hayden to leave Poppy in their care. After all it was the best place for her to be.
As the aunty of a premature baby, I wanted to do everything I could to support Kirsty and Hayden through this time - do everything possible to help make life easier for them. I was fortunate to be able to take the time off work so that I could be there whenever Kirsty needed. For those of you looking for ways to help (with perhaps more limited time) – sometimes just being there for the parents of premature babies is enough. Go to the hospital with them, keep them company, cook a few meals. Just be there for them if they need a laugh, or cry, or just someone to listen to.
It was during our time in the hospital that Kirsty and I came up with the idea of The Little One. Mum and I had been all over town looking for clothes small enough to fit Poppy. When we did find a store that stocked premature clothing, there was very limited choice, with most stores only stocking up to about 00000 – we were looking for 7 or 8 0’s. It was quite challenging to find just a few outfits. The idea of stocking everything a premature baby needs all in one place, including clothing, pacifiers, nappies, wraps, blankets, gifts, toys, even gifts for mum, seemed like the best way we could put our personal experience to use to help other parents, family and friends of premature babies. Thus The Little One was born!