How Life's Little Treasures Foundation saved my sanity
As many of you know I've had 2 premature babies; Poppy born in 2012 at 33 weeks and Essie born in 2014 at 31 weeks. Poppy was a complete surprise early birth caused by pre-eclampsia. I had about 3 days notice before I was in hospital having an emergency cesarean. In fact, it went from being ok to bad so quickly that I had to lie to my obstetrician when he called to tell me I needed to be admitted to hospital immediately and he hoped I was resting, when in actual fact I was at Chadstone trying to find big granny knickers and tiny baby clothes!
My journey through special care with Poppy was relatively smooth - she was a good size for a prem (1.6kg, although it didn't seem a good size to me at the time!), didn't require any oxygen and basically just had to 'fatten up'. I spent many days in the breastfeeding room learning to feed Pop and reading brochures and books to kill time. This was the first time I heard about Life's Little Treasures Foundation. After all, before I had a premmie I didn't in my wildest dreams imagine I would end up having one and be thrown in to this new world. I remember one afternoon attempting to breastfeed Poppy and she just kept falling asleep. Frustrated, I allowed the nurses to finish her feed through the NG tube and sat there silently wondering why I couldn't grasp the feeding. The nurses told me it was completely normal for such a tiny baby, but of course I didn't believe them and was sure it was me doing something wrong. As I sat there watching my milk drain out of a tube in to Poppy's stomach, I picked up a folder called 'Survival guide to NICU and Special Care.' I started flicking through the pages and landed on one section called 'being a parent of a NICU/Special Care baby'. These pages were like music to my ears and pulled me out of the sorry-for-myself state that I was wallowing in by explaining that everything I was feeling was completely normal and that being a parent of a premature baby is actually damn hard work!
I never forgot that folder and quickly became a huge advocate of Life's Little Treasures Foundation, participating in their annual Walk for Prems event each year and putting many friends in touch with their support group pages on Facebook.
Fast forward 2.5 years and after everyone telling me that 'you'll definitely go further with your second' I found myself in yet another Special Care Nursery with my even earlier and smaller baby Essie. Ess was unfortunately not as robust as Pop and needed oxygen for the first little while to help her breathe. I was very used to sitting next to a humidicrib watching my tiny baby, but I was not one bit prepared for the monitors constant beeping or more heartbreakingly having to often put her back in the humidicrib during my sacred 'kangaroo cuddle' time because she was not getting enough oxygen.
One particular day the machines started beeping like I've never heard them before and the nurses ran over like they were competing in a race. Essie was having an 'apnea' they told me. A WHAT??!! was my reaction as I held back tears and silently started freaking out. I'd never heard of 'apneas' and I never wanted to experience that rush towards my section of the Special Care Nursery again. After calmly explaining to me what an apnea was and seeing the blank, panicked look on my face, the nurses suggested I head upstairs to my room, have a cup of tea and read a small folder they handed me called 'Survival guide to NICU and Special Care.' It was like my best friend had arrived and I clutched the little folder as I went back to my room. I flicked straight to the 'medical terms' section and read more about apneas. Learning that they were not that uncommon and easily treated, I was able see the light at the end of the tunnel once more. Life's Little Treasures had saved the day again!
Fast forward yet another 2.5 years and here we are now proud partners of Life's Little Treasures Foundation through our new product Premmie Milestone Cards! When Lizzie and I came up with the idea for Premmie Milestone Cards we both knew that we wanted to ensure these cards not only provided joy and happiness for parents of prems, but also gave back to the premature baby community, in particular Life's Little Treasures Foundation. $1 from every pack of Premmie Milestone Cards is donated to Life's Little Treasures Foundation to help ensure parents with premature babies have the support they need, just like I did. xx