Superhero Capes On!

Baby Sensory and Toddler Sense Special Events - Supporting Premature and Sick Newborns 

It’s here! This month, the Baby Sensory and Toddler Sense special Superhero Senseathon event will be running at locations right across Australia.

The event has already raised around $2,000 and fundraising will continue until end of April: https://babysensorysenseathon.raisely.com/  

Thank you to all of the families who will be participating and to the Class Leaders for hosting this wonderful event.

The event is raising vital funds to support the work of Miracle Babies Foundation, providing access to vital support services for families with a premature or sick newborn.

Having a baby born premature or sick is more common than many people may think. Every year, more than 48,000 babies are born requiring specialised care.

One of Baby Sensory’s very own Miracle Mums, Karen, shares her personal story below.

Peyton was born at 25 weeks, weighing just 710 grams:

"Nothing can prepare you for having a prem baby, not even when your niece is born prem 3 weeks prior due to IUGR. But it was this event that saved my daughter’s life. A week after my niece was born prem, I was at my routine check up with my OB who decided to give me a thorough check to make sure that we weren’t in the same boat. Initial indications all looked fine, but my wonderful OB decided to give me a scan just for peace of mind. On a day when she was running behind and there was a waiting room full of patients, this was a step that she could’ve easily left out to get us out the door and move on to the next person who needed her attention, but thankfully I had the scan and terrifyingly she discovered my cervix was open and my membranes were bulging at just 23 weeks.

Shortly after, I was admitted to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, given a dose of steroids and booked in for an emergency stitch two days later. This was one of the scariest experiences of my life at that point, only to be superseded by birth about 10 days later. Following the stitch, I was on hospital bed rest where regular scans showed the stitch was barely holding and one evening, shortly after dinner my waters broke all over the floor at 25 weeks. Our cheeky monkey had turned from head down back to breach with her arm hanging down the birth canal! I was booked in for a c-section later that night and our beautiful, tiny daughter was born weighing just 710 grams.

What followed was a very scary, anxious, enlightening, humbling experience for me and my husband. We had 7 long weeks in the NICU where our daughter was cared for expertly by the Doctors and Nurses. I was determined to breastfeed my little miracle when she was able so I was expressing every three hours, around the clock - very unnatural to be waking to the sound of your alarm and hooking yourself up to a machine while your baby is in a completely separate location.

We were very lucky compared to some others in the NICU, the main issues our daughter faced included slow weight gain and a small hole in her heart that eventually resolved itself. She required a couple of blood transfusions but remained relatively stable during her time in NICU. We undertook as much of her care as we were able to but being actively involved in the routine of changing her nappies, taking her temperature and other tasks made us start to feel like “real” parents.

Moving into the Special Care Nursery was a significant milestone. The fast-paced environment was very different to the NICU and we started to become even more responsible for her care while we were at the hospital. We had settled into quite a routine as a family by this stage and we were taught how to do the gavage feeds through her feeding tube. Finally all that time expressing paid o and she was allowed to start to breastfeed - one of the most vivid milestones of our whole hospital stay, closely followed by her first bath which took place the night before we went home!

In total, our little girl was in hospital for 79 days before we were allowed to go home on the hospital’s early discharge program. This meant our baby came home when she should’ve still been growing inside me at the equivalent of 36 weeks gestation. She was a tiny 2kg and still had her feeding tube in, but we were fully trained to be able to manage both suck and gavage feeds and we were ready to have her home and start being a real family.

Some of the toughest times were still ahead of us - the stress and anxiety of taking your prem baby home after such a long time in hospital shouldn’t be under estimated. It was the middle of winter so we were worried about germs and the weather and trying to avoid ending up back in hospital.

Weight gain was still slow, she was our first baby so we had no way of knowing whether we were doing the right thing and I was just in a constant state of worry - was she too cold, did that person just sneeze, how many mls of milk did she drink in her top up, how long was that breastfeed, is the dog too close to her, the list went on and on. There were also still plenty of follow up visits to be had at the hospital.

I knew that I wanted to do something enjoyable with my baby - something that might alleviate the stress just for a little while, and something that would give her the best possible start just in case her growth and development were jeopardized due to her prematurity. I had heard about Baby Sensory and had it in my head that it was something I wanted to do but wasn’t sure if being around other babies in the middle of winter was such a great idea. I thought about waiting until the following term but after doing some research, I decided to jump in straight away and when our little girl should’ve been just 3 weeks old (but was already 3 and a half months old) we started Baby Sensory and we have never looked back! She went from falling asleep before the end of the class to being up the front of the class actively participating, climbing on everything and chatting away. Going to Baby Sensory gave me something to look forward to, something to feel good about. It gave me hints and tips for things to do at home, things to encourage and things to watch out for. It helped me bond with my baby and reduced my anxiety about how to cope with having a prem.

We have met some great friends, some great class leaders but more importantly we have seen our little girl learn so many new skills, get to exercise her social butterflies and really flourish despite still being tiny. 18 months on and we have moved on from Baby Sensory to Toddler Sense. She is the very definition of small but mighty and considering her entrance into the world, we aren’t surprised by her cheeky personality. She is the absolute light of our lives and every day we are thankful for all those who have played a role in getting her and keeping her earth side. Peyton Wendy, we are so privileged that you chose us to be your parents and you are the greatest gift we have ever been given.”

-          Karen, mum to Peyton

 

Baby Sensory and Toddler Sense Classes provide ideas for creative play, massage, tummy time, movement, and music in simple practical ways that can be easily repeated at home. Using a combination of original and traditional songs and rhymes to develop early speech and language skills, and sensory signing activities, help you and your baby communicate from birth.

Find out more:

0-13 months - www.babysensory.com.au

1-4 years - www.toddlersense.com.au

 

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Author

miracle babies foundation

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