Meet Zahara, Lalibela & Myles – March Earlybird Premmies of the Month

     Earlybirds of the Month

Our Earlybird Premmies of the Month for March are the gorgeous Sahara, Lalibela and Myles, who were born at 30 weeks to parents Phoebe and Hamish.

As a doctor, Phoebe was immediately concerned when she heard she was having triplets.
“I was all too aware of the likelihood they would be born prematurely and the complications and risks that would entail,” Phoebe said.  “The ensuing weeks were some of the most painful of my life.”

In 2011, the triplets spent 74 nights in the NICU of the Royal Hospital for Women, sleeping in incubators supplied by the Running For Premature Babies foundation.

As a way of saying thanks, Phoebe regularly runs with the Running For Premature Babies team at the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon to raise money for The Royal Hospital For Woman foundation.

“The NICU experience is like no other, and only other people who have experienced the journey understand it,'” she said.  “That’s why I have love being a part of the Running For Premature Babies team.”

Zahara, Lilabela and Myles are now thriving three and half year olds and are loving growing up together.

For more information about how to join Running for Premature Babies or more about Zahara, Lilabela and Myles’ story, please visit: http://www.runningforprematurebabies.com

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Meet Archie – February Earlybird Premmie of the month

earlybird of the monthOur Earlybird of the month for February is the adorable Archie, who was born 10 weeks early to parents Cass and Chris.

Cass and Chris watched over Archie as he spent six weeks going through tests in the NICU of Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick.

“We were so impressed buy the talented staff of the NICU who assisted Archie to develop the ability to independently breathe, stomach breast milk and eventually begin to gain weight,” said Chris. “This inspired me to raise money for such for this amazing team of people”.

However, what makes Archie’s story incredible is that his premature birth raised $25,000 towards the very unit that nursed him to good health.

After seeing a poster for our partner Running For Premature Babies, Chris realised that Archie’s due date (or ‘zero birthday’ as his parents referred to it) fell on the same day as the SMH Half Marathon.

“I jumped at the chance to celebrate this day as it marked the end of Archie’s NICU journey”.

After a massive fundraising effort Chris became the highest individual fundraiser in the history of the foundation.

This year Chris will run with Archie in his pram to thank the doctors and nurses of the NICU at the Royal Women’s Hospital for all they have done for Archie and other premature babies alike.

Forrunning for prematuare babies more information about how to join Running for Premature Babies or more about Archie’s story, please visit Running for Prematuare Babies

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Earlybirds Facebook Cover Girl

Earlybirds Facebook CoverIntroducing Alexis our latest Facebook Cover Girl.

We thought you would love to read her story written by her Mummy Jessica.

Alexis was born by emergency C-section at 28+2 weeks. She weighed just 652g.

We knew from 20 weeks that she wasn’t growing as per normal and I had early onset preeclampsia. I was hospitalised at The Mercy from 25 weeks onwards with daily ultrasounds to check on Lexi’s state.

The 26th April finally arrived and the docs said Lexi had to come out. I was grateful I had made 28 weeks. However there were no beds for Lexi in Victoria. Only in Adelaide. I refused to go interstate. In the end we were taken to Monash and Lexi was born. We begged to be transferred back to The Mercy as it was closer to home as we were traveling 3 hours daily to visit her in hospital.    My father also was in hospital, The Austin (located next to The Mercy) with terminal cancer so visiting two hospitals daily was really taking it’s toll.

Because she was so little and fragile I didn’t get to hold Lexi until she was 19 days old. Her biggest problems were her lungs.   She has severe chronic lung disease. We spent a total of 139 days in NICU/SCN.   Lexi came home on oxygen.  She is also one in 10000 babies with congenital hypothyroidism. Her little thyroid does not produce thyroxine and without it she can’t grow.   She is on daily medicine to combat this and doing well.

Lexi just hit the 5kg mark and is now 7 months actual, 4 months corrected.

 

More information:-

Congenital Hypothyroidism

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Expecting twins

TwinsIt’s always lovely when a friend rings to tell you that she is pregnant, but sometimes that news can really knock you for six.

Take my friend – an already busy mum of two kids under the age of four who is 12 weeks pregnant with her third. Only she’s not.

She has just returned from her 12-week scan where she was told that she’s expecting twins.

To say she’s in shock is an understatement.

For the past three weeks she’s had an ultrasound pic of her third bub stuck to her fridge, blissfully unaware that there was another little bubba in there hiding.

Granted, she was already quite big for 12 weeks (not that I would EVER tell her that) and she had that horrible morning sickness that lasts all day.

More worrying for her was the fact that her thyroid hormone levels had come back a bit low. She was worried something was wrong – not that there were two babies in there.

So now she is trying to come to terms with the fact that she is going to have four children under the age of four in a few months time.

Granted, it’s a good worry – with so many women struggling to conceive she knows she’s lucky.

But it’s going to mean big changes to her family and their future – housing, transport, education … the list goes on.

I know she will survive and thrive, but wow, she is going to be one busy lady.

Resources:- 

AMBA – Australian Multiple Birth Association

TAMBA – Twins & Multiple Births Association

MM – Marvelous Multiples

 

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Meet the expert: Yvonne Amos

Sids & KidsName: Yvonne Amos

Area of expertise: Yvonne is the National Marketing and Communications Manager with SIDs and Kids.

 

 

What are your most important tips for putting a baby to sleep safely?

There are six ways to ensure your baby is sleeping safely and reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected death in infancy:

–       Sleep your baby on their back

–       Keep their head and face uncovered

–       Keep your baby smoke free before and after birth

–       Ensure they have a safe sleeping environment both night and day

–       Sleep your baby in a safe cot in a parent’s room

–       Breastfeed your baby if you can

For more information on SIDS and Kids safe sleeping visit: www.sidsandkids.org

What is the best way for parents to get some extra information on safe sleeping if they are concerned? 

If parents or carers have any questions about safe sleeping they can download our free Safe Sleeping app from iTunes.  The app also includes valuable information about safe wrapping and tummy time for your baby.

Our website also has information statements and FAQs covering a range of topics including co-sleeping, room sharing, safe wrapping and how to set up your baby’s cot.  We have also launched a cot-to-bed safety smart phone application and brochure that provides information on transitioning your baby from a cot to a bed.

Our information is also available in Hindi, Chinese, Arabic and Vietnamese and can be downloaded at http://www.sidsandkids.org/safe-sleeping/

 

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Earlybird of the Month – May 2014

EBOM William MayOur Earlybird of the month for May is William, who was born in March to parents Emma and Ben after Emma was induced early due to growth lag.

Will spent a further three weeks at the Orange Health Service. He developed a temperature within 21 hours of birth and was eventually diagnosed with bacterial meningitis which, when contracted in utero, is a rare occurrence.

Will was certainly a little fighter: during his NICU stay he endured four lumbar punctures; a myriad of cannulas and catheters; was fed antibiotics intravenously; and, required a continuous fluid infusion to reduce tissuing of the cannulas.

Emma said she was surrounded by so much love and support from her family and friends at the time, and the nurses in the special care nursery were absolutely brilliant.

“He was the only baby in the special care nursery so he had lots of attention and the nurses grew really attached to him,” Emma said.

EBOM May 2014“My mum especially kept everything running as normal at home with my eldest son Lachlan, and she also visited Will and I at the hospital most days.

“Will was exceptionally strong under the circumstances, it seemed that each procedure was more distressing for me than it was for him.”

Will is now a healthy baby who loves cuddling with his brother Lachlan. The next challenge for Emma is getting used to having two vivacious boys under two.

If you would like to nominate a premature baby you know to be featured as our Earlybird of the Month, we would love to hear from you.   Please email lynda@earlybirds.com.au

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Meet The Faces of ‘Wear Green for Prems’ Day 2014

Wear Green for premsAs you may know the L’il Aussie Prems Foundation’s ‘Wear green for premmies’ day is on Wednesday the 9th of April. It is a day to raise awareness and much needed funds for premature babies, research and care.

Last year, the foundation raised over $10,000, which has been donated to Neonatal Intensive Care Units and Special Care Nurseries around Australia.

The faces of ‘wear green for premmies’ day this year are the gorgeous twins; Nathan and Samuel who were born eight weeks early to parents Scott and Jodi – due to Twin-to-twin Transfusion Syndrome and an incompetent cervix.

The twins stayed at the Mercy Hospital in Heidelberg for a further 7 weeks. Nathan suffered from CPAP, Jaundice, and required ventilation and gastro-feed; Samuel had a blood transfusion.

“Both Scott and mother were the best support at the time. They both visited every day, did my washing and made sure I had everything to make the time a little easier,” said Jodi.

“I had a huge support network of friends and family, my friend Tamara who worked in a florist made sure I had fresh flowers in my room the whole time.”

Jodi remembers fondly the first double ‘kangaroo care’ cuddle she gave the boys, and also when she could breastfeed without the loud machines for the first time

Wear green for premsSamuel and Nathan are now very healthy four-year-olds. As well as being the faces of ‘wear green for premmies’ day, the boys enjoy going to kinder and playing Auskick.

For more information about the day or if you would like to donate visit: http://www.lilaussieprems.com.au/wear-green-for-premmies-2014/

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Prenatal Infection Awareness

Mum To BeThe International Prenatal Infection awareness campaign is an initiative aimed to educate women who are pregnant on how to prevent infection to keep their unborn baby safe and healthy.

Infections that can occur in a mother during pregnancy are one of the top risk factors for premature labour, and many are preventable.

Some common infections include Group B Streptococcus, Chicken Pox, Toxoplasmosis and Fifth Disease.

Group B Streptococcus

(Or Group B Strep) is a bacterial infection that is harmless in adults but can be harmful for a newborn baby. It is particularly dangerous to newborns as an infection can mean pneumonia, meningitis or a blood infection.

Most women will be tested the second half of their pregnancy for infection, and if positive IV antibiotics can be administered during labour and delivery.

Chickenpox

Chickenpox is a common viral infection that affects most children. A vaccine is available to prevent the infection in children, however it can be critical for a foetus if caught during or after her 20th week of pregnancy.

A simple blood test can be taken to determine your immunity. If you are not pregnant and not immune, the vaccine can be administered. However if you are not immune and currently pregnant, it is safest to stay away from anyone with the infection during pregnancy.

Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is a common infection that can be very dangerous for an unborn baby. It can cause pneumonia, jaundice, eye infections, seizures, cerebral palsy and major vision loss.

If you are pregnant, there are several things you can do to prevent Toxoplasmosis – including not eating undercooked meats, washing your hands thoroughly immediately after handling raw meat, peeling and washing raw fruits and vegetables before eating and avoiding changing of kitty litter boxes.

Fifth Disease

Fifth disease is a really common childhood illness that over half the population has been infected with.

The most common symptom of Fifth disease is a rash on the face of a child. Less common symptoms include fever, sore throat, headache and joint pain.

Most unborn babies are not harmed if the mother is infected while pregnant, but there are a small number of circumstances where infection may occur.

Pregnant women can prevent the infection by washing their hands thoroughly, and by not sharing drinking glasses with anyone infected with the illness.

Handy tips

Always wash your hands:

–       After using the bathroom,

–       After gardening or touching soil,

–       After handling pets,

–       After being around sick people and

–       After changing nappies.

If you have any concerns please see your obstetrician or doctor.

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February Earlybird of the Month

baby1Our Earlybird of the month is the handsome Mac who was born at 29 weeks weighing just 1673 grams.

Mac arrived into this world at the Mercy Hospital in Heidelberg. His mum Brooke, a type 1 diabetic, was submitted to hospital due to a premature rupture of the membranes.

It was a stressful and surreal time for Brooke and her supportive partner Glen, with Mac staying at the Heidelberg hospital for a further seven weeks.

“He was my absolute rock during the pregnancy, labour, delivery and the ongoing torment of having a premature baby,” Brooke said.

“Glen wiped my brow, fed me water, tested my glucose levels, helped me manage my insulin pump and even put Vaseline on my lips after each contraction.

“The nursing staff at the Mercy in Heidelberg are amazing. Premmies arrive into this world struggling to survive, they are hooked up to machines, they stop breathing and as a mother you hope that it will never be their last.

Mac Now 3“A fully trained nurse sits with your child 24 hours a day, monitoring and caring for them when you are at home sleeping. They are amazing people,” she said.

Just weeks after taking Mac home from the hospital, he was back at three months of age for a double hernia operation, which was extremely hard for Brooke and Glen to deal with, especially because Mac had already overcome so much hardship.

When Mac turned two his ‘magic’ paediatrician felt he was ready to take on the world.

Mac is now a curious, determined, strong and kind four-year old who now towers over most of the kids his age.

If you would like to nominate a prem baby you know to be featured as our Earlybird of the Month, we would love to hear from you.   Please email lynda@earlybirds.com.au

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Finding The Right Baby Sitter

Mother with childFinding the right occasional babysitter or permanent nanny for your children can be a daunting experience for all members of the family.

If you need childcare then chances are you are already short on time- so we have put together a list of the best tips when considering a carer for your cherubs!

First things first, fish within your own pool  –  Often someone you know personally like a family member or close friend is more than willing to look care for your kids on the odd occasion.

While this is not always an option for all families knowing that your children are with someone you trust does give you that extra bit of reassurance.

Sort out an agreed rate at the outset, or at least buy them a nice bottle of wine for afterwards.

Finding a babysitter online  –  Searching online can be a great option those of us with limited family support, or for those looking for a more permanent carer for their children.

There are obvious dangers when using the Internet for any purpose, especially when it comes to your children. We have come up with a few ways to help you are pick a suitable and safe carer.

Safety first  –  Never give out personal details online. Things like your street address; your children’s names, school or day care centres can all be used for a sinister purpose- so ensure that you never give out these details.

Fact check  –  Make sure you always choose a nanny or babysitter who has a working with children card, first aid certificate and a recent police check. Don’t be afraid to ask them to provide evidence of this.

If you are still wary about the validity of these documents there are a few great websites you can use (Our favourite is Green ID http://www.greenid.com.au) to check the person is who they say they are.

The interview  –  If you have concerns about potential candidates knowing where you live it is more than okay to arrange an interview in a local café or park area.

This can also be a good way to interview someone in a more relaxed environment.

Give them some scenarios to talk through to determine how they would act in certain situations.

Make it a family affair  –  Don’t be afraid to bring your children and partner along to the interview or the second rounds.

The whole family will need to get along with your chosen person so this is a great way to check you have made a good choice.

Ask your child(ren)  –  If they are old enough, ask your children what they think of each candidates- which one is their favourite.

We often underestimate the wisdom of children; maybe they will pick up on a few qualities that you can’t.

Talk about the future  –  We all know that kids need some stability- so make sure you ask candidates about their plans for the future.

There is nothing worse than you and your children falling in love with a nanny and then them leaving!

Websites:

Here are some of the best websites for finding a babysitter:

Australia

http://www.findababysitter.com.au

http://www.mysupernanny.com.au

http://www.rockmybaby.com.au

http://www.weneedananny.com.au

http://www.babysittersnow.com.au

UK

http://www.findababysitter.com

http://www.childcare.co.uk

http://www.childcarenow.co.uk

http://www.sitters.co.uk

Have you found a nanny or babysitter online? What are some of your tips for parents looking to find a new carer?

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