Premmie Baby Newsletter May/June 2009

 May/June                                                                                                           2009

Welcome to the L'il Aussie Prems May/June 2009 Newsletter.

our last newsletter we have 55 new registered members. We welcome you all to our community and please be sure to introduce yourself and your little premmie babies to us, we would love to meet you. In the month of May we saw the forum membership grow to a staggering 800 members with over 145,000 posts. You can always be sure to find support on the forum.

We would like to offer congratulations to our prem babies and our members who celebrated their birthday in May & this month in June. May - Chais (33w), Grace (29 weeks), Emily (FT), Sally, Patrick (35+5), Jack (FT), Danielle. June - Taylah (FT), Zac (FT), Kai (32w), Midnight, Mark (Talia's dad, Pixie's DH), Steve, Lachlan (35+5w), Isobella (35w), Savannah (38+6), Nakita (33+4) and everyone else celebrating their birthday this month, happy birthday! If you or your childs birthday is not included but should be please reply to our birthday thread on the forum so we don't miss it next year!

The 2009 Premmie Hero awards were warmly received by the public, hospitals and families of premmie babies throughout the country. Being the first awards of their kind in Australia, we are pleased and proud of how smoothly and successfully they were set up and run. Our 2009 winner is Sophie Smith and our runners up are Karen Cuthbert and Julie Clarke. You can read their stories below and view the certificate, award and medals created for our Premmie Hero winners. A huge thank you to our major sponsor Practical Parenting Magazine, our other amazing sponsors & the organising committee and judges for their fantastic and very much appreciated help. Without your assistance the awards would not have been as successful as they were. Be sure to grab your August issue of Practical Parenting to read our amazing winner's story. Nominations open again in February 2010 so be sure to nominate your Premmie Hero next year.

Our very own "prem on board" car signs will be arriving soon. Created with our premmie babies in mind but we only have 50 available. Made from reflective material they will be seen day or night. Prices are $10 for members and $15 for non-members. What a great way to let other drivers know that you have precious cargo onboard.

Congratulations to all the gorgeous babies born since our last newsletter. Welcome to the world Elizabeth (FT), Triplets Tahlia, Aleah & James (28+3wks), Lila (FT), Caitlin (36+1wks), Sarah (FT), Cruz (33+2wks), Jenna (38+2) & Mathias (33+3).

We hope you all have a great month.

L'il Aussie Prems

In this issue:

* Welcome
* Premmie Hero Winner
* Premmie Hero 1st Runner Up
* Premmie Hero 2nd Runner Up
* Premmie Hero Nominee
* Latest Forum Topics
* LLT Charity Lunch
* Premmie Baby Survey                   * Birth Announcements

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2009 Local Premmie Hero WINNER!!

Sophie Smith is Australia’s First Local Premmie Hero Award Winner.

Sophie is the mum of triplet sons Henry, Jasper and Evan born prematurely in 2006 and who sadly lost their battle for life. To honour their memory Sophie and her husband Ash have together raised more than $250,000 for life saving humidicribs for the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick, NSW.

In the first year that Sophie & Ash organised runners for the half marathon and they gathered 98 runners and raised over $80,000.
The next year they raised even more.

Happily, Sophie gave birth to another son Owen in 2008. Amazingly she still found the time to organise this years run on the 17th May 2009. They had over 100 runners and hoped to raise enough for life-saving monitors & equipment for the smallest of premature babies. They will find out at the end of June how much they raised in this years half marathon.

Congratulations Sophie and thank you.

Sophie won a $500 RedBalloon gift certificate, a uniquely designed award and a framed certificate, & received a 12 month subscription to Pratical Parenting Magazine, the major sponsor of this year’s awards.

Nominations open on Monday 1st February 2010

Premmie Hero 1st Runner Up

Karen is a mum to six young children. Karen amazingly finds time to sew exquisite little gowns and blankets for the benefit of some of Australia’s most premature babies.

Karen’s sewing machine produces a never-ending stream of beautiful garments in the most cheerful fabrics she can find, designed to meet the needs of babies in intensive care and warm the hearts of those who care for them. Since Karen started sewing her little garments she has donated over 220 gowns across Australia, some as small as a $5 note.

Karen sends her gifts of love to families across Australia, most of whom she will never have the chance to meet. Her thoughtfulness and generosity have lead to her to winning an award as our 1st runner up premmie hero. Karen knows what it is like to have a child in hospital, and is more than happy to send families a gift and bring a smile to the faces of those with sick and premature babies around the country.

Karen has a blog and facebook group that she updates regularly on what she has recently donated and you can see the gowns she has just created showcasing the beautiful & bright material she has used. 


Karen won a $200 RedBalloon gift certificate, a uniquely designed medal and a framed certificate, & received a 12 month subscription to Pratical Parenting Magazine, the major sponsor of this year’s awards.

Premmie Hero 2nd Runner Up

Julie Clarke has achieved so much for the premmie baby community in NSW. Julie has a son who was born prematurely at 27 weeks in York, England, 25 years ago.
She moved with her family to Australia and realised that there was no support available and soon started a support group, NNICUPS. This group is going very strong today and Julie and her husband attended the group’s 25th anniversary ball last year. Julie has worked tirelessly over the last 17 years and has always been involved, many of those years as President. Julie’s main aim is to support parents in need as they find themselves thrown into a crisis situation and throughout the years, Julie has been (and still is) a mentor to NNICUPS Parent Support.

A major achievement of Julie’s was initiating the construction of “Hope Cottage”
. Through fundraising and the help of 3 local Rotary groups the dream became a reality and Hope Cottage is situated at Nepean Hospital and now helps hundreds of families every year.

Julie is passionate about helping other groups start around Australia and has been involved in helping two charities to form throughout the years. Julie is a matriarch to many friends and families and continues to support families in need.

Julie won a $100 RedBalloon gift certificate, a uniquely designed medal and a framed certificate, & received a 12 month subscription to Pratical Parenting Magazine, the major sponsor of this year’s awards.

Premmie Hero Nominee - Kristie Plath

Over the next few months we will be featuring some of our amazing Premmie Hero 2009 nominees. Read about their amazing achievements and the support they give to families of premature babies throughout Australia. 

Kristie Plath lives in Townsville, North Queensland, with her Husband Jason, and their 2 sons Lachlan 2yrs 7mths & Riley 9 mths. Kristie was given a very abrupt introduction to NICU & Premmie babies in 2006. Before that she had NO idea that NICU’s and premmie babies existed. No one she knew had ever had a baby that was so early or sick that needed to go to NICU. Nevertheless, she has now lived the NICU roller coaster, with the highs and lows, but they made it out the other side. Kristie and Jason are forever different people and realise that the road never really ends for premature babies.

Kristie’s identical twin boys were born at 27 weeks, due to twin to twin transfusion. Lachlan was 1000g and Darcey was 716g, they were both very sick, ventilated and the family were not given many positives in the early stages as it was really touch and go, minute to minute. Day after day the amazing doctors and nurses in the Townsville Hospital NICU, kept their boys going with some positive reports coming their way. Sadly at 5 weeks of age (32 weeks), Darcey contracted “NEC” a very serious bowel infection, he was rushed to have half his bowel removed. The paediatric surgeon told them that he didn’t think he would be able to do anything, but the man is a magician and he was able to remove his perforated intestines and leave enough for him to survive, but Darcey was ventilated again and very, very sick battling for his life. Then 5 days later both boys were diagnosed with ‘PVL’ brain damage, which is basically from lack of oxygen and always causes disability. Sadly Darcey passed away when he was 6 weeks old, his tiny 1000g body could not cope with the trauma anymore, the world as they knew it was gone for ever. Lachlan was still very sick, he had lost a lot of weight and was having difficulty breathing and coming off the ventilator. Slowly he was getting stronger , they sat by his issolet day and night trying to give him their strength, what was left anyway. The rollercoaster ride saw Lachlan go to SCN only to go back to NICU, then back to SCN and back to NICU again but finally they made it home. Walking out the door with Lachlan, they were different people. Different to those that had walked in and they were hoping never to return.

Once they were home, Kristie realised that there was nothing in Townsville to support parents of premmie babies once they were discharged from hospital. The babies receive follow up appointments by doctors but mums and dads were given nothing. Kristie decided to start a parents support/playgroup group for all NICU and SCN graduates. The group meet at Ronald McDonald House in Townsville. Kristie is the Townsville representative for PIPA, (Preterm infant parents associations). She attends the hospital, co-ordinates fund raising and is the contact for parents with premmie kids needing assistance or further information and support.

Lachlan is now 2 yrs 7mths and doing well. He has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, which means he can’t walk without support yet, but he works really hard and has had a round of botox treatment in his legs which has helped him a lot with his walking. Lachlan also has a new baby brother Riley who is 9mths old. Riley is doing very well and had his own time in NICU. For anyone in Townsville or moving to Townsville who would like to go to the playgroup organised by Kristie or needs any information please contact her on 0413 621 434 or go to the PIPA website for more information.


Latest Forum Topics

Our premmie support forum is home to over 800 members. You will be sure to find topics on milestones, premmie issues, experiences through the NICU/SCN, morning teas, live chats, support, photos and more..

New with 25 weeker

New with 24 weeker

Your Hospital

First Curl

What are your plans this Friday night

He's doing it! and properly

Your child's glossary

Breastmilk is what you eat

Caitlin is home and first pics

Delays in movement


        Join our forum         

 Lifes Little Treasures
Annual Charity Lunch

Lifes Little Treasures invites you, your family and friends, to join us for our annual charity lunch to help raise funds to support families with premature babies.

LLT Charity Lunch to be held at CANVAS. Enjoy a beautiful meal prepared by renowned chef Pierre Khodja.

With an amazing Speaker and Raffle with great prizes

All proceeds will go to Lifes Little Treasures Inc to assist their ongoing support of Victorian families with premature babies.

Where: Canvas 
Level 1, 302-320 Burwood Road ,
Hawthorn VIC 3122

When: Wednesday 12th August 2009 from - 12pm – 2pm

R.S.V.P: Monday 3rd August 2009

Cost: $65 per person with a glass of red/white (all other drinks at bar prices),

Tables of 10 available

Proud support partner



PREM Triple P:
Developing a parenting program for parents of very preterm babies under 24 months

Researchers at the University of Queensland, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Mater Mother’s Hospital and the Queensland Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research Centre (Royal Children’s Hospital) are collaborating on a project to develop and trial a new variant of the Positive Parenting Program - Triple P developed for parents of babies born very preterm. The new variant of Triple P “PREM Triple P” would be delivered to parents in group sessions while their baby is still in NICU and include individual telephone sessions after the baby has gone home. Prem Triple P would include information about positive parenting strategies, coping skills and partner support. Researchers believe that Prem Triple P will impact on the cognitive development of very preterm babies at 24 months corrected age by positively changing the parent-child relationship and parent discipline style. Researchers are also interested in Prem Triple P’s effects on motor development, language skills and behaviour at 24 months corrected age. Professor Paul Colditz, director of the Perinatal Research Centre and a chief investigator on the project commented, “Parents of very preterm babies often feel uncertain about how to deal with the needs of their preterm baby as he or she grows and how to deal with the stresses. Prem Triple P is being developed to meet these needs and will be properly research tested to ensure it delivers on this aim”.

Triple P is a parenting intervention that is backed by 30 years of research and is widely implemented in Australia as well as 17 other countries. The aim of Triple P is to improve children’s behaviour and development through enhancing the parenting skills and the confidence of parents. Researchers in Triple P have been extended the program to suit various parents, children and parenting issues. Professor Matthew Sanders, the founder of Triple P and a chief investigator on the project stated, “This is the first time that Triple P has been applied to parenting a very preterm baby. This is an important study that has the potential contribute to the quality of life of families of preterm babies.”

This project is currently at a piloting stage and feedback is required from parents with preterm babies to ensure that PREM Triple P meets their needs. A web-based survey of parent’s reaction to PREM Triple P and the parenting tasks of parents of preterm babies is currently being conducted. If you are the parent of a preterm baby aged under 24 months (corrected age) we invite you to participate. We also need parents of term babies to participate as well so we can compare the two experiences. So if you have friends or family members with a term baby please invite them to participate as well! You can find the survey at the following website . If you would like to discuss the project please contact the study coordinator, Dr Koa Whittingham on 3636 5539 or . The chief investigators of this project include: Professor Paul Colditz, A/Professor Roslyn Boyd, Professor Matthew Sanders, Dr Margo Pritchard, A/Professor Peter Gray and A/Professor Michael O’Callaghan. The researchers involved would like to acknowledge a RCH Foundation grant in the funding of this pilot research.

Take the Survey


Baby ~ Birth Announcements

We all know how amazing the birth of a premature & SCN baby is and we welcome you to add their birth announcement on our website. We encourage parents, grandparents, friends and relatives to submit a birth announcement.

You are welcome to add any additional information and a message from the family with your announcement. We all look forward to celebrating with you. We also encourage you to join our
support forum where you can meet other families who have been down the path of premature birth and those families who are going through the rollercoaster ride at the moment.
With every
birth announcement submitted you will receive a birth announcement card (postcard style) designed by one of our amazing members. The cards are suitable for singletons, twins, triplets and more. You can choose a card for each baby individually or choose all names to be included on one card. Cards are available to families who have already submitted an announcement. If you would like one please email your postal details to us.


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