We are excited to introduce Ava, who is the ‘smile’ behind our Wear Green for Premmies campaign for 2016.
Sarah and Wayne tried for two years to fall pregnant and they where ecstatic when it finally happened. Sarah’s pregnancy progressed without complication until she reached 33 weeks when her waters started leaking and showing early signs of labour. She was receiving daily antibiotics being that there was a extremely high risk of infection since her waters had broken. She was also given two steroid injections to help mature her baby’s lungs and medication to stop labour.
Sarah spent the next 7 days in hospital and at 34 weeks, she started having mild contractions but wasn’t convinced it was labour as they where not painful. Visiting hours ended so Wayne ended up going home. As the night progressed, her pains would come and go but nothing made her think she was in labor, nor did the nurses seem concerned. Sarah was advised that if she was in labour, they would now just let their baby be born.
Around 11:30pm, Sarah’s pain intensified but they where still manageable so she stayed in her room trying to rest. At around 12:30am, her pains became unbearable so the nurses took Sarah to the birthing suite and was advised that she was 8cm dilated!! Sarah rang Wayne and told him to come quickly! The room quickly filled with nurses. The paediatrician was called and 14 minutes later Ava entered the world. Unfortunately Sarah’s husband missed his little girls birth by 5 minutes. Ava weighed 4lb 6oz (1980g) and was 44cms in length. Sarah does not remember hearing Ava cry as she was in a state of shock with what had just happened. The doctors checked over Ava and let Sarah have a quick look at her beautiful daughter. Ava was then taken away to the Special Care Nursery where she was hooked up to countless tubes and wires and placed in a humidicrib.
Sarah and Wayne were able to hold Ava for the first time the following morning – about 5 hours after her arrival. Sarah loved that magical feeling she felt when enjoying a kangaroo cuddle. Ava spent 6 days in a humidicrib because she was unable to maintain her body temperature and she was receiving antibiotics for a blood infection. For Sarah and Wayne, this was the most difficult time during their journey because they were only able to hold Ava 1-2 times a day if she was stable enough.
During this time in Special Care, Ava also had numerous apneas where she would forget to breathe, causing the machines to beep like crazy. Sarah said that, “it was very scary but as quick as they happened, they where over”. Ava was upgraded to an open cot on Christmas day in 2012, which was a wonderful Christmas gift. For Sarah and Wayne, it was difficult being in hospital on Christmas day, but it was also wonderful that Ava was here for a special cuddle.
The hardest part of the journey for Sarah and Wayne, was most definitely leaving the hospital without her. Sarah said that, “Walking away with all of your bags, gifts, balloons and flowers but no baby, is such a horrible feeling”. There were many tears during her time in hospital, some sad, and others happy tears when she would reach milestones.
Ava spent another 2.5 weeks in the Special Care Nursery in an open cot, learning to suck feed. Sarah said that, “it was always very exciting every second day when we were able to do her cares, give her a bath and weigh her.” Ava never had any major complications apart from not being able to suck feed after her early arrival. Sarah would express milk sitting next to her cot every 3 hours, day and night, for her to drink with via a tube or a bottle.
After 3.5 weeks in the Special Care Nursery, weighing only 5lb 1oz, Ava was ready to go home. Just like most parents, Sarah and Wayne were petrified but also elated that she was being discharged to home. Ava no longer had any monitors on so Sarah was worried that she might stop breathing when they were asleep. She was scared to have visitors because Ava was still so tiny and didn’t want Ava to catch anything nasty.
Ava had a couple of follow up visits with her paediatrician and at 4 months old, she was growing so beautifully that so she no longer required any further appointments. Ava has no lasting complications from her prematurity and her parents couldn’t be more thankful.
Sarah said that, “the nurses in the Special Care Nursery where absolutely wonderful. They would explain everything to us along the way and encouraged lots of kangaroo care which I loved. They made Christmas day special by giving all of the babies little gifts and getting dressed up in the festive spirit. Ava would receive little awards when she reached a milestones or had a good day at suck feeds. We are forever thankful to them for looking after Ava when we couldn’t be there.”
“Our family and friends where fantastic throughout Ava’s time in hospital. It was a little hard at times because I didn’t know anyone who had a premature baby, so no one really knew what we were going through. I didn’t know what to expect myself and we are grateful for their love and support.”
Ava will be featured on our 2016 Wear Green for Premmies poster this year along with our amazing sponsors, Huggies, Britax and Water Wipes.
Participants do not have to attend a physical event, however, are invited to join our Facebook page and encourage family, friends and work colleagues to simply wear green on Wednesday, 13th April 2016.
A special thank you to Rikki-Lee from Pregnant Memories by Rikki-Lee for her kindness in donating her services to photograph Ava for our 2016 event.