Michael Vosmansky is the father of Robbie Vosmansky, who was born prematurely at 32 weeks. Michael and his wife Karin will be participating in this month’s Walk for Prems, the largest annual fundraiser by the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, Australia’s leading charity dedicated to the families of babies born sick or prior to 37 weeks gestation. Walk for Prems will take place simultaneously in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Launceston. To show their support, Michael has shared his experience of what it means to be the father of a premmie.
The months prior to my son's birth were mostly what I expected pending fatherhood to be like. My wife Karin fussed about, discussing and choosing the necessary newborn accessories - pram, change table, cot, clothes etc., etc. I would provide thoughts and opinions, and Karin would reach decisions based on her opinions - pretty normal stuff really.
We were busy doing some minor renovations - plastering and painting, mainly, trying to get the house and nursery ready for the arrival of our first child.
Karin began to get some pregnancy symptoms that, while being uncomfortable for her, did not overly cause concern, due to the fact that this was all first time experiences for us. Lower limb swelling and continual heartburn were the two that I remember, with there being times when Karin couldn't sleep due to the discomfort.
It got worse and we had one trip to hospital, only to be advised to take some Panadol and not worry... A trip to the obstetrician resulted in some blood tests being run and we returned home. It was Friday 5th January, 2007, eight weeks prior to the estimated due date for our first born.
I was at work in the CBD, not really thinking about pregnancy, babies or the like - too busy working. The phone rang and it was Karin, in tears, telling me that the obstetrician had called and she needed to present at hospital right away. The blood work we would later find out had revealed pre-eclampsia and the potentially fatal HELLP Syndrome.
I left work and took a cab home, where I found Karin crying and trying to pack her hospital birthing bag - none of which we had started, as we were still two months away from the delivery date. So off we went to the hospital we had booked for the expected delivery and were moved straight into the birthing suite. The head obstetrician turned up, pretty unusual for a Friday afternoon, and we were told that this hospital was not equipped for this type of “Emergency” - Yes, “Emergency”. It was at this point that the pit of my stomach dropped what felt like a hundred feet.
We were advised that we would be transferred to a large one level hospital with intensive care facilities for both my wife and the baby and an emergency caesarean had to be performed as soon as possible. Karin had been administered magnesium to help prevent her having seizures and was transported by ambulance with steroid injections being administered while she was being loaded into the ambulance to try and build the baby's lungs.