Today is ‘Wear Green for Preemie’s Day’, a day where Australian’s are being urged to search their wardrobes for something green in the hopes of raising money and awareness for babies who are born prematurely.
The day is run by the ‘Lil Aussie Prem’s Foundation who support thousands of Australian families who experience pre term births every year.
One mother who knows all to well the realities of premature birth is Rhiann Lee, mother and fundraising manager of ‘Lil Prems.
Her daughter, Isabelle, entered the world at 28 weeks and one day gestation on 25 September 2015 via emergency c-section.
Doctors advised Rhiann that she needed to give birth to her daughter as she was suffering from severe pre eclampsia, HELLP syndrome and placental abruption. Isabelle had severe intra uterine growth restriction (IUGR) as a result and was born at a tiny 656g.
After her birth Isabelle spent about eight and a half weeks in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Melbourne’s Monash Medical Centre. Here, she focused on growing and learning to breathe on her own. “She was on CPAP with room air for about 8 weeks - after about 6 failed attempts to breathe on her own.” Rain explains.
After she made progress in the NICU, Isabelle was Isabelle was moved to the special care nursery for another two and half weeks. She was then able to start learning to feed without the use of a feeding tube.
After 77 days in hospital, Rhiann was finally able to take her beautiful girl home on the 11th December 2015 weighing 1.86kg.
Having experienced the emotional up’s and downs that come with being a mother to a pre term baby, Rhiann ha since decided to become a part of L'il Aussie Prems Foundation as the Fundraising Manager. She says her decision to take on the role was “because i wanted to give something back to the prem baby community.”
Rhiann says that the ‘Wear green for Premmie’s Day” is important as it helps raise much needed funds to purchase equipment for hospitals in order to care for premature babies and their mothers. The Foundation also wishes to raise community awareness of preemie bugs. “ It’s something which you never think is going to be something you will experience until all of a sudden it becomes something that consumes you and your family for the first part of your child's life."
“It's also a day to celebrate your child's strength and fight, as well as to acknowledge those babies who grew their wings too soon. Today i am spending it with my beautiful survivor Isabelle and some of her NICU friends and their mums, who have become such a huge part of our lives and will continue to be important people in our lives for years to come. I think NICU families form lifelong bonds that will be hard to break as well helped each.”