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Thursday 17 November marks an important day of remembrance, celebration and support on the Mater calendar.
World Prematurity Day recognises the thousands of premature babies born each year in Australia, of which more than 2000 are given specialist life-saving care in Mater’s Neonatal Critical Care Unit.
Affectionately known as Mater Little Miracles, these babies are cared for by a team of expert specialists, nurses and midwives within the walls of one of Australia’s largest neonatal critical care units.
Mater Mum Alinta knows all too well how important Mater’s Neonatal Critical Care Unit has been in giving her new baby George the best possible start to life.
At just 20 weeks of pregnancy, Alinta and her husband James were forced to face the devastating news that their baby was growing with a heart defect.
From that day, the young parents from the Gold Coast steeled themselves with positive thoughts and tried to prepare for the challenges that lay ahead.
“We knew from that very moment that once born, our baby would require extra special care. But we felt comfort in the fact that we would deliver at Mater Mothers’ Hospital and that he would be a Mater little miracle,” Alinta recalls.
But these young parents could never have expected how soon their baby would arrive into the world.
At just 24 weeks, Alinta’s waters broke unexpectedly and she feared the absolute worst for her baby.
The future never felt more uncertain for Alinta and her family than in that moment.
Fortunately, she was not yet in labour and was able to continue her pregnancy until 1 July this year, when at just 27 weeks gestation, baby George raced into the world.
George was taken to Mater’s Neonatal Critical Care Unit, which quickly became the young family’s home away from home.
“I wasn’t able to cuddle him until he was one week old. But when I held him it was amazing, I really felt like his mum for the first time,” Alinta said.
The weeks that followed were frightening and challenging, even for Alinta as an experienced midwife.
But with the help of the specialist nurses and doctors at Mater that cared for him, George grew bigger and stronger each day until he was able to transfer closer to home for more care.
“The staff at Mater Mothers’ Hospital are the most incredible people that I have ever met; they have a different heart to everyone else. They gave us a family when ours was not close by,” Alinta said.
A long 134 days after being born, George was finally able to join his Mum, Dad and big sister Stella at home.
“I have such a sense of relief each and every time George passes one of his milestones. I am so grateful to him that he is not giving up and that he just keeps going every day.”
Right now, there are hundreds of other mums just like Alinta who are spending their days in hospital, waiting for the moment that they can take their baby home.
This World Prematurity Day you can join us in making a difference for seriously ill and premature babies like George by donating to Mater Little Miracles.
Please donate today.