I’ll be honest with you. I know very little about pregnancy and babies. You see, my wife, Cass and I hadn’t started anti-natal classes. That was supposed to be on the Tuesday. But on the Saturday before, Cass started bleeding and an hour later our baby boy, Archie, was born. He was ten weeks early, weighed 1.6kg and I didn’t think he’d live.
He was quickly whisked off to the Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick. Cass and I were left alone. It wasn’t what we’d expected. It felt surreal. Cass ate six pieces of toast (I didn’t even know that was possible) and felt fine. I felt fine too, although there wasn’t any toast left for me.
By the time we’d followed Archie to the hospital he was in an incubator with a breathing mask and lots of tubes going in to him (I now know these were donated by RFPB). He spent the next weeks passing all tests the doctors threw at him. He starts breathing by himself, stomaching breast milk, jaundice clears and after a while starts putting on weight. We move from level 3, to level 2, to level 1. The nurses tell us he’s going to be ok. We realise we’ve been very lucky.
Six weeks. That’s how long we stayed at the Royal Hospital for Women (before transferring back to Manly). And every night when we left the only way we could show our gratitude to the doctors and nurses was to say thank you. It didn’t seem right. They were selflessly helping our baby day after day. So whilst I may not know much about babies I do know what they do is wonderful. I sell office buildings for a living. These guys save babies' lives.
When I saw the poster to join the team raising money for the ward I jumped at the chance. You see, race day happens to be Archie’s due date. His "zero birthday" as we’ve been calling it. The date that we’ve been aiming for since he was born. The date we can put it all behind us. The date we can feel normal.
But I’ll be running this year’s SMH half marathon, not to celebrate Archie’s birthday, not even to celebrate that he is happy and healthy. I’ll be running to say thank you to the doctors and nurses at the Royal Hospital for Women. If it wasn’t for you our baby would not be alive. Thank you.