On the 25th of October 2010, Peter and I unexpectedly welcomed our son Xavier into the world, 3 months before he was due. Xavier weighed exactly 1kg and was immediately transferred to the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Hospital for Women at Randwick.
A few hours later we got to meet our precious little boy, who was settling into his humidicrib and connected to a breathing machine. He looked so small, but we took comfort from hearing that his birthweight was actually very healthy for a ‘26 weeker’. I distinctly remember feeling overwhelmed by all the beeping machines, all of Xavier’s various tubes and the flurry of activity of the nurses and doctors tending to their tiny patients. And so started our very steep (and at times, terrifying) learning curve about the unique challenges faced by premature babies and the vital care and equipment they need to give them the strongest possible start to life.
Xavier spent a total of 11 weeks in the NICU before we welcomed him home on 11 January 2011, still 2 weeks before his due date, but now weighing a healthy 2.6kgs. He was in a humidicrib for 6 weeks, received breathing assistance from various machines for 7 weeks and for 9 weeks was attached to monitors measuring his heart rate and oxygen levels. This gave us plenty of time to develop an appreciation for how vital these machines were to our son’s survival and his prospects for a normal and healthy life.
We learnt that a humidicrib was able to regulate his body temperature and oxygen levels, which was so important in those early days and became experts at interpreting the many different numbers and alarms coming from Xavier’s monitors. We will also never forget the wonderful support and compassion that we received from the doctors and nurses who are so devoted to caring for these babies and their parents during such anxious times.
We read about the opportunity to run in the SMH half marathon for premature babies with mixed emotions. Our hearts broke when we learned that Henry, Jasper and Evan had lost their brave fight for life after being born prematurely. We were inspired to read that Sophie and Ash organise a team to run in the half marathon in memory of their precious boys and to raise money for the vital equipment that kept our son alive. We are so happy that we can play our small part in this effort and can’t believe how many of you are running in the team!
On behalf of all the babies, parents and staff we met on our journey at the NICU, we would like to thank you all very much for running in this year’s half marathon to raise money for premature babies. The equipment that you are raising money for this year are the latest and very best in neonatal care and we have witnessed firsthand how essential they are to the survival of very vulnerable babies.
We hope Xavier’s little story demonstrates how your participation and enthusiasm will make such a difference to the lives of so many. And thank you Sophie and Ash for inspiring so many people to get involved.
We look forward to running with you all on 15 May!
Anna and Peter Green
p.s. Xavier is a happy and healthy five-year old, in his first year at school and has a three-year old brother Sam.