From ‘denial’ to ‘praying’: Life with a premature baby
A HEAVILY pregnant Mackay mother was getting ready for bed when her waters broke a month before her baby's due date.
Angela Sammon, of Alligator Creek, said at first she was "in denial" about being in labour and her husband thought she was "overreacting".
But just hours later, the first-time mum gave birth to their son Albie-Ray at 35 weeks and three days gestation, weighing 2.77kg, at the Mackay Base Hospital.
Mrs Sammons said she got a quick cuddle with her newborn son before the medical team whisked him away for examinations.
"The first few days were the hardest," she said.
"When I first came down from the labour ward and saw the tube, I thought, 'He's not going to be a normal baby'."
She said the following days were fuelled by adrenaline; bathing Albie for the first time was a terrifying experience as his naked body looked smaller still in her hands.
Eleven days later, the family and staff at Mackay Base Hospital's Special Care Nursery were celebrating Albie putting on 20g.
"You're just crossing your fingers at every weigh in, you're praying," Mrs Sammon said.
"It's all up to him now."
Mackay Hospital and Health Service Women's Health Unit's Seana Clarke said the eight-cot nursery provided neonatal care to vulnerable babies born before their due date as well as babies who may have an illness.
"A team of health professionals including doctors, nurses, social workers and allied health
staff provide care in the nursery for preterm babies born from 32 weeks or weighing about
1500 grams," the nurse unit manager said.
"Last year 1383 babies were born at Mackay Base Hospital.
"Of those, 107 babies were born premature (less than 37 weeks gestation), with some requiring a short stay and others for up to two months.
Ms Clarke said having a premature baby could be a "very worrying experience" for parents as their babies received "round the clock" care.
"World Prematurity Day (November 17) is an opportunity to raise awareness around the prematurity risk factors in pregnancy, highlight the risks to babies born prematurely and acknowledge the impact on families and health care facilities," she said.
"Mackay HHS would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all the specialised neonatal nursing
staff who make a huge difference and positive impact on the lives of premature babies and