Wednesday, November 24, 2010
A first taste...
A week ago I took part in the ‘Tour of the Wairarapa’ race to try and remove some pre Taupo nerves and get some good practice. I started fast (for me) and after only 10kms my lungs were exploding and my legs burning. I had to slow and move into a more sustainable pace.
Every time I am out on the bike now, I think back to those early days, to what our kids went through and reflect on our own struggles and sensitivities surrounding their early arrival.
When my body was screaming out “NO!” at the start of the race, I couldn’t help but feel strength to go on. I thought how can I even think this is tough going – its been 15minutes and our kids had to fight for every breath they took for days, if not weeks and in some cases months.
I tried to imagine what it would actually feel like to be born without lung development, but of course it is impossible. I thought it would be good to dedicate this blog to all our kids - what they went through and how much they have achieved. Speaking for myself those early days were filled with so much pride and admiration for the strength Sophie and Holly showed coupled with a very real understanding of their fragility and fear surrounding their immensely weak immune systems.
I asked the mums belonging to Pushing it for Prems to give me the statistics of their kids. I have all but one – so these statistics are from only 6 kiddies, mostly from the first 6months of life, but in some cases ongoing. Let me give you a summary…..
Total Number of:
Blood Transfusions – 55+
Eye Operations – 4
Heart Operations – 2
Hospital Admissions – 25+
Hernia Operations – 3
Digestive Operations – 1
Trips in Life Flight – 4
Long lines – stacks
IV Lines – stacks
C.P.R – 19+ (including fractured ribs but with a life saved)
Brain Scans – loads
X-rays (head, lungs) – 20+
Eye examinations (= eyes held open with steel clamps) – 2
Overcame Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) – 1
Nitrous Oxide Treatment – 1
Oscillating Ventillator Treatment – 3
Wow, its quite staggering to see it all written out like that!
As for the mums, I will not be letting their efforts go unreported. The figures are low as I couldn’t get the stats for one member, but 5 mums in our group expressed for their tube fed babies for a solid 1995 hours!! That is 83 days of non-stop expressing! Not to mention a couple of years of breastfeeding on top of that.
Obviously and thank goodness not all babies that are born prematurely are born as extremely prematurely as the bunch we parent. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) admits on average 1000 babies annually. 67% are Wellington and Kapiti Coast babies, 31% Central Region babies, and 2% is made up of babies in other DHBs outside the Central Region.
I have found our whole journey to be so immensely touching. The generosity and genuine want to support our cause from so many people is staggering. I have loved hearing stories from work colleagues and people on the street. I have wanted to hug and kiss more than a few of them, especially the grown-up ex-prems who all seem to have the hugest hearts.
We will be riding on the day in our PUSHING IT FOR PREMS team kit. The team at Tineli have been supportive and accommodating from the first phone call helping us get decked out and ready to take on the challenge. Keep an eye out for us and give us a toot if you see us whizzing, or should I say, meandering past.