A mother’s warn­ing

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page - BY SA­MAN­THA DICK sdick@ne­me­dia.com.au

A LO­CAL mother of two pre­ma­turely born ba­bies has shared her story ahead of a Mercy Health Foun­da­tion cam­paign that raises funds for pre­ma­ture birth com­pli­ca­tions.

Kate Stagg was “feel­ing a bit off” one day in 2014 while preg­nant with her third daugh­ter, Neeve.

“I went to the doc­tor 32 weeks preg­nant... and be­fore long I was be­ing flown to the Mercy Hos­pi­tal in Mel­bourne,” the mother-of-four told the Wan­garatta Chron­i­cle.

“The next day we had this tiny lit­tle dot of a baby whom I couldn’t hold be­cause she was so lit­tle.”

De­spite pre­vi­ously giv­ing birth to two healthy full-term ba­bies, Mrs Stagg de­vel­oped preeclamp­sia dur­ing her third preg­nancy and was forced to de­liver Neeve pre­ma­turely via a cae­sarean.

“I didn’t tick any of the boxes for preeclamp­sia,” she said.

“I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I wasn’t over­weight, and I wasn’t above 35, noth­ing - just re­ally bad luck.”

But two years af­ter Neeve came Aria, who was born at the Mercy Hos­pi­tal in 2016 at an alarm­ing 28 weeks.

“Aria weighed just over one kilo,” Mrs Stagg ex­plained.

“She had lots of prob­lems and went straight onto breath­ing sup­port, suf­fer­ing bowel com­pli­ca­tions and weight loss.

“My hus­band Drew used to be able to hold her in one hand and his wed­ding ring went all the way up one arm.”

How­ever, de­spite the stress of giv­ing birth to two pre­ma­turely born ba­bies, Mrs Stagg said she con­sid­ers her­self lucky.

“We found our own net­work of sup­port in Wan­garatta,” she said.

“My ad­vice to other mums is to talk, and to learn about how to ac­cept help when you need it.

“The best sup­port you can get is ac­tu­ally talk­ing to other mums who have had ‘prem’ ba­bies be­cause I thought I knew it all... but your ex­pec­ta­tions need to be dif­fer­ent be­cause it’s hard work.”

Mrs Stagg urged other women to ap­pre­ci­ate the hard­ship as­so­ci­ated with preg­nancy.

“It takes a re­ally, re­ally big toll on your health,” she said.

“One of the nurses told me the big­gest risk to peo­ple is when they’re be­ing born, and the big­gest risk to women is when they’re giv­ing birth.

“Even though women have done it for thou­sands of years, it’s a re­ally dan­ger­ous pe­riod in your life.”

The Mercy Health Foun­da­tion’s ‘Pram Jam’ cam­paign will take place from Novem­ber 20 to 26.

By sim­ply push­ing a pram, walk­ing or run­ning any dis­tance, spon­sored Pram Jam par­tic­i­pants can raise money for Mercy Peri­na­tal, an in­ter­na­tional re­search cen­tre aimed at im­prov­ing the health and well­be­ing of moth­ers and ba­bies.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.pram­jam.org.au.

PHOTO: Emma Hil­lier

LUCKY PAR­ENTS: Par­ents Kate and Drew Stagg (pic­tured) urged other par­ents of pre­ma­turely born ba­bies like Neeve, 3 (left), and Aria, 1 (right), to seek com­mu­nity sup­port.

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