A mother’s warning
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.
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.