A life-changing experience spent at the side of their son's humidicrib after he was born three months early has prompted Rosie Pritchard and Zac Marr to throw their support behind the annual Walk for Prems on Sunday.
Mrs Pritchard gave birth to Arkie Marr at Royal North Shore Hospital on February 10, 2020, 28 weeks and five days into her pregnancy. Arkie then spend the next five weeks on CPAP, had phototheraphy and countless blood infusions.
"I went into labour at 25 weeks and three days, we were on holidays on the Gold Coast and I was able to hold on for three more weeks and they held off my labour," Mrs Pritchard said.
- READ ALSO: Soil research start-up plans to expand
"When he was born he was in respiratory distress and he was ventilated for a while."
She said Arkie spent 54 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit before being transferred to Orange where he spent another week in hospital before going home, just before his due day in the middle of April.
In addition to the stress of seeing her baby in the hospital Mrs Pritchard had the added burden of restrictions brought on by the COVID pandemic. Both Mr Marr's and Mrs Pritchard's parents visited after Arkie's birth but then restrictions tightened and vistors were banned.
"My husband Zac and I we sat by his bedside, there wasn't much we could do when a baby is born that early," Mrs Pritchard said. So they helped the nurses clean his face, change his nappies, and then they read to him.
She credited the NICU staff with saving Arkie's life while Life's Little Treasures Foundation made her time a bit easier by providing a breakfast bar and a parents' night.
"The friendships formed over those meals are ones that we will have for life," she said.
"We never expected to be in this position so knowing there are people who can support you is really nice."
Now 18 months on, the family is raising funds for Life's Little Treasures Foundation by taking part in the annual Walk for Prems on Sunday, October 24.
"We participated in the Walk for Prems for the first time last year, raising $1810 for families with sick and premature babies just like ours and can't wait to participate again," she said.
Due to COVID, Mrs Pritchard and her family will participate in the walk in Orange and hope to raise $2000 so other families can get the same assistance as they did.
The walk will be held in some capital cities but will be held as a virtual event in Orange.
Foundation CEO Felicia Welstead said the past 12 months have presented numerous challenges to families, especially those of premature and sick babies, and the foundation recognises the importance of bringing the community together again in support of those families in need.
"In these unprecedented times, parents of premature and sick babies are doing it tough. Without the traditional support network of family and friends, these families are more isolated than ever," Ms Welstead said.
"The theme of this year's walk is 'Together Again for Prems'. And that is exactly what we will be doing - coming together, both physically and virtually, to raise awareness and much needed funds for families of premature and sick babies."
To register or donate visit www.walkforprems.org.au.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: