Every year, 15 million babies are born premature worldwide. More than one million of these babies die, and many more face serious, lifelong health challenges. Worldwide, one in ten babies are born too early – more than 25,000 each year in Australia alone. Raising awareness of and funds for preterm birth is the first step to defeating it.
Luke and Terri’s identical twin girls Dahli and India were born on 21st January, 2018 at just 27+3 weeks. They were both 35.5cm long, Dahli weighing 925g and India 890g. Terri was experiencing a healthy, happy pregnancy and having the girls born extremely early was completely unexpected. Having a premature baby or babies in Terri’s case was heart wrenching. She said “It’s so frightening, frustrating, isolating and traumatic; something that no one should have to go through”.
Terri went on to say “Although the experience of having premature babies is terrifying and isolating every day, our babies were warriors and the NICU and Special Care team at The Canberra Hospital were their superheroes. If it was not for the skills, expertise and resources available to us and our girls, we know that our story would have had a heartbreaking ending. However, after 91 days in hospital, we were able to take our gorgeous warrior princesses home. We know that we are the lucky ones. We were so blessed to bring home two beautiful baby girls and not a day goes by where we forget how fortunate we are.”
Luke and Terri started to train in preparation to run the half marathon in the Australian Running festival to raise awareness about premature birth and funds for The Newborn Intensive Care Foundation. It was planned for Terri to push the girls in a double pram the whole way who will then be 15months old (12 months corrected). The Australian Running Festival provided a special exemption to run with the twin running pram and will be the very first pram in this event! However, a couple of months ago Terri learnt that she was pregnant with baby number three and has handed over the responsibility of pushing the twin girls in the pram to Luke and for Terri to be the number 1 cheer squad!
The Newborn Intensive Care Foundation is a local charity that raises money for medical equipment, research and nurse education to help give the ACT and Southern NSW’s critically ill newborn babies, the best chance to lead healthy, normal lives. During their time in hospital Terri and Luke shared they were not aware of the amazing work they have done but their our girls graduated NICU and Special Care, they found their website and all the wonderful things they have been able to achieve.
Terri said “This foundation purchased a Nava ventilator, which pretty much saved little Dahli’s life (we have joked that we might give her the middle name Nava). Things were not looking good until this amazing technology came along. And not only do they raise money for equipment and education but their funding helped me to provide breast milk to my babies. They purchased the brilliant breast pumps and funded a successful trial for a dedicated lactation consultant for the NICU which was successful- and this amazing lady is still there!” If you would like to see more of the amazing work this foundation does, you can check out: https://newborn.org.au
Currently, NICU needs 14 Neopuff machines with each one costing $1,500. Neopuffs are resuscitation devices used to provide breathing support if a baby stops breathing or has an apnoea (pause in breathing associated with prematurity). These devices provide blended air/oxygen and an inspiratory pressure and end expiratory pressure. We are hoping to raise enough funds to purchase two of these.
“From the very beginning our warrior princesses Dahli and India had a fight to live and without the incredible advances in neonatal technology we would not have our beautiful twins brightening our life every day.” Terri shared.
The Australian Running Festival is on Sunday 14th April and they hope that we can raise funds to donate to the Newborn Intensive Care Foundation so we can give back in whatever small way possible. Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/running-4-nicu
If you would like to read more about their journey, training, and life after NICU, please follow their blog: https://doubletheluv.com