Last week, our little family, The Mister, Ms 4 , Mr 2 and myself, participated in the 2015 Walk For Prems. It was a great day, and we all had fun! Although it was quite windy for much of the day, it didn’t seem to put anyone off and there was a great crowd gathered around Albert Park Lake in Melbourne. The Walk For Prems is a regular Walk, that raises funds for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation. Life’s Little Treasures Foundation is Australia’s leading charity dedicated to the families of babies born sick or prior to 37 weeks gestation. This year, the aim is to raise $250,000 and the walk was held in six cities around Australia simultaneously. The major sponsor for the race, was Medela. Medela understands the importance of human milk in the NICU and know that the content of human milk makes a considerable contribution to the best possible development of premature babies. According to Medela CEO, Jarrod Percy, the organisation is looking forward to helping the foundation in the very valuable work it does to support the families of premature and sick babies.
We have been blessed with healthy, full term pregnancies with both our children, and feel incredibly grateful for this. When I was presented with the opportunity to participate in the walk with Team Medela, to raise awareness and funds, I discussed it with The Mister and we both agreed it would be a great way to support those that have not been as lucky as we have.
You see, this cause is also important to us, as we have friends who have experienced the roller coaster ride that comes with the premature birth of your baby. Their little man Thomas was born at 27 weeks. What followed was three months in the Royal Children’s Hospital with surgeries, IV tubes, humidicribs and more. The family received support from Life’s Little Treasures, and others throughout this bewildering and scary time. Eventually, they were able to take their wee little man home, where he received lots of early intervention in the form of physiotherapists and occupational therapists from the Royal Children’s Hospital. Thomas is now in primary school, and continues to work on his motor skills and is also learning keyboard, riding his bike and participating in running try outs. He is an amazing little man, who in the words of his mum “is a very caring boy who loves learning about the world he lives in and it has been possible because of the Royal Children’s Hospital including all the staff and availability of equipment”.
It’s amazing what babies and families can do when they have the right supports in place. The Life’s Little Treasures Foundation want to ensure that no family endures the traumatic and life changing experience of having a premature of sick baby without easy access to critical information and community support to help them through their journey. The Walk For Prems event continues to raise money, and in the last three years has raised half a million dollars. The actual Walk was great – there was such a fun atmosphere, with families walking with their babies and kids and even their dogs! There were prams and toddlers and lots and lots of teams walking for the little one in their life who made their way into the world too early. At the end of the walk, the kids enjoyed music and food and all sorts of fun activities. It was a great day!
If you would like to find out more about the work that Life’s Little Treasures do to support prem babies and their families, click here. And if you feel like you would like to donate some money, and help the Foundation reach their goal of $250,000 you can do so here.
Have your kids participated in a fundraising walk/run? How did they go? I would love to know!
This post was bought to you by Dettol.
Before you have kids, you ‘know’ things will change. Work, money, some household roles. Your body. And you also ‘know’ that you won’t let some things change (bahahaha!). We’ll still do the things we love to do, baby will fit in with us….. And to some extent that’s true. Like, for perhaps the first few months. Then baby is not a newborn anymore. Baby becomes a small human intent on making you focus solely on them at all times – for food, for nappy changes, for entertainment, for laughing, for cuddling. So you know, mostly, it’s all good and pretty much why lots of people have kids. It’s when they’re slightly older – preschool/toddler – that you realise how the small things have changed. There are loads of things that have changed for me because of kids and below are just three:
Music. Now I’m not talking about seeing live music. Clearly that’s changed. The last live show I saw was Hi 5. Lord. But even listening to it has changed. I do it less, for one, mainly because I listen more to the ABC during the day now. Because I don’t get to watch the news etc on the tv anymore. For one, it’s the kids bed and bath time when it’s on and two, I don’t want them seeing it. I can have the radio on and turn it off quickly if I need. And also, when we put music on now, it’s with a lot of thought. Music from the 90’s features a lot and earlier, and we pick stuff that we think the kids will enjoy – that they can jump around and rock out to. Because they actually love doing that which is awesome, especially for The Mister. He’s been in bands for most of his adolescent and adult life, so it’s good to see them enjoy music.
Books. I used to read and read and read!!! And I do read blogs and new sites a lot but I used to read books. Stories. Things that took me to other places and times and gave me different views on things. Now, books are read and re-read but aren’t quite the same. Jessie, Iron Man and the Wonkey Donkey have taken over from Elizabeth, Frodo and Jo. Which is quite lovely in one way, but something I’ve recently tried to change. I’m so pleased the kids have always been interested in books and stories, but I need to make sure I keep reading too. Even if it’s re-reading the one’s I love and throwing in a new one every now and then. I’ve been trying to go to bed a half hour earlier to get some book time in.
Hand Wash. I never used to buy hand wash. I would have soap in the bathroom and that would be it. Why would I a spend more on liquid soap, I thought. Ha!! Since having kids, the amount of time I have spent washing my hands must of quadrupled. And that’s being conservative! Multiple nappy changes a day, washing out said nappies (we use cloth), cleaning up after the kids, and all the normal reasons to wash hands. It’s now an essential and since using the Dettol No Touch system I’m thoroughly converted. I think I need one for the laundry as well as the one I have in the kitchen. The laundry is where we store and wash nappies, feed animals and change kitty litter. One in the laundry would be pretty handy actually. I sometimes make my own – I recently worked out how to make the foaming hand wash which is great, but I think the No Touch system is really god for the kitchen – think washing hands after cutting raw chicken and think about what the pump on the hand wash must be covered in. Yeah. Nice.
So tell me, what are the small things that have changed since you had kids? Is it something that surprised you or were you fully prepared for the change?
And it’s pretty scary, actually. We had been taking Mr 2 back to the doctor on a seemingly weekly basis. It wasn’t actually weekly, but that’s what it felt like. Constant coughing that turned into wheezing, that sometimes turned into heavy, laboured breathing where his poor little ribs sucked in and out.
It started about September last year. Initially it was croup – meaning a steroid dose was taken. The next month, we were away on the Great Ocean Road for a weekend, and his breathing became wheezy and his ribs were working hard. So we called the Lorne hospital and they recommended we come in. It was a Saturday evening of a long weekend, and we had never needed to take the kids to an emergency department before. And we weren’t in Lorne, we were probably 25 minutes further on the winding ocean road. That had Mr 2 vomiting with car sickness the day before. Awesome.
So we headed in, with Ms 3 happily bunked in with friends in their cabin. I was, of course, completely anxious the whole way there – was he going to spew on the way, was his breathing going to get worse, was Ms 3 ok with us leaving her when it was night and we were in a strange place. Naturally, he didn’t spew, slept the whole way there and Ms 3 had an awesome time with the big girls! When we got to the ED, the staff was great. Saw us straight away and were lovely. They monitored him for a bit, gave him a dose of steroids and diagnosed bronchiolitis. Rest and fluids, and get another course of steroids for him.
Over the months since, we’ve been back to the GP at least five times with similar symptoms – particularly the wheezing and coughing. Each time leaving with redipred and ventolin, and sometimes antibiotics, but no diagnosis. When kids are under two, there is a reluctance to diagnose asthma, mainly because they can ‘grow’ out of it. Their airways are small and more sensitive to inflammation. So they wait a bit and see if the symptoms will ease off. That’s my understanding.
We had started considering going to a different GP, to push for a bit more assessment. He had turned 2 at the start of the year and it was still happening. Around March, he was wheezy AGAIN. Of course it came on later in the day and I only managed to get an appointment at about ten to five and with a different GP. I got in to the clinic, with Ms 3 and Mr 2 managing to climb all over every inch of the waiting room and the GP’s room. They cannot sit still when we are in a GP’s office!
Well, this one was awesome. She read the file, listened to what I was saying and assessed Mr 2’s presentation. “It is asthma” she pronounced and proceeded to instruct me to take him to the local emergency department for assessment. Wait, what? She was concerned that he needed a thorough assessement that she couldn’t do at this stage of the day. He needed to be monitored over a three hour period, to assess his breathing and his response to medication.
So off we went to the local emergency department. The Mister had just got home from work, so he met us there. Luckily, it went fairly well. We didn’t have to wait hours and hours. Saying that, whislt we were waiting, his breathing worsened and we heard that real rattling, whistle type breath for the first time. That wasn’t great.
He was assessed and monitored and sent home with ventolin and spacers and instructions to see the GP, having responded well to the ventolin. And that was how we found out our child has asthma. Since then, we have had an appointment with the nurse at the GP’s to develop an Asthma Management Plan and to learn a little more about asthma. That appointment really bought home to me how serious asthma is. We don’t have it in our family and neither does The Mister. So I’ve never really been exposed to it. The nurse made it clear that it can and does kill children when not managed properly. Scared the bejeesus out of me. So now he is on preventer medication, morning and night, with the plan to reassess once we are through winter. For Mr 2, coughs and colds appear to be a trigger, so winter can be a difficult period. And we carry ventolin, spacer and mask with us all the time, in case an attack flares up.
Luckily, the younger kids are when they’re first diagnosed, the more likely they seem to grow out of it. Fingers crossed that happens for us too. He’s been travelling well so far through winter, with only a few episodes of needing ventolin, usually when he has had a particularly severe cold/cough.
Did you know there is an Asthma First Aid Plan? I didn’t, I had no idea. Click through if you are interested in knowing more about it. It’s simple and straight forward, and good to know if you’re with someone who appears to be having an attack.
How about you? Do you or your child have asthma? Was it a surprise, or does it run in your family? Let me know, I’d be keen to hear (read!) your experience.
Here are some more links you may find useful:
- The Asthma Buddy App – great for slightly older kids learning to manage their asthma.
- The National Asthma Council Australia – lots of information for those with asthma, or caring for someone with asthma, for professionals and for media.
- Asthma Australia – again, has lots of information and links to state/territory specific sites.