Catherine Dyke, Baby Bunting Burleigh Waters Store Manager in Queensland, talks to us about the premature birth of her daughter Valarie and what it means to be supporting the walk this year.
1. How has your child’s early arrival impacted you?
As Valarie was my first born I don’t know what it’s like not being a mother of a Preemie I wouldn’t change anything though it has made me a stronger person and I know how lucky I am to be a mother .
2. How has it affected your child, if at all?
Valarie was born at 27 weeks and only weighed 545 grams half the size she should of been for her gestation , she was intubated for 25 hours and again at 16 days old other than that she was supported with CPAP until she was 6 weeks old she was strong enough to go into an open cot she had no brain bleeds and only required occasional cot oxygen , Valarie is now 7 years old but still very small but she was always going to be .
3. What do you recall about the experience as a parent?
It was terrifying watching her being jabbed and looked at she had 3 blood transfusions and they were the worst . My day was wake up express go into the hospital for first feed express eat express eat meet my husband for dinner express go in for one more feed then go to bed with expressing through the night to wake in the morning and repeat this was for 3 months , I would sit by her bed all day its a very lonely experience.
4. Can you offer any advice for parents of premature babies, based on your family’s experience?
You need to remember that every baby is different some will go home earlier than others or feed better or grow faster you just have to let it happen and not compare your baby to the one in the other bed . and make sure you have a really good cry because its ok to cry let it all out so your ready to give your baby all of yourself .
5. What, in your mind, has changed in caring for premature babies and their families since your child was born?
New advances are happening all the time and younger babies are surviving they are learning new techniques all the everyday
6. What lead you to work at Baby Bunting?
I was always interested in the children side of retail but had not explored the idea until I received a call from my now regional manager who offered me an exciting role in the Baby Bunting family I love that I can encourage other mothers who are going through what I’ve been through letting them know that there is a light at the end of that very long tunnel and that they will get through it .
7. Baby Bunting stocks a range of premmie products. Can you tell us a little bit about them.
We sell a few line for Premmies here at Baby Bunting Earlybirds Purebaby and bonds also carry 00000 , Earlybirds and Purebaby are a basic range for the small preemie as they don’t need many clothes when they are in the NICU or SCN but something that they can wear that fits I know that I couldn’t wait for Valarie to actually fit into things as she wore her clothes big and still does
8. What does supporting Life’s Little Treasures Foundation mean to you?
I was so excited when I saw that we were the mayor sponsor for Walk for Prems as I have followed Life’s Little Treasures Foundation on Facebook for quite some time now we do need to get the word out around Preemie babies with the advances in medical care available more and more preemies are surviving and thriving , and they are growing into beautiful bright children and adults . this such a great foundation offering support to those who are in need and always available to give advice or send you in the right direction .