RPA marks World Prematurity Day
Little Wonder supports families at RPA’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit
Alara Greenfield weighed 653 grams when she was born at 24 weeks and 6 days.
“She was tiny,” said her mother Fatma Greenfield.
Alara spent 115 days in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital's Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) last year. Fatma, and her husband David, visited her every day.
RPA’s NICU provides care for sick or premature infants born anywhere in New South Wales.
The doctors and nurses provided the best care for Alara at the worst possible time, Fatma said.
“They treat the babies with dignity and respect. It was beautiful to see your child being taken care of like that. I have nothing but admiration for them. We are indebted to them,” she said.
At RPA, we marked World Prematurity Day to raise awareness about pre-term births and the impact it can have on families.
Data shows about nine per cent of babies in Australia are born pre-term, which is when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
A parent support group called Little Wonder, which also raises funds for equipment and resources to support the Unit, held a special morning tea at the Unit.
“We’re dedicated to giving back to the Unit that saved our babies and allowed them to prosper,” said Oliva Nixon, the president of the group, which was set up 10 years ago.
Fatma and David welcomed the much-needed support from Little Wonder.
“It lifted our spirits. They took time to look after the mums and dads… it was quite a big part of our journey,” Fatma said.
Over the past decade, Little Wonder has provided funds for a humidicrib, jaundice meters, three libraries in the Unit and gift bags for special occasions – like World Prematurity Day.
This year, the group purchased four continuous positive airway pressure machines (CPAP) worth $25,000.
“Most of the parents didn’t expect to be at NICU. They have little knowledge about sick and premature babies… so this is one way for us to connect and offer them support,” Olivia said.
Dr Mark Greenhalgh, a Staff Specialist Neonatologist and the Acting Head of Department, oversees the running of the 34-bed Unit.
“I am very proud of our Unit. Our doctors and nurses are dedicated to caring for all of the sick or premature babies who are admitted to our Unit. And, they work tremendously hard to support families during their time with us.
“We truly appreciate our partnership with Little Wonder and are grateful for the additional equipment and resources they have funded,” he said.
Fatma and David brought Alara home in February. She’s now celebrated her first birthday.
“The doctors and nurses help all the babies grow, blossom and thrive. I will be forever grateful to the hospital… what they do for our babies is above and beyond.