Sonya and Luke Robinson with daughter Makayla, whose birth was premature. The Premature Infants’ Parent’s Association has joined with Ipswich Hospital to raise money for special equipment.
Sonya and Luke Robinson with daughter Makayla, whose birth was premature. The Premature Infants’ Parent’s Association has joined with Ipswich Hospital to raise money for special equipment. Sarah Harvey

Babies get precious extra help

LITTLE Makayla Robinson is a very special baby.

She arrived more than three months premature, at just over 25 weeks, weighing a tiny 595 grams.

First-time parents Luke and Sonya were thrust into a world of uncertainty, with Makayla kept at the Mater for months before being transferred to Ipswich Hospital, two weeks before what would have been her full term.

During Makayla's six weeks in Ipswich Hospital's special-care nursery, the new local branch of Preterm Infants' Parents Association helped the Robinsons.

PIPA co-ordinator Jessica Anderson said the group provided information, emotional and occasional financial support, to premature babies' families.

"We go to the hospital every fortnight and chat, and also host social events for families with premmies," Ms Anderson said.

"It's a big change to what parents expect, and they often don't know a lot about premature babies.

"Ipswich Hospital is a 32-week-plus hospital, so babies born under that age must be born at Brisbane hospitals, but they can be transferred here when they're old enough.

"With Makayla, we provided growth and development predictions based on age and weight, and we also offered information about caring for premmies, and a little dress."

Mrs Robinson said hearing advice from women who had had premature babies was very valuable. "Some people get scared by information, but I think the more you know, the more prepared you are," she said.

Now eight and a half months old, Makayla still relies on an oxygen tube to breathe at night. PIPA recently raised $1500 to purchase a new sleep apnea respiration monitor for Ipswich Hospital, and the first World Prematurity Day, this Thursday, November 17, will help raise more funds.

Ipswichians can wear 'Purple for Prems' to work or school, and donate a gold coin to PIPA (donation tins available from Karen, mobile 0406 291 188), or purchase a badge from Ipswich Hospital Foyer.



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