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Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal

Added on 21 April 2011 in Darlings Downunder, Nappy charity

It's Good Friday tomorrow, and for many of us who've had seriously ill children, the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal is an Easter tradition more important than eggs or bunnies. Darlings Downunder will be supporting the Good Friday Appeal by donating 10% of all sales placed this Friday.

I (Fiona) have my own reason for supporting the Royal Children’s Hospital fundraising efforts – this hospital saved my baby’s life.

My little boy, my firstborn, was 11 days old when the funny gasping noises he’d started making while breastfeeding (like he was sucking more than he could swallow) became constant. It was Christmas Eve 2001 and something was really wrong. He wouldn’t feed and was putting all his effort into breathing. It was the start of a very frightening day, which culminated in my little boy having a tracheostomy at 2am Christmas morning at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

[4 days post op]

My little baby had a subglottic haemangioma. That was the name of the strawberry birthmark growing inside his airway that, by Christmas Eve, was blocking his airway. So he had an incision made in his throat below the blockage and he breathed through a tracheostomy tube for the next year, while we waited for the haemangioma to shrink enough to let him breathe on his own. This meant he had no voice (until he discovered that when he stuck his thumb in his trachy he could make a noise!). I never knew how terrifying it could be to have a baby you couldn't hear cry from across the room.

[He had a filter (a 'nose') over the end of the trachy tube to prevent germs travelling straight to his lungs - he learnt how to pull it off and throw it out of the pram/trolley/car at 4 months. He got pneumonia, twice.]

We spent an initial eight weeks in the hospital, living in the neonatal unit. A surreal existence, surrounded by awesome people who provided the most amazing support, encouragement and care for my son and I.

[Learning how to suction secretions out of the tube]

And for the next year, we were in and out of that hospital – I could have driven there blindfolded – for checkups, surgeries, scans, infections, illnesses, tests.  And the staff were there at the end of the phone when I had the odd crisis ("I was changing his trachy tube, and I’ve taken the old one out, but I can’t get the new one in!!!!” - that taught me to keep the spare tube in the freezer, it goes in easier!) or question ("He wants to sleep on his tummy; will that increase the chance of his trachy getting blocked?”).

[The suction pump and battery hired from the RCH that we had to take everywhere and used continually. When he had a cold, he'd have to be suctioned every 10 minutes - even overnight. It was solely responsible for the death of two prams (due to the weight!).]

I was very lucky - I had a healthy baby with a temporary condition (he's fine now - with nothing to show except a scar). And this amazing hospital was less than an hour's drive away. So many of the parents and babies I met at the RCH were on very difficult and sometimes tragic roads. I met many who travelled from interstate and overseas leaving other family behind. Some children had been in hospital for months or years. Some would never come home.

I have a friend with a baby in the RCH at the moment, having life saving treatment.

For her little boy, for mine, and for all the children and families that the Royal Children’s Hospital has helped over the years, and will help into the future – that’s why we’re donating to the Good Friday Appeal.



Posted by Emily on 21 April 2011

Wow Fiona, thanks for sharing this.

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