On 1st May, 2016, I am aiming to complete my first Ironman 70.3 in Busselton (1.9km Swim, 90.1km bike ride, 21.1km run) in support of the Women and Infants Research Foundation.
We were desperate to give my son a sibling but after 5 heartbreaking miscarriages, we were ready to give up. Then with the help of fertility treatment we fell pregnant with Olivia. When we reached the 19week anatomy scan we thought we were going to make it, this time.
However, at just 24 weeks my waters broke and I was rushed to King Edward Memorial Hospital and placed on strict bed rest to try and prolong the pregnancy. Bed rest was incredibly hard being away from my husband and young son especially at Christmas time.
By 28 weeks, I had become very sick with Chorioamnionitis, an infection of the membranes surrounding the developing baby, and I delivered Olivia via emergency Caesarean 3 months early. She weighed just over 1kg born and required breathing assistance from a machine as her lungs were not fully developed. During her 10week stay in the NICU she had stopped breathing several times which required her to be resuscitated. It was an incredibly scary time.
However, thanks to the work of the Women and Infants Research Foundation (WIRF), whose research has made early birth’s like Olivia’s much safer, my daughter has recently celebrated her 4th birthday and attended her first day at Kindy. She is doing extremely well and has no obvious signs of her prematurity.
The Foundation are now working towards preventing preterm birth and with nearly 3000 babies being born prematurely in WA each year, they have made this research a priority. As I discovered, it is something that can happen to anyone and therefore a cause that needs widespread support.