Pram Jam for preemies

WHEN Tara and Matt Brown's first child Jordana was born at 31 weeks and four days old, the Swan Hill family were not aware of the difficulties associated with raising a premature baby.

"It was horrible and something out of our control," Mrs Brown said.

Tara Brown's daughter Jordana was born nine weeks early. She now wants to educate other mums about premature birth. Picture: JADE BATE

Tara Brown's daughter Jordana was born nine weeks early. She now wants to educate other mums about premature birth. Picture: JADE BATE

"Everyone was stressing out, our family, the doctors, and so we were too."

On December 27 last year, Mrs Brown had her regular check up at her doctor, but was rushed to Melbourne's Mercy Hospital for Women after complications arose.

"They couldn't put it off any longer and Jordana was born on December 31, nine weeks early," she said.

"She was in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit as soon as she was born and was on a breathing machine for 12 hours."

Weighing only 3lbs 4ozs, Jordana spent the first 10 days of her life at the Mercy Hospital for Women, before being sent to Bendigo for five weeks.

During their time in hospital, Mrs Brown said the couple were educated on how to look after a premature baby. "We were given a lot of information," she said.

"Jordana came home from hospital with a routine for food and sleeping which made her very well behaved."

Now aged 10 months old, the healthy and happy Jordanna loves spending time with the animals at home and sharing an ice-cream with her dad.

Mr and Mrs Brown have now thrown their support behind the Mercy Health Foundation's Pram Jam campaign, which raises awareness of and funds for stillbirth and premature babies.

Pram Jam is a community walkathon which encourages participants to push their pram, walk or run any distance anytime between Monday, November 20 and Sunday, November 26.

People are able to sponsor individuals by donating online.

All funds raised will go to Mercy Perinatal, an international centre of clinical, educational and research excellence based at Mercy Hospital for Women.

"It's to raise awareness because no-one speaks about stillborn and premature birth," Mrs Brown said.

"There aren't a lot of fundraisers that support it either, which is what makes Pram Jam important."

Around one in 130 Australian pregnancies ends in stillbirth, while globally premature birth is the number one killer of children aged under five.

For more information about Pram Jam and to register or sponsor, head to www.pramjam.org.au. If you have questions and concerns about your pregnancy, please talk to your GP or obstetrician.

To read more about this story, grab a copy of Friday's Guardian (November 10).

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