AT BIRTH Patrick O’Sullivan was just 1.88kg.
He was born eight weeks premature and spent more than a month in Shepparton hospital — his doting parents, Rebecca and Howard, at his crib-side whenever possible.
But as he bounces around the living room of their Rochester home with his little sister Olivia you wouldn’t know the now five year old was a premmie baby.
‘‘I had the flu and went to the doctors the day before,’’ Rebecca said.
‘‘He said I should have a week off work to recover and the day after I gave birth to Patrick.
‘‘I was 31.6 weeks when I went in and they don’t have the capacity to deliver babies that are born before 32 weeks, so they had to hold my labor off for at least a day.
‘‘With the drugs they were able to hold it off for four days and he was born in Shepp.
‘‘We are actually one of the lucky ones — he was bigger than all the premmie babies in there and didn’t need a CPAP machine or any help with his breathing.
‘‘The hospital allowed me to stay in a house across the road for that month which was incredible.’’
Rebecca said the thought of being 45 minutes away from your tiny newborn was gut-wrenching.
‘‘You don’t think Shepp is that far away, but when you have a baby in a crib in hospital it feels like forever,’’ she said.
‘‘Howard was with me for about a week before he had to come back to work but I have a great, big supportive family and we had a lot of visitors.’’
Rebecca and her family wanted to give back to make sure families going through the same experience had the support they need.
‘‘We will be once again doing the Walk for Prems at Albert Park on October 29,’’ she said.
‘‘It raises money for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation and is something that we feel really passionate about and thankful for all the support we received with Patrick.’’
Walk for Prems is the largest annual fundraiser by Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, Australia’s foremost charity dedicated to supporting the families of babies born sick or prior to 37 weeks gestation.
In the past three years, Walk for Prems has raised over half a million dollars and this year the foundation hopes to raise $250,000.
Rebecca is aiming to raise $500 at this year’s event.
To donate head to www.walkforprems.org.au and search for Team Patrick.