Pram Power: Raising awareness for Still birth

If you've followed me for a little while on social media, then you'd probably know that I'm quite passionate about supporting community initiatives and fundraising events to assist those most vulnerable, particularly children. More often than not, there's no direct affiliation to the cause, I basically do so because I strongly believe that you must "be the change you wish to see in the world" and want to set an example for my children.

But this time it's different. 

I was recently asked whether I'd like to support Pram Jam, a Mercy Health Foundation campaign to raise much needed funds to help prevent stillbirth and premature birth complications. It's a harrowing fact that 1 in 130 pregnancies in Australia ends in stillbirth – which is tragically more than the national annual road toll.

Here's my story and why I'm pledging to push a pram this November. 

Rewind to June 2010. I was heavily pregnant with my second child (Maikeli) and living in Adelaide with my husband David, who at the time played professional football for the Port Adelaide FC. My best friend Lisa and her husband Troy (David's teammate) were also expecting a child, it would be her first, and much anticipated, as she miscarried at 9 weeks one year earlier. Like any close friends going through pregnancy together, we were excited about our future babies becoming "besties" and starting our own little mothers group.

Everything changed on June 20 when I received an early morning phone call from Lisa, something wasn't right and she needed to get to hospital immediately. I won't go into all the details, but you can read more about it here if you wish -->  Baby Heart Break Proves There Is More To Life Than Sport

The next few days felt like I was a spectator in a nightmare I couldn't control, stop or escape.  I was 39 weeks pregnant at the time and delivered a healthy Maikeli on June 22. The following day, June 23, Lisa went into labour and delivered Archie at 20 weeks. Her son was a still born baby.  

Lisa and I were in the same hospital, on the same floor, but our experiences were worlds apart. As I sat in my maternity suite, gazing at my healthy baby boy, I was overcome with guilt and sadness for Lisa and Troy's heartbreaking ordeal. Why was life so cruel? Why did this have to happen to her? Or anyone for that matter? Why couldn't they help him?
I couldn't even begin to imagine the range of emotions Lisa and Troy would be experiencing down the hallway.

I found it extremely difficult to 'be in the moment' and enjoy my early days with Maikeli. In fact I resented myself for delivering a healthy child - my second in fact - when Lisa had to go through the agony of attending her son’s funeral and cremation. 

Today Archie is watching over his little sister Elke (age 5) and little brother Blake (age 3.) Every year on Maikeli's birthday I think of Archie and my heart aches for Lisa who I know is about to experience the pain of his anniversary.

Lisa and I often found comfort in believing Maikeli's BIG personality was due to the fact that he was making up for Archie's presence (as in, both their spirits made him larger than life.) Still to this day Maikeli is very protective and nurturing towards Elke (1 year his junior) and Blake (3 years his junior) and I’d like to think that's because he's little buddy is in his ear whispering to him.

I'm committing to Pram Jam in memory of Archie and would love you to either register to take part yourself OR sponsor me in my efforts to push a pram every day from November 21-27.

With your support we can deliver a real difference.

Pram Jam is calling on mothers, fathers, grandparents, family and friends to push a pram from Monday 21 November to Sunday 27 November 2016. You’ll be raising much needed funds to help prevent stillbirth and complications from bubs being born prematurely.