The Grace Centre for Newborn Care looks after some of the sickest babies in the state. Grace is a lifeline, not only for these tiny infants but for their parents and carers too. Registered Nurse, Melanie Jansons, knows first-hand just how important Grace is as she is not only on the front line caring for these babies, but it wasn’t too long ago that her own son was fighting for his life in NICU.
In February 2006, Melanie gave birth to her beautiful baby boy, Samuel. At 12-days-old, Samuel developed a cold and concerned parents, Melanie and her husband Joshua, took their son to their local GP. The GP confirmed that he had Bronchiolitis and were sent to their local hospital’s emergency department to be closely monitored as he was so young.
“My husband and I were so sleep deprived. Seeing our baby boy being poked and prodded was quite distressing. They checked him thoroughly and all his vital signs were great so we were eager to get home but they were insisted on waiting for the paediatrician to check him and give us the all clear,” recalled Melanie.
That evening, the paediatrician questioned a heart murmur and was concerned something was wrong. The family was then transferred to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead where an Echo machine (ultrasound examination of the heart) confirmed he had a coarctation of the aorta, a constriction of the large blood vessel that leads to the heart. In a matter of days, they found themselves in the Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care.
Samuel spent a total of two weeks in the Grace Centre and underwent surgery. Those two weeks were terrifying and overwhelming but made a huge impact on Melanie, who decided right then and there that she wanted to pursue a nursing career.
Working as a Registered Nurse in the Grace Centre, Melanie has worked at the Hospital for the past four years. Samuel, now 14, is thriving thanks to the care provided by staff on Grace, and Melanie now has the phenomenal opportunity to be there for families and care for little patients who are in the same situation she was in 14 years ago.
“NICU parents are most likely experiencing the hardest days of their lives. We are here to support them in any way we can. These little NICU babies are such fighters, so tough and parents are such an important part of their lives. Parents may not feel like they are doing much, but really, they are doing the most important part. A role no one else can,” said Melanie.
This November, you can help critically-ill babies by supporting Race for Grace 2020. Choose to run, cycle or swim 11kms over 11 days to raise money for the Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care. Register today by visiting www.raceforgrace.com.au.