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Mum to preemie advocates for Special Care Nursery

A MOTHER to a premature baby has shared her story to raise awareness for the Alive Pharmacy Warehouse Ride for Isabel coming up this May.

It was an average Friday afternoon when Kerryann Bayliss had a midwife appointment and returned home to have some lunch and a lie down while her son was at school.

Pregnant with her second child, Kerryann was lying on the couch when she felt a gush of water and rushed for the bathroom.

“I knew instantly something wasn’t right so I called my midwife and rushed back into the Atherton Hospital. It all happened so quickly. I was tested to see if it was in fact my waters or not. It was. My waters had broken at only 27 weeks pregnant,” Mrs Bayliss said.

Mrs Bayliss was rushed to Townsville and monitored in hospital for 48 hours to see if she would go into labour.

Luckily she did not, and she was discharged on close watch to the Ronald McDonaldHouse, where she stayed for nine days.

Then, infection set in and Mrs Bayliss underwent an emergency C-section due to her baby being breach – and very small.

Kelsea was born on November 25, 2023 at 8.33pm weighing 1 kilogram.

Baby kelsea spent several months in hospital after being born premature
Baby Kelsea spent several months in hospital after being born premature

But Mrs Bayliss contracted Covid while in hospital when Kelsea was three days old and had to be separated from her new premature baby for a week, which she said was the hardest of her life.

“That was on top of already being away from my son who was back home who I hadn’t seen in three weeks at that time,” she said.

“Thankfully NICU in Townsville has a camera system set up so that parents can view their babies via an app on their phone 24/7.

“This really helped when I couldn’t be with her. My husband Brett was the milk man for that week and would drop off my breastmilk twice daily for her.”

Two days before Christmas, Mrs Bayliss was told she would be transferring home to Cairns.

“What a beautiful early Christmas present that was. After almost seven weeks away from home and my son, we were coming home to Cairns,” she said.

She and baby Kelsea went on to spend a further two months in the special care unit at Cairns Hospital.

“The last stretch was the longest and the hardest but the nurses at the special care unit really become your second family when you spend so much time there,” Mrs Bayliss said.

“Not only did the nurses give the best care and love for my baby, but they also made every single day a little easier with their kind, caring nature.

“They celebrated every little milestone with us and were a shoulder to lean on when times got tough.”

After 90 days in hospital for little Kelsea, the family were given the all clear to go home on February 23, 2024.

Kelsea was discharged with a feeding tube and still on oxygen but after 155 days, has been taken off oxygen and her feeding tube and weighs a big four kilograms.

Kerryann has decided to share her story to help the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation promote the Alive Pharmacy Warehouse Ride for Isabel, on May 12.

This fundraising bike ride with two ride distance options is a fundraiser for the Special Care Nursery at Cairns Hospital.

Foundation Fundraising and Marketing Manager Glenys Duncombe called on the community to get behind the ride.

“When your baby is so little and life is so fragile, it really helps you realise how important it is to have the best quality care close to home. We would love the community’s support to help provide much-needed equipment for this vital service,” Ms Duncombe said.

Register for the ride at www.rideforisabel.org.au.

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Cairns hostel triumphs at tourism awards and Savannah Sounds to light up reef.

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