BELINDA Filbey and her partner Robert Spicer know all too well what it’s like to have a premature baby.
The past year has been a rollercoaster ride for the Bendigo couple, after the birth of their twin girls at just 25 weeks.
Aaliyah is now almost a year old but, sadly, her sister Alexa didn’t make it. The couple want to raise awareness about premature babies and yesterday participated in Pound the Pavement for Prems.
Ms Filbey said her pregnancy was plagued with morning sickness and her water broke at 19 weeks with daughter Alexa.
“From then on it was just heaps of appointments with the option of terminating her.
“The chances were that by terminating one, the other one usually goes as well. So we had to go down to the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne for appointments, and they gave us the option of deciding, if I was to go into labour, when we would want to save them.
“They don’t tend to do anything under 23 weeks so we decided at 25 weeks that we’d like to revive them.”
Ms Filbey said they were told there was very little hope of Alexa pulling through. “Then at 25-weeks-and-one-day I went into labour during the drive to Melbourne.
“We rang Bendigo hospital and said, ‘What do I do?’ and they said ‘just keep on going, if it happens, ring an ambulance.’
“But we made, it luckily.”
Alexa was first out, closely followed by Aaliyah.
“I was in recovery but then we got called into the room about Alexa and told there was really no hope for her,” Ms Filbey said.
“We had to sadly switch her off a few hours after that.”
Aaliyah spent the next 114 days in hospital and, even now, has regular medical appointments.
She’s profoundly deaf in one ear and has had laser surgery to save her vision. “It’s been a full-on start to her life,” Ms Filbey said.
“But we look at ourselves as lucky.”