Meet the Team - Mahlia Violet: Our Miracle Micro Prem
Many amazing people have signed up to our Premmie Marathon Challenge but none more incredible than Dani and Roger Walker, who together have raised almost $3000 for Running for Premature Babies while their own prematurely born daughter Mahlia, now 8 months, is currently very sick in hospital. I couldn't be prouder of Dani, who has become a good friend, and her husband Roger, for committing to running 42kms this November & raising funds to support others who will walk this journey despite still facing their own hardships. Your tenacity and courage is truly spectacular ♡
Dani wrote the words below to share:
"In 2015, we were blessed to find out we were having our first baby. My pregnancy was uneventful until the day before a booked trip to Darwin for some R&R. Our baby girl decided she was in a rush to get here and unbeknown to me, I went into labour, later presented to FMC after driving myself over an hour to get there, only to find our daughter was already on her way. Lilah Grace was born via emergency classical C-section at 27+5 weeks, weighing 1055g. It was all a complete blur and being thrown headfirst into NICU, having no idea these places even existed, was a pretty rough start to parenthood. Our daughter had a tough but fairly standard premature journey through NICU and was finally able to come home after 81 days. She is now a happy, healthy, thriving 5 year old.
Fast forward to 2020, where we find ourselves thrust back into the world of NICU, this time after a 2 year battle with unexplained infertility, a horrendous pregnancy that saw me in and out of hospital haemorrhaging and a pandemic just to top it off. On valentine’s day, I was placed on bed rest in hospital, finding out that our baby was sick, small and did not have a huge chance of survival, either in utero or earth side. Every single minute of everyday in that 2 weeks was hell. I had to have daily scans as our baby was so growth restricted, they could not find a heartbeat with the doppler. I went to sleep every night praying our little miracle would hold on tight and make it even an extra day. There was much discussion around whether to take her our or not, but on the 27th of Feb, the choice was taken out of our hands when I went into labour.
Our tiny miracle Mahlia Violet was born at 24+2 weeks weighing only 420g, again via emergency classical C-section. She was extremely small and extremely sick, but she had fight and determination in her that knows no bounds. We had an extremely turbulent NICU journey with her, that made our last experience seem like a walk in the park! We nearly lost her on multiple occasions and Mahlia faced more challenges than she should have had to endure. The care and specialised equipment required to keep her alive would now be in the millions and we are beyond grateful to live in a country where we have access to such healthcare!
After 130 days, Mahlia amazed all those around her and made it home to her big sister and we were finally a family of 4. She was thriving and we were finally able to breathe, thinking the worst was behind us. The universe then said, “hold my beer….”
Unfortunately, after 5 glorious weeks, disaster struck, and Mahlia ended up in emergency in severe pain, with a suspected bowel obstruction. She was transported to WCH and ended up having emergency, lifesaving surgery, for an obstruction and consequent volvulus, a complication from her early surgery for a perforation caused by NEC. Never in our wildest dreams did we think that we would be faced with losing our baby again and watching her fight for her life. She was an extremely sick little girl and we were thrown into the world of PICU, specialist care and now reside in Rose Ward with no end in sight at this stage. Mahlia has lost all of her small bowel and will face lifelong challenges moving forward. We are living a nightmare stuck on repeat. Today Mahlia is once again suffering septicaemia from a staph infection in her line, along with a urinary tract infection and rhinovirus - she is very unwell at the moment but she continues to fight the good fight. Her strength and determination is inspiring to say the least. She is certainly made of tough stuff and we witness miracles on a daily basis.
After our first premature journey, we thought that world was all a distant memory. To face it all again with Mahlia, this time amplified beyond belief, has really opened our eyes to understanding exactly all that comes with this journey. It really lights a fire to want to give back in some way, to support others babies who also need to fight to be here.
When I found out about Sophie’s journey and Running for Premature Babies, I knew that there was a way I could feel like I was doing something positive, in amongst the chaos of our current situation.
I have been stationary for over a year (since falling pregnant and having complications from the get-go) and running has never been my forte. I have knees that are worn down to bone on bone, I have asthmatic lungs that burn, I have boobs full of milk in between expressing and I didn’t even own a pair of running shoes! Watching both my daughters conquer all they have endured, I thought I really have no excuse not to sign up and commit to clocking up the 42kms, even if it kills me in the process, if it means raising some much needed funds to support other premature babies and give them the best chance at life.
I am incredibly proud that my hubby jumped on the band wagon too and decided to give it a crack as well as my sister-in-law and a few friends. The generosity of my fellow runners and my sponsors fills my heart to the brim! It is almost laughable, the 2 most unlikely “runners”, in the midst of a current crisis, committing to hitting the pavement in November! But if these babies can fight this hard, then so can we!
We thank you Sophie, for creating the Running for Premature Babies Marathon, enabling us to give back after we have received so much of this specialised care for our beautiful girls. The premature community is as amazing as the tiny miracles themselves!"
Yesterday, on the first day of World Premmie Awareness Month (and amongst all the current stress) Dani went out to log her very first kms.
"So my feet hit the pavement (like an elephant). The first 100m I said I can do this, its only a km. After about 250m my lungs started burning, I was puffing like a dragon and my everything hurt! It was in the middle of the day too and it was HOT. Hahah not the smartest idea.🙈 I got a few concerned stares from onlookers as I passed them (they could hear me coming a mile away). But I was determined, all I had to do was think of Mahlia struggling and my feet kept going! 🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️
As the distance clocked 1km (so I thought) I collapsed in a heap. My legs shaking, my lungs resembling a premmie's chronic lung disease and I honestly thought I was going to pass out or vomit or maybe both!!! 😳🤢🤯
I switched my strava app off and headed back to the hospital at a very slow walk. (I only want to clock the running distance). The security guard, who knows me well, was extremely concerned as I walked in 🙈🤣 and when I got back to the ward some of the nurses were like "omg are you ok what's the matter?" In between my gasping for breath and red face I said "oh just clocking up my first km at a run! I was broken but also extremely proud!! 🏆🏅
The absolute funniest thing about it was messaging hubby and realising my distance was set on MILES not kms 🤣🤣🤣🙈🙈🙈🏃♀️🏃♀️ so I actually managed to RUN 1.6km!!!!! No wonder it felt like the longest km of my life!!!!!! For those of you who use "run" and "fun" in the same sentence...you are bloody mad!!!!!!
Thank you to every single one of you who have sponsored me so far. I am excited to see just how far I can go, raising such important and life saving funds for those babies in need. Many people ask us "is there anything we can do to help?"
YES!!! You can not give us what we need, which is for Mahlia to be better, but you can make a huge difference in the lives of babies like ours by sponsoring me in this brutal 42km run 😳🏃♀️🏃♀️🏃♀️
Please follow the link below and click on donate. It would mean the world!! 💜🙏
Follow Mahlia’s journey on Facebook Mahlia Violet – Our Miracle Micro Prem