It was a Christmas Eve that parents Bronya and Shane will never forget. After a long and traumatic labour, their daughter Myra was born blue; her little body wasn’t breathing and doctors had to work quickly to revive her. What followed was a series of complications that no parent wants to endure.
Within hours of her arrival, the newborn was taken from her parents via a specialist ambulance to receive urgent emergency care. By the time she arrived at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), little Myra had suffered a series of seizures, bleeding on the brain, and the diagnosis of a fractured skull.
“It was scary, we didn’t really know what was going to happen. However, we’d both watched enough medical shows to know that seizures can cause brain damage,” said Bronya.
Myra spent the first month of her life being treated on Butterfly Ward, the newborn intensive care unit, with electrodes threaded under her scalp to monitor her brain activity, undergoing daily tests and connected to a magnitude of machines.
It was here that Bronya and Shane got to hold their baby daughter for the first time.
“Myra had been in ICU for a couple of days when a nurse came over and asked if we’d like to hold her. We didn’t know we’d be able to because she was connected to so many machines. We have these terrible but wonderful photos of us holding Myra for the first time.”
It was just after New Years that Bronya and Shane got the positive news they’d been hoping for; Myra didn’t require neurosurgery; her skull was slowly moving back into position on its own and the bleeding on her brain had stopped.
“It was a really hard time for us but everyone at RCH was wonderful, right from the start, when Myra was transferred to hospital via the specialised ambulance service. They were wonderful, they were happy to sit down with us and tell us everything about the service and made us feel supported and secure about what Myra was about to go through. They were taking my newborn baby but I had every trust that while she was being transported that she was in the best hands if her situation turned to the worst,” said Bronya.
“It was the same once she arrived at RCH. It was a form of mental and emotional security knowing Myra was in the best place for her and in the best care.”
Wanting to give back to the hospital, Bronya signed up to become a regular giver. Choosing to donate fortnightly, Bronya is committed to supporting the Paediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval (PIPER) service, a program that was once essential to saving her newborn’s life.
“There’s nothing I can do to repay these amazing people who helped Myra – so this is my little bit. I honestly believe she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for PIPER and RCH. I can’t give a lot of money but what I can do is give a little every fortnight. I would hate to think the PIPER service would ever be in jeopardy or that someone else’s child misses out on that service,” said Bronya.
And it’s with thanks to PIPER and the team at the RCH that Myra is now a happy an active seven-year-old. Despite her initial complications, Myra was able to graduate from the RCH when she was just five-years-old.
“The brain has a miraculous healing power,” said Bronya. “Although the bleeding on her brain has caused part of her brain to die, her brain has rewired itself and she suffers no ill effects.
“Myra is top of the class, she’s outgoing and always happy. She loves gymnastics, riding her bike and roller skating, her start in life definitely hasn’t slowed her down.”