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Very special care

Nurse Unit Manager Alison Conroy-Joyce and Jenna Sparkes with Evie and River. 

“Everyone thinks you get pregnant, have a baby, take them home and that’s it – however sometimes you can’t take them home,” explains local mother, Jenna Sparkes.

All four of Jenna’s children have spent time in the Special Care Nursery at Frankston Hospital, which looks after sick and premature babies.

“As hard as it is to leave hospital without your baby, it’s easier knowing they are being so well cared for by staff who treat them like their own,” says Jenna.

Jenna’s first son, Brodie, was born at Frankston Hospital and spent one day in the Special Care Nursery. Her other children, Noah and twins Evie and River were born prematurely and needed far longer stays before they were ready to go home.

Noah, my second son, spent 101 days in hospital including 11 at Frankston after he was born at 29 weeks,” says Jenna.

“The twins were due on 11 March but arrived on 10 January. After two weeks at a hospital in the city we were transferred closer to home to Frankston.”

Evie and River were doing well, but then River’s condition deteriorated and he had to be transferred to another hospital for intensive care and a blood transfusion.

After recovering, River was transferred back to Frankston and reunited with his twin, Evie. They spent several weeks in the Special Care Nursery before finally going home on 27 February.

Jenna says the twins had many milestones at Frankston Hospital.

“They both more than doubled their birth weights of 1607 grams and 1622 grams,” adds Jenna.

“They also learnt to breast feed, which is nice.”

Even as an experienced mother-of-two, Jenna says she was still able to learn a lot from the nurses.

“Having a five year gap between pregnancies, I am constantly learning things and I needed that extra support,” she says.

“The nurses taught me how to swaddle bath which is amazing for premature babies as it makes it far less stimulating and more relaxing for them.”

While Jenna can’t praise the care enough, she hopes her recent stint in the Special Care Nursery will be her last.

“The care was fantastic, everyone is so helpful,” says Jenna. “Now we’re excited to finally have the twins home with us and their older brothers for lots of cuddles.”

In 2018, 2864 babies were born at Frankston Hospital and 688 babies were cared for in the Special Care Nursery.

Make a gift to our Happy Babies Appeal today, which is raising funds to purchase life-saving equipment to help our littlest patients like Evie and River.