Mother’s beacon of hope

JENNA Corby-McDermott knows first-hand the challenges faced when giving birth to a premature baby.

The Rosedale woman gave birth to twin boys Oakley and Knox in December 2014 at 31 weeks after experiencing spontaneous pre-term labour – when a woman goes into labour before 37 weeks.

Jenna, a single mum, was alone in a Melbourne hospital by her boys’ sides for about seven weeks until they were well enough to return home.

She described the experience as “lonely and daunting” and believed things could have been “a lot harder” if not for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation.

Upon the boys’ births Jenna was presented a folder from the foundation with “heaps of useful things that helped in the early days”, including what to expect as a parent of premature infants, a breakdown of medical terminology and contact numbers.

“That folder was amazing… when the doctor tells you your son (Knox) has a brain bleed you’re in such shock you forget to ask questions. But then I could go back to the folder and realise ‘ok, it’s actually quite common’,” Jenna said.

She also attended weekly meetings over coffee organised by the support service.

“It was great; when you have a baby in hospital you tend to spend all day, every day next to the cots. It gets repetitive and lonely,” Jenna said.

“I found the weekly coffee catch ups were enough to sort of refresh your mind before I went back to the boys.”

As a way to say thank you to the foundation that “had been there through some of my toughest moments” Jenna and the twins, now thriving and almost two, will participate in the annual Walk for Prems on Sunday.

Walk for Prems is a national fundraiser hosted by the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation to bring awareness and recognition to sick and premature babies and their families.

This year, Victorian participants will take a stroll around Albert Park Lake to fundraise for the charity, followed by a picnic and live entertainment.

“It’s my way of giving back to them,” Jenna said.

“I wanted to do it last year but their (twins) immune systems were not up to it.”

All funds raised will go directly to the charity and be used to provide support and education initiatives to families of premature and sick children.

“Just knowing that Life’s Little Treasures, that someone is there and willing to listen and offer that support if I need it makes all the difference,” Jenna said.

“They do such great work and I’d like to see it continue.”

To register for the walk, or to make a donation visit