Anal Stenosis

Anal Stenosis... have you heard of it?  Mum Sheree shares her story.

“When my son was 5 weeks old, we noticed he always seemed uncomfortable. Sometimes his little face would go bright red and he would just wriggle with discomfort. He didn’t cry or scream - he just didn’t seem relaxed.

I took him to the doctor who said it was colic, and to try infants friend or gripe water. We bought everything we could find at the chemist and tried them all. He didn’t seem to be any different, so I took him to another doctor who again said it was colic and we would need to ride it out for his first three months. I absolutely couldn’t bare to think that my little man would have to be uncomfortable for at least another 7 weeks.


When my son was born he had a small Exomphalos of his bladder. This is where a portion of the bladder protrudes the abdominal wall at the umbilical joint. He had this operated on the day after he was born. We had to visit his surgeon six weeks after the surgery to ensure everything was healing fine and to receive some tests results. I decided to take the opportunity to ask the surgeon if he had any advice on how to deal with colic. He asked me to describe the symptoms and when I explained that he just seemed uncomfortable all the time he asked to examine my sons bottom. I thought it strange but agreed. Upon the surgeon poking a finger into my sons bottom, a massive amount of poop exploded from my sons behind. I couldn’t believe it. The surgeon advised that my son had what is called anal stenosis. Anal stenosis is a narrowing of the anal canal, meaning that when my son pooped he wasn’t able to finish completely as it wouldn’t fit through his anal passage. He would have to have surgery.

The surgery was booked for two weeks time. I was so happy to finally have a solution to why my son always appeared uncomfortable, but I was frightened of the surgery. Any event where my little boy was put to sleep was not something I could be comfortable about. Having been 6.5 weeks premature he was still so small.

On the day of the surgery, I was a mess. My husband was trying to be manly and strong but he too was a little scared. We waited while he had the surgery, not speaking at all, as we were so nervous. The surgery was over within an hour and a half and our son was returned to us. He was emotional from being in a little pain and I think from being scared and not understanding what was happening. The surgery had gone well the surgeon assured us. It was such a relief to have it all over with.

I stayed the night with my son in the hospital and most of the night he just wanted to be held. By the next morning it was if nothing had happened and he was back to himself. 

Anal stenosis is not something I had ever heard of, but occurs 1 in every 5000 births and is common in boys.  My son is now 14 months old and so far he hasn’t had any issues to speak of. I feel so lucky to have had the appointment with the surgeon, as my son could have been in pain for some time as we continued to try different colic mixtures to no avail. If you feel there is something not right with your little one, follow your instincts.”

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Christmas Card Competition

Do you have a budding young artist at home?  Perhaps your 'tiny spark' would like to design our Christmas Card which will be distributed state wide across all neonatal units this Christmas?  Please pop over to our Facebook page to find out all about the competition.  All the details are on this post and you will need to upload your picture to that post to enter.  Good luck!

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Agnes Walsh Project Completion

After a phenomenal response from the WA public we are so pleased to announce that the Agnes Walsh Project has now been completed in full!  Thank you everyone for your donations and support to effect change for our regional mothers!

GWN7 attended the project handover and you can see their piece below.

We are also grateful to the Western Suburbs Weekly who also ran a story about the project which you can read here. 

None of this would have been possible without our dedicated group of volunteers who worked hard to source all of the items included in our donation and attended at Agnes Walsh to ensure the handover went smoothly.

We look forward to undertaking more special projects in the future.

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Developmental Playgroup on the move

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You ask and we listened!  We are pleased to announce the relocation of Developmental Playgroup which will now be held at Ability Centre in Coolbinia.  A more central location with easy access from all areas of the city!

Our friends at Ability Centre can't wait to get started in Term 4 and look forward to meeting the 12 children and their carers who will be participating.

More information about Developmental Playgroup can be found on our dedicated information page here or you can go right ahead with an enrolment through our shop here.

Please remember that placement in this program is limited to 12 and is on a first come, first served basis.  Know someone who would benefit from this program?  Please go right ahead and let them know all about it.

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Christmas Quilt Drive 2018

We can't believe how quickly this year is flying past.  We've had lots of enquiries already about our Christmas Quilt Drive, along with requests for project options, so we are releasing all of the information a little earlier than usual.  Here is everything you need to know...

We are thrilled to announce that this year you can choose between two options!  Quilts or Stockings, and if you are enthusiastic maybe both.  Please read right to the end to cover all of the instructions and FAQs from past years.

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Christmas Quilted Stockings

We are grateful to Amy Smart who blogs at Dairy of a Quilter for providing permission for us to use her 'Easy Quilted Stocking Tutorial'. You can find the instructions to make your Christmas Quilted Stocking here.

Christmas Quilts for Tiny Sparks WA

This pattern was kindly designed by Jill of Patchwork Place in Albany. You can download the instructions here, or find them below.

Size 16" x 24"
41 cm x 61 cm


Piece backing approx. 18" x 26"  (45cm x 65 cm) - white or cream
Piece 100% cotton light weight batting/wadding same size as backing piece.
Small amounts of Christmas coloured fabrics.


Any basic 4"  or  8" block pattern

No borders.
Keep blocks simple.
Avoid using yellow or gold.
Use conventional quilt binding or a commercial satin or pre-made binding or finish by “bagging” then turning through to right side. Top stitch around edge if using last method.
100% cotton fabrics (though not essential) are easier to work with.

A - Basic 4" Block - Total of 24 squares cut 4 ½" x 4 ½ "  in Christmas colours

  1. Arrange design into 6 rows of 4

  2. Join together into rows with ¼ " seam.

  3. Press seams in row 1 to the right, in row 2 to the left, row 3 to the right etc

  4. Join the rows together.

 Basic 4" Block - 2 alternative designs

Basic 4" Block - 2 alternative designs


B - Basic 8" Block - Cut 6 squares 8 ½" x 8 ½ "in at least 2 Christmas colours.

  1. Sew into 3 rows of 2.

  2. Press seams in alternating directions then join rows together.

 Basic 8" Block

Basic 8" Block


Finishing Quilts

Finished Quilt created by Jill of Patchwork Place, Albany

  1. Lay the backing right sides down, place the wadding on top and finally the pieced top right sides up. Pin together and quilt.

  2. Prepare binding by joining the 2 bits end to end with a mitred (angled) seam.

  3. Press in half lengthways. Sew onto the right side of the quilt having ALL raw edges level. Mitre the corners as you sew.

  4. Trim off the excess from the edges.

  5. Handstitch the folded edge of binding over onto the back of the quilt.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many items will you need? - We will need a minimum of 220 items to mail out across 20 neonatal units state wide so that every baby in a neonatal unit on Christmas Day receives a gift.

  2. Can I deviate from the instructions/patterns/specifications? – No, we ask that you follow the instructions carefully. They have been set out for a reason. The hospitals have very specific guidelines about what can be around the babies in the NICU and SCN. In particular please ensure the backing for your quilt is white or cream.

  3. What material should I use? – Quilting fabric, 100% cotton (or very close please). No flannel.

  4. Should I prewash the material? – Either way is fine please.

  5. What cotton should I use? - Cotton or poly/cotton blend is fine.

  6. What designs can the material have? – Anything that is in the Christmas spirit, please make sure the design is child appropriate. The backing for your quilt must be white or cream.

  7. Can I add a personal touch to the stocking? – Yes! Embroidery and applique is fine.

  8. Can I add my name, sewing tag to the stocking/quilt? – Yes, we just ask that you keep it small.

  9. Can I contact you to make some other arrangements? Given the volume of donations we handle we cannot make individual arrangements.

  10. Will I get a personalised response about my donation? We will attempt to acknowledge all donations sent in, although we are only able to do so if you provide us with your name and email address clearly written inside your package. We are unable to mail a response due to limited resources. Please allow for up to a month for us to acknowledge any items posted or hand delivered.

  11. How many stockings/quilts can I make? – We would prefer that each person make no more than 10 items each.

  12. What else can I sew for you? – We need sewers and knitters all year round. If you’d like to help further, please see the details here.

When and how can I get my donation to you?

  1. We require all donations by Friday December 7, 2018. This will enable us time to sort and send out donations state wide in advance of the Christmas postal rush. Any donations received after this time will be put aside for next year.

  2. You can post your Christmas items to us at:
    Tiny Sparks WA, PO Box 1114, West Leederville WA 6901
    Please include your name and an e-mail address inside your parcel.

  3. Can you collect my quilt when I am finished? - No, we are a small team of volunteers and unable to collect your donation.

  4. I don't want to mail my donation, how can i get it to you? - Please e-mail for metropolitan drop off locations, alternatively you are welcome to come along to our Neonatal November event and leave your donation with us there.


If you have a question that has not been answered above, please email us at  We will do our best to respond as quickly as we can.  Please keep in mind that we are all volunteers and this is a large project to manage so it may take a few days for us to get back to you.

We are so very grateful for your support and thank you for your time and energy in helping us to make Christmas in the Neonatal Unit a special time for our families.

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