FREE Milestone Cards

FREE Milestone Cards Are now available to download and print at home!

Huge thanks to our HBF Run Team for making this possible!  We can’t wait to see the display boards hanging in units and parent lounges of Perth Neonatal Units very soon. This will make it easy for parents to access cards as they need them to celebrate every small achievement of life in NICU.

We just LOVE celebrating right along with our families and welcome you to tag us on your social media if you are sharing images @tinysparkswa #tinysparkswa With 36 different cards available there is one for almost every big achievement!

This is just one of the ways we are supporting Western Australian families living life in the Neonatal Unit.

Hop over to the dedicated Milestone Card page to download your own set today.

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"I thought I was living a nightmare."

Blog post by Mum and Volunteer Sheree.

It was a Sunday afternoon and I was relaxing watching Netflix, as I'd been feeling a bit off with a mild headache.  I was 33 weeks pregnant.  I remember laying there thinking surely I can't get much bigger than I currently am, and just thought I was tired from working and that was the reason for my headache.

I had a rough nights sleep that night and called in sick the next morning as I just didn't feel like I had the energy to go.  I had an appointment with my obstetrician that afternoon, but I still just thought what I was experiencing was normal pregnancy symptoms.  It was at that appointment I was told I was being admitted to hospital for observation as I was showing early signs of pre-eclampsia.  I was scared and severely emotional.

My baby was the result of a hard journey through IVF and the very thought of any threat in my pregnancy resulting in anything other than our dram come true, was too much to bare.  I was a total mess.  My night that night in the hospital was full of hourly checks and observations and by morning I was told by my obstetrician than I wasn't to return to work, as I was still borderline pre-eclampsia, but I was fine to head home on bed rest.

I spent the next 4 days sitting on the couch taking it easy, but on Friday night I began to feel off - a little nauseous and that headache was back. I didn’t know whether to think too much into it or whether to go to the hospital. After an hour wondering I decided to at least call the hospital. After telling them how I was feeling they advised me to come in. So off we went to the hospital and I was hooked up to a machine to see how the baby was going. He was doing well, but I was not. The doctor told my husband and I that my liver and kidneys were showing signs of being in distress and whilst it wasn’t an absolute emergency that night, I was to stay in hospital. I thought I was living a nightmare. I was so scared for my baby and the thought of him being born early was too much for me to cope with. I was an emotional wreck.

The next three days were a routine of hourly checks and lots of blood tests. By Monday morning my obstetrician wasn’t willing to hold off any longer and I was to have a caesarean that morning, as my condition had worsened. Again with the freaking out.

The nurses were so supportive. I was taken down to the Neonatal Unit to see where my baby would go when he was born. It was weirdly comforting and intense all at the same time. The nurses talked me through what some of the machines were and what role they would play for my baby. 

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My son was born 3 hours later at 33 weeks and 4 days. He came out crying and weed everywhere, so I was able to hold him before he was taken away. It was this moment I hadn’t wanted to miss out, of all the moments you get when having a baby. I was so amazingly happy and so in love. 

We spent 3 weeks in NICU before my son was able to come home. The nurses and doctors in our nursery were absolutely amazing. I was allowed to be my sons mother. Even though changing a baby with cords is difficult, it was amazing. The day we were told we could take him home, I panicked. We were in this safe little bubble in the nursery and it just seemed so scary that suddenly I really would be totally in charge. 

My son is now 14 months old. He’s endured two surgeries in his short life, but he is healthy, happy and totally adorable. When we think back to our time in the nursery, we just remember how lucky we were that all our little man had to do was grow a little. For some this isn’t the case. The experience has made us more aware of what others sometimes have to go through, and how lucky we are. Every day with our son is amazing.


We welcome you to share your story with us.  Please e-mail your story along with a few pictures to admin@tinysparkswa.org.au with 'Family Story' in the subject.

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Social Impact

Late in 2017 we had the pleasure of working with some fabulous students from Curtin University on their project 'Just Causes'.  They were seeking out organisations who have made significant social impact for all manner of reasons.  We were honoured to be approached and can finally share their work with you.  We think it's awesome, but we might be a bit biased, see for yourself.

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World Prematurity Day 2017

World Prematurity Day turned into an entire week of celebration and awareness raising for us!

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A huge thank you to CBHS Health Fund who kicked off our week with morning tea at Bankwest Place.

Hundreds of candle packs were put together for distribution through our hospital network to encourage people to 'light it up purple' at 7pm on World Prematurity Day to create a wave of purple light around the globe.

A snack basket was delivered to Fiona Stanley Hospital for their parent lounge along with their candle packs.

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Co-founder's Amber and Madalyn together with Sacha, Rebecca, Joslyn, Imogen, Xavier and Adison attended the King Edward Memorial Hospital social work morning tea where we met a huge number of recent neonatal unit graduates.

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We were honoured to have the support of Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AC who wore purple and Tweeted to raise awareness of the critical issue of premature birth.

The final event of the week was the much anticipated White Collar Boxing fight night #10 'Fight Like a Premmie' held at Crown Pyramid.  More than 1,000 people came together to cheer on the boxers who gave their all.  So wonderful to see Dad Premo win his closely fought bout!

Some amazing businesses were behind the night and we wish to thank:

Ringside Boxing and Fitness

Travel Key & Festival Travel

Gobsmacked Mouthguards

Panchos Mexican Restaurant

Crown Pyramid

J Group Electrical

Kennards Hire

Killarney Autos

Galaxy Doors & Windows

Olistan Consulting

Dale Signs

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We are delighted to announce that the event raised $3,500 for Tiny Sparks WA and a further $3,500 for Women & Infants Research Foundation.  Here are Donna and Darren from Ringside presenting the cheques to Amber.

All over Perth purple lights were shining brightly all night.  We are very grateful for support from the City of Perth, the Bell Tower and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority for turning many of Perth's landmarks purple.

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WA your support was yet again astounding!  Many individuals and businesses held events throughout November as part of 'tiny bites for tiny sparks' raising awareness and much needed funds.  We are grateful for each and everyone of you for your support and look forward to making a bigger impact in 2018.

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Harrison's Story

As a business owner, one of the greatest things you can do is share your success and I think great way to do that is to give back to the community. At Osinski Finance we have a very special link to a WA organisation known as Tiny Sparks WA. So, in honour of their work and to celebrate Father's Day 2017 we are running a 'promotion'. Terms & Conditions apply.

If you have a meeting with Osinski Finance from the 1st of August 2017 through to Father’s Day (3rd September 2017) and we can successfully get you a new loan we will donate up to $250 from our commission to Tiny Sparks WA when your loan settles. It doesn't matter if it takes us 2 weeks or 2 months to get the loan approved as long as your first meeting takes place in that period we will honour our commitment.

So why is Tiny Sparks WA so important to us? Well let me tell you a little story about how our son Harrison George Osinski came into this world;

Our Story started on the 27th January 2015, my wife Amy had been at a work dinner in the city that night and after some trouble getting home due to a number of bush fires in the area she finally made it home at 9pm and promptly went to bed complaining of a sore back but not thinking much of it.

The next morning, I awoke to find Amy not having slept all night due to her “back pain” coming and going in waves. I gave her a look to which she replied, “Don’t be silly, I’m only 29 weeks and this pain isn’t how labour is described in the books”. Being her first pregnancy and not knowing much we decided to call Rockingham Maternity ward for some advice on what she could take to relieve the pain.

The midwife on duty, whilst not concerned, suggested that we should come in for a check-up sometime that morning. So, we took our time, ate breakfast, watered the garden then headed to the hospital about an hour later.  Purely by coincidence when we arrived we ran into our obstetrician Dr Bouverie, who after enquiring why we were there, led us into an examination room and said a midwife would be with us shortly.

The midwife came in, attached the monitor to Amy, did a quick examination and said everything appeared to be fine. Just as the midwife was about to leave and confer with Dr B before letting us go home, Harrison’s heart rate disappeared from the monitor for a couple of seconds. This prompted her to suggest a more thorough examination, part way through this examination she excused herself to get a Dr to “have a look”.

At this stage, I can say we were both starting to worry. Next the Doctor on duty (who wasn’t Dr B) came in and examined Amy, again part way through his examination he excused himself to get Dr B to examine.

Dr B came in and after a quick examination informed us that we needed to get to King Edward asap because Harrison was on his way. The hospital staff sprang into action with our quiet little examination room becoming a hive of activity with 2 Doctors, 4 midwives and someone from administration putting in drip lines, giving Amy pills to take and organising an Ambulance.

Less than 10 minutes later Amy, a midwife (carrying a fishing tackle box which I though was weird thing to have, I later found out was an emergency delivery kit) and a paramedic were being loaded into the back of the Ambulance and I was getting into the front with the other paramedic. Next thing we are heading for King Edward under Priority 1 (full lights and sirens) up the Kwinana freeway in peak hour traffic.

Top marks to Jessie and Jackie from St John’s ambulance, not only did they manage to keep me calm during a stressful situation they made it from Rockingham Hospital to King Edward in Wednesday morning peak hour traffic in just over 40 minutes.

The next 3 to 4 hours were full of doctors, nurses and specialists trying to slow down Harrison’s arrival. It started out with trying to delay him 48 hours for the steroids Amy was given to strengthen his lungs, then it was 24 hours, then 12 and so on. Harrison was having none of it and at 12:56pm on the 28th January 2015 Harrison George Osinski was born weighing in at 1.455kg and 40cm long at 29 weeks and 6 days.

Lucky for us he was breathing on his own and that gave us a precious few minutes for a photo and quick cuddle from Mum before he was whipped off to the NICU with me in tow leaving Amy behind in the maternity ward.

I can safely say that arriving in the NICU with our son was one of the scariest moments of my life. Next came the doctors and nurses all working on getting Harrison hooked up to various monitors, drips, running various tests on him. Whilst I hovered around on the outer they worked at getting him settled into his new home and tried to reassure me that he was doing well.

From there our NICU journey started and at that time we had no idea how long we would be there, when the next time we could hold our son would be and if everything was going to be ok.

I think we were one of the lucky ones, Harrison was a fighter and there was no way he was going to put up with having to spend all his time in the humidicrib. Within hours Harrison was off the ventilator and on CPAP so he was breathing mostly on his own and CPAP was just there to help him along the way. This also meant that we were eligible for kangaroo care early on and both Amy and I took every opportunity to snuggle up with him as often as possible.

Life in the NICU in the early days was tough. You are basically a parent that must leave their newborn in the care of someone else. You have access to your child and you can stay as long as you like but at some point, you have to go home and trust someone else to look after the most precious thing in your life.  The first couple of days it was easier to leave because I knew Amy was still there recovering and I could head home at night knowing that she was only a couple of floors away.

Then came the day when Amy was discharged and we had to leave our little boy each night and it was hard. Don’t get me wrong, the nurses that provided round the clock care to Harrison were great, they kept us informed, they told us what each injection or supplement was for, what it was helping with, and what alarms/noises were normal. But it was still hard to leave him each night and travel the 45 minutes to an hour to our home in Baldivis and wonder if he was going to be ok there without us.

Again, I think we were some of the lucky ones, apart from being small (only 30 weeks in the oven will do that) Harrison was healthy and responding well. He was off the ventilator in a couple of hours and started putting on weight early on, at first it was a couple of grams but with the help of Amy expressing non-stop, every three hours like clockwork, he started putting on more and more. In the first week, a short bout of jaundice was all he really suffered and a day or so under the lights fixed that up no problems. Within a week he was off CPAP and could have his IV removed.

Before we knew it, Harrison was upgraded from the Special Care Nursery to another part of the NICU which meant that he shared a nurse with 1 or more other babies rather than having one to himself. It was at this stage that things became a little bit more difficult, life goes on, bills need to be paid so despite being given some time off work I needed to go back to work. My employer at the time was great, they gave me flexibility in my work schedule that allowed me to work from home early in the morning, miss the peak hour traffic, take Amy to the hospital and visit with Harrison for an hour or two, have a quick cuddle then head to the office for a couple of hours. Finish work in the afternoon head back to the hospital for some more time with Harrison before heading home in the evening again missing the afternoon traffic.

From there things only got better, Harrison was upgraded to different nurseries every couple of days to a week. Life in the NICU is all about the small wins, off CPAP, putting on weight, taking 5mls of milk and keeping it down and so on. On my birthday in February Harrison got his first bath from Mum and Dad and we were getting close to being able to take him home.

After what we were told was a short 5-week period he had reached the magical 2kg mark and passed all his tests so he was transferred down to Rockingham Maternity hospital on the 6th March 2015.                                                                                                                                               

Being out of King Edward NICU was great, not only did it cut down our commute to visit Harrison, meaning we could spend more time with him it also meant that all our friends and family could finally meet him in person to give him all the cuddles they had been hanging out to give him.

Less than 2 weeks later we had finally reached the day we have been waiting for, on the 18th March 2015, 1 month and 19 days after he was born Harrison was released from hospital and could come home.

Our journey through the NICU and prematurity was relatively short compared to some people and filled with lots of ups and not many downs. The same cannot be said about others journeys some families need a lot more support and have much longer journeys than ours and that is why organisations like Tiny Sparks WA are so important.

Organisations like Tiny Sparks WA not only provide a wealth of easy to understand information for families going through the NICU journey, they also provide real support to the parents of these children.

People always say having kids will change your life and for me Harrison coming into our lives the way he did certainly did. It opened my eyes to some great causes out there that need our support. Having recently started my own business, I now have a way to give back to an organisation that provides such a great service.

Nathan

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