On World Prematurity Day 2017, WIRF were thrilled to announce Amy and Mike Hussey as its inaugural ambassadors.
Both WIRF and the Hussey family are proudly Western Australian products but they share a stronger and much more significant bond; their commitment to the prevention of preterm birth.
Of their four pregnancies (Jasmin, William, Molly and Oscar), Amy and Mike would have not one, but two preterm birth experiences. Worldwide, more than 15 million babies are born preterm each year. In WA alone, almost 3000 babies are born too soon every year.
In May 2007, Amy gave birth to Molly Mae at just 28 weeks and weighing little over one kilo after suffering a placental abruption; a condition that can lead to a full-blown haemorrhage.
“My pregnancy was going along well when out of nowhere a complication arose. Things didn’t improve and when I was told at 6pm on a Saturday night that the baby needed to come out now, I knew it wasn’t good. I was actually terrified,” Amy explains.
“I remember thinking I can’t believe this is actually happening to me. I’ve carried two full-term babies so why now? It was really frightening and I couldn’t imagine having a baby so early and so small. I thought for sure I would be okay, but I was very wrong. It was a lot to take in at the time and it was really difficult trying to be mum to two little children at home and a tiny baby in hospital.”
Retired Australian Test Cricketer, Mike Hussey explains how he feared losing both his wife and premature daughter.
“I couldn’t believe this was happening, I was supposed to be celebrating a World Cup win,” Mike reflects.
“It was so sad seeing a tiny, underdeveloped Molly lying helpless in the humidicrib with tubes and cords going in all directions. I jumped every time there was a beep or an alarm go off. The doctors were doing so many tests and I had so many worries such as how could someone so tiny even survive this.
“The nurses were amazing, so calm and positive and kept both Amy and myself somewhat sane. We had no idea what was happening or how things were going to turn out and I certainly felt helpless during this life-changing situation.”
After spending her first 11 weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit at King Edward Memorial Hospital, Molly was finally able to come home and join her big sister and brother.
Life at home and on the field, would largely return to normal for the Hussey’s until June of 2012 when son Oscar would mirror the three month early birth of his sister, also weighing just one kilo.
“Before deciding to have a 4th baby I had lots of testing done and the results showed I was not at risk of having another preterm baby, so we decided to go for it,” Amy said.
“When I went into labour at 28 weeks, we could not believe this was happening again and the anxiety and fear returned again.”
Oscar would have an extended 12 week stay in the hospital’s NICU after some early health problems; a period which would take its toll on the entire Hussey household.
“It was a scary time. I was worried about the health of my wife and baby Oscar as well as trying to run a household and look after three other children,” Mike said.
“I was completely exhausted, anxious and stressed but kept trying to put on a brave face to the world. I had so many thoughts of what my life may look like if my wife and baby didn’t make it through the ordeal, as my cricket career would be over and how I would cope trying to bring up three kids on my own. It is amazing how your life can be turned upside down in the blink of an eye.”
“Our preterm birth journey is something we could never have expected or even imagined but it has been one than has shaped and made our family even stronger," Amy said.
When asked by the Foundation to become its inaugural ambassadors, both Amy and Mike jumped at the opportunity.
“It just seems like a perfect fit. Knowing how tough it is for families to go through preterm births, if we can help raise awareness and support the amazing research being done by WIRF in the reduction, and ultimately prevention, then we will feel really proud as ambassadors,” Amy said.
“It’s amazing that a WA organisation is leading the world in preterm birth prevention and have already found some simple health interventions which can greatly reduce the chance of preterm birth.”
WIRF Chief Operations Director, Deb Portughes said the announcement of Amy and Mike as WIRF’s inaugural ambassadors was a huge boon for everyone at the Foundation.
“With two very early births, Amy and Mike could hardly be a better fit for WIRF and our critical work to prevent preterm birth. They are known and respected in WA and nationally, first and foremost for being parents with an unwavering commitment to their children,” she said.
“We look forward to working with them and many others who have had a preterm birth experience to raise awareness and support of the Foundation and its research and programs.”
To find out more about WIRF’s Ambassador Program click here. To register your interest in becoming an ambassador contact Richie Hodgson at email@example.com