My name is Jack and this is my story. I was born on 26 April 1994. My proper name is John Jeffrey Hallahan Burnham but everyone calls me Jack.
I was born too soon. It wasn’t anyones fault, it just happened. I am a 24 weeker. When I was born I weighed 750grams. I was pretty sick. I had things wrong with my heart and my lungs. I couldn’t breathe by myself. I’ve seen photos of when I was a baby and I had a lot of tubes and things stuck on me. I was a bit like a baby puppy or kitten, because my eyes were not opened yet. I was in hospital for a long time. I don’t remember any of that time because I was just a little baby.
Now I am 9 years old. We lived in Brisbane when I was little, but now we live at the Sunshine Coast. I am in Year 4 at school. I like my school and I like reading, music, Christian living and science best of all. I have lots of friends. For sport I am in a swimming squad. I train three days a week before I go to school. I also play AFL at school, but my team didn’t win a match all season, except for 2 forfeits. My other activities are youth group and Sunday School at our church. I like riding my bike and scooter, swimming at the beach, playing with my friends and playing on the computer.
Mum says to tell you how big I am now. I am 140 cms tall and I weigh 40 kgs. I am nearly as tall as my Mum. When I grow up I want to be a palaeontologist or anthropologist or archaeologist. I like finding out about really old stuff. Anyway, that is the story of my life.
Mum’s Notes to add to Jack’s story
Mum’s first cuddle at 10 daysI went into labour at 23 weeks and 5 days. Jack was born 4 hours and 41 minutes into week 24. He had a fairly typical NICU course for a 24 weeker, with the usual “alphabet soup” of premmie related complications – PDA, IVH, ROP etc. Jack, being the individual that he is, managed to throw in a couple of extras – he picked up a bug and spent about 10 weeks in isolation. He also had a severe reaction to his triple antigen vaccination. He came home from hospital 1 week before his due date.
Fast forward 9 years, and life is pretty much as Jack described in his story. He has grown in to a tall and well built boy. He does well at school academically, has a great many friends and a better social life than his parents! His residual health problems are minor and well controlled.
All in all, extreme prematurity seems to have touched Jack very lightly. In some ways I feel it has impacted on his parents to a greater extent. I don’t know if I am a different parent, given our experience, to the parent I might have been. I do know, however, that I have never taken a milestone achieved for granted. Every step, every word, every achievement has been a source of wonder and celebration to me. And I do know that miracles happen. I live with one.
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