Having a baby born prematurely can be a worrying and difficult time, mother Mellissa Greeff says.
The Whangarei resident knows all about premature babies as two of her three children were born before 37 weeks' gestation.
"Coming into the Special Care Baby Unit you don't know what to expect - you get thrown into the deep end and you're scared," she says.
"With my first baby I went home after a few hours but with a prem baby, generally you're in hospital until the due date. When you have another kid at home then you start stressing out and sometimes you have to go home and leave the baby, it's not fun at all." Read more...
NZ Herald - Prem bugs receive special Christmas gift
Families of premature babies born over the Christmas period will receive a special gift from charity Early Buds. The organisation is sending 90 Christmas-themed packs to hospitals around the country. Early Buds provides support for parents by offering free "prem packs", including products and samples for mother and baby and information.
Rotorua mother Janelle Baine has turned her frightening experience into a way to help 300 families throughout New Zealand dealing with the birth of a premature baby.
Mrs Baine's son, Lucas, was born in 2009, weighing 1000g - the equivalent of two blocks of butter. Lucas was born 12 weeks early and his head was the size of a tennis ball. Mrs Baine and Lucas spent three months between Auckland, Waikato and Rotorua hospitals.
HELPING HAND: Rotorua's Janelle Baine and her 3-year-old son Lucas with one of the packages given to families of premature babies.
When Lucas was born, he weighed only as much as two blocks of butter. Janelle Baine had her baby boy delivered three months early, to save their lives. The Rotorua graphic designer was suffering pre-eclampsia - a common affliction among Kiwi mums. She will never forget her "frightening" journey into motherhood, at the age of 22.