Twenty-seven weeks pregnant, an emergency caesarean and the arrival of a beautiful boy 13 weeks early and weighing only 1.185kg. This was the scenario facing Tina Martinovic in May 2016 when complications prompted the early arrival of her second child, Kristijan, who spent 83 days in hospital.
“He was considered a severe premmie … they weren’t able to tell us if he was going to survive,” Ms Martinovic said. “He went straight to NICU [Neonatal Intensive Care Unit] and I wasn’t able to hold him until six days later.”
While Ms Martinovic’s son Kristijan is now three and thriving, the experience prompted her involvement with the Newborn Intensive Care Foundation (NICF) and the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.
“It’s my way to pay back. I’m eternally grateful for the care he received and the attention and having the medical equipment he needed and the level of expertise that he needed,” she said.
Ms Martinovic is the coordinator of the NICF Bake for Babies fundraising campaign and said that prior to her experience with Kristijan, she wasn’t aware of the organisation.
“There were so many things that we were able to utilise [in the NICU] only because it was funded by the Foundation and I didn’t know that until I got involved,” she said.
The NICF funds medical equipment, research and nurse education to help sick newborn babies of the Canberra region. There are around 700 babies admitted to the NICU each year, which includes about 300 from Southern NSW.
“They [babies] are our most vulnerable and tiniest citizens. They need our help, they rely on our help,” she said.
2019 marks the third annual Bake for Babies campaign, which this year is aiming to raise $60,000 to purchase a state-of-the-art ventilator to help babies breathe.
Ms Martinovic said the idea is “to have fun, to get people together” and “bake things”. It can be as simple as getting friends together and charging per chair, selling baked goods at a fete or hosting a morning tea at work.
“Canberra is a pretty tight community. Everyone helps everyone as much as they can and it doesn’t even have to be a lot; even $5 can go a long way because when you add it all up … it does make a difference.”
Bake for Babies officially started on 1 July and runs for three months, although participants can bake any time of the year. Those wanting to bake are encouraged to sign up via newborn.org.au with 100% of all money raised going directly to help critically ill newborn babies.