Mum of Premature Baby Pushes for Parental Leave Overhaul - Hope 103.2

Mum of Premature Baby Pushes for Parental Leave Overhaul

The Miracle Babies Foundation is advocating for the government to restart parental leave once a baby comes home from the NICU.

By Georgia FreeWednesday 16 Nov 2022Hope DriveParentingReading Time: 3 minutes

When award-winning sports journalist Sam Squiers became pregnant with her first child, she had complete faith in her body to cope with the pregnancy.

Disclaimer: some readers may find the content of this story distressing.

Sam had run two marathons in the months prior, avoided alcohol, drugs and smoking – she was what many would consider picture-perfect health.

So, when her 20-week scans revealed that her placenta wasn’t working, Sam was shocked. She began to be monitored several times a week at the hospital and advised by doctors to prepare for her daughter’s arrival – which could come at any point.

Twelve weeks later, Sam experienced a placental abruption, along with severe pre-eclampsia – and began bleeding from inside her uterus. Not realising how serious the situation was, Sam took an Uber to the hospital, as her husband was interstate. However, once she was there, she was faced with the gravity of the situation.

“She was crashing, I was crashing. The placental abruption started to shut down my organs,” Sam told Hope Drive.

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“The fluid had nowhere to go, so it went to my brain.

“It was basically all hands-on deck.

“They had to get her out.”

An intense journey

After the birth, Sam was rushed to ICU, where she remained for three days, while Imogen went straight to NICU.

“You have to ask for permission to touch them. You can’t just pick them up and cuddle them.” she said.

Sam reminisced fondly on her favourite part of the day in the NICU, the only time of the day where she felt like a parent – changing Immy’s nappy.

“That was when we got to do something for her,” Sam said.

“The rest of the day we were just sitting on the outside, looking into her humidicrib.”

Imogen remained in the NICU for seven weeks, but Sam knew people who were in there for even longer – realities which place unbearable emotional, mental and financial strain on families.

“I knew a mum whose baby was in there for over three months, and she had to go back to work because her maternity leave ran out,” she said.

“She would come to the NICU before and after work. My heart went out to her.”


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A post shared by Sam Squiers (@samsquiers)

Growing push for change

There’s now a growing push from Miracle Babies Foundation, which Sam is an ambassador, for the government to restart parental leave once a baby comes home from the NICU.

“It makes perfect sense,” Sam said.

“It’s an intense journey already, but to have the financial stress on top of it of going to work… it’s too much.

“To have that [parental] leave extended, would be a no-brainer from the government.”

Listen to Sam’s full interview on Hope Drive in the player above. For more information about Miracle Babies Foundation’s push for parental leave overhaul, click here

If this story brought up feelings of grief for you, there is support available –  SANDS is a 24/7 bereavement hotline for stillbirth, miscarriage and newborn death, call 1300 308 307.

For other support services, visit our Helpful Counselling and Community Services page.