Bowie's story

Baby Bowie 'kangaroo' time
August 25, 2022

Beau (or Bowie) was born at King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH) on 7 January at 24 weeks old weighing only 623g. He was born early due to complication in pregnancy called Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes. He spent 20 weeks in the NICU at KEMH, where he battled with severe chronic lung disease, meaning he had to be on a ventilator and CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine to help him breathe.

The NICU at KEMH is a special place for his mum, Shantelle. “We created a community with many of the parents there. These relationships were fostered by the staff at KEMH and their approach in supporting the whole family. Our mental health was treated as a priority and the opportunity to receive regular sessions with a psychologist as the mum of a preemie have been instrumental in coping with the nuanced emotions of this journey.”

At 20 weeks, Bowie was transferred to the NICU at PCH, where he’s been working on his stamina between breathing, feeding and gaining weight. Bowie may have moved hospitals, but his mum was reassured that “…we benefit from the same services and are surrounded by wonderful staff, especially from the allied health teams, to ensure Bowie's development thrives.”

Bowie has had a challenging start to life, but this doesn’t seem to have phased him. “Bowie has been such a champ through all of the needles, tubes, wires, and the battery of tests he has undertaken.” says his mum, Shantelle.

This traumatic beginning can take a huge toll on the families of premature babies, which is why our Neonatology service places great importance on family-integrated care (FICare). “The focus on my mental health really allows me to grieve, process, and appreciate our journey, providing me with many safe outlets to vent and discuss my family's struggles and victories.” said Shantelle.

Bowie continues to work towards his goals, with going home clearly in his sights. “He is so inquisitive and loves to look at the world and listen to anyone who is talking to him. We recently took him outside for the first time and it was so lovely to see him look at the trees he has previously only seen through his window.”

Bowie celebrates 200 days in the NICU    Newly born Bowie in a neocot