One year ago, Brad and Katie Hunt’s lives took on a whole new focus. They gave birth to beautiful twins, Millie and Annie, 10 weeks before their due date. Here is their review of the amazing year that was.
How long have you lived in Uralla?
We have both lived in Uralla all of our lives. We both attended Uralla Central School and completed our teacher training at the University of New England.
Where do you teach?
Katie is currently teaching at Sandon Public School, and Brad is a Teaching Principal at Kelly’s Plains Public School.
Tell us about the birth of your twins, Millie and Annie?
Annie and Millie are the first twins in the ‘Hunt’ family. They were born on 7 December 2010 at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney. The girls were born at 30 weeks, and we were thrilled to meet our daughters for the first time. However, the experience was a very worrying time for us, as they were born well before their expected due date. It all started at 4am on Tuesday 7 December last year. A decision was made at Armidale Hospital to transfer us by Air Ambulance to Royal North Shore (RNS) Hospital in Sydney. Katie went into early labour during the flight. On our arrival at RNS, Katie was stabilised; however, at 5pm that afternoon, the girls wanted to meet us, and they were born shortly after. Annie was born at 6.11pm, and Millie at 6.19pm. The doctors believe that Annie was suffering twin to twin transfusion, which basically means she wasn’t receiving the nutrients she needed to grow, and therefore Katie’s body tried to remove her early. Both girls were treated by four paediatricians before being transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Royal North Shore Hospital. As you can see, it was a very traumatic time for us both.
Describe your experience at NICU?
Katie and I were so far away from home and we had to live in temporary accommodation for most of the time, except for when we were able to have a short stay at a relative’s house while they were away. We have nothing but praise for the staff at the NICU. Their care, compassion and professionalism were second to none. We would go to the NICU every day and spend most of the day there. They were very long days, but we did everything we could to spend time with the girls. We were taught how to care for our girls. This included tube feeding them, changing them, dressing them and taking their temperature every three hours. This can be quite a difficult task in a humidity crib and juggling the wires, cords and CPAP that the girls were attached to. We were fortunate to have a nurse to care for Annie and Millie 24 hours a day. The days were tough, but to see our girls grow stronger each day kept our hopes alive. If it wasn’t for the staff at the NICU, our experience would not have been as easy. What a wonderful group of people they are!After 6 and a half weeks, the girls were becoming stronger. Katie and the girls were transported back to Armidale Hospital where, again, wonderful nurses and doctors ensured we were looked after well. Annie and Millie were discharged about a week later.
Tell us about your fundraiser and how our readers can help?
This year, our girls’ photo was chosen to be the face of a fundraising initiative for the Royal North Shore Hospital NICU. They are raising money to buy much needed resources for the NICU. One item was a camera to detect eye deficiencies in premature babies. This cost $100,000. With the help of Brett and Peta Cohen from the Thunderbolt Inn, we have run raffles on Friday afternoons for the month of October. We raised $1,250 thanks to the kind generosity of Brett and Peta, our parents, other businesses in Uralla and of course, the general public.
What type of local support are you receiving?
Without the support from our family and friends, life would be very difficult for us. We are so fortunate to live so close to so many supportive people, who have provided us guidance throughout the last year. We must also mention the professional approach of our local doctors here in Armidale.
How will you celebrate the twin’s first birthday?
We can’t wait to celebrate their first birthday! After a year of colds, croup and infections, we are excited to celebrate Annie and Millie’s first birthday. We are going to have a BBQ lunch with some close family and friends at the park in Uralla. We have a lot of people to thank for their help and support throughout the year. We certainly have needed support and help from our family and friends, and we have been so lucky to have them live close to us.