Mum eases trauma of premature birth

By Abigail Hartevelt

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.

She initially turned up at Rotorua Hospital where she was told "things were not looking good" and was transferred to Waikato Hospital. However, there wasn't enough room and she was taken to Auckland Hospital.

"It was bad enough being in Waikato let alone being in Auckland," Mrs Baine said.

She only found out two days before Lucas was born that she had the life-threatening condition pre-eclampsia.

She said the time after her son was born was a "frightening" experience.

"Everything was a bit uncertain. They can't tell you how long you are going to be in hospital ... it was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting."

After returning home Mrs Baine started to think of ways she could help other parents of premature babies and Early Buds was born in 2010.

Early Buds provides packages which are sent to families of premature babies. Each package includes handmade babies' clothes, chocolate or another treat, stress relief cream, and other items.

The packages are free and about 300 families throughout New Zealand have received them. Mrs Baine seeks sponsorship from businesses and individuals and her church, Rotorua Elim, also supports it.

"If we don't have the funding it comes out of mine and [husband] Nick's pocket."

The clothes are handmade by people involved in Early Buds.

She said Early Buds had "grown heaps" since its inception in 2010.

"It started off with a little bit and now lots of people are keen to help in any way."

Mrs Baine wants to set up a birthday club and send out gifts to those children on their first birthdays. Packages are sent to new mums of premature babies but it's Mrs Baine plan to get women who have had premature babies to visit new mums of premature babies to give them a package.

For more information, about the organisation or to make a donation or help out go to

- Rotorua Daily Post

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