Debbie Sinclair.JPGWe thought it would be useful to introduce you to Debbie Sinclair – our Facebook page administrator. Many of you will have read Debbie’s updates on Facebook.

My name is Debbie Sinclair, I am married to David, together we have three children Mark aged 21 years, Kelly aged 10 years and Andrew aged 9 years. 

In April 2005 I was phoned at work by my specialist following a routine weekly scan at 27 weeks gestation saying I needed to pack up and come to hospital as my third child needed to be delivered as he had stopped growing and there were issues. I was shocked and thought she was having me on.  I was admitted to Dunedin Hospital where I remained an inpatient until 31 weeks and our son Andrew was eventually born by GA emergency c-section, weighing 2lb 10z (1.215kg).

The first four days following Andrew’s birth were a blur.  I lay in delivery suite for this time as the medical team worked hard to stabilise me as I was so sick and unaware of what was going on around me but soon reality sunk in and we were the proud parents of this small little boy who had a big fight on his hands and we were about to take a life changing journey.  Andrew remained in NICU for nine weeks, was discharged and then spent the first four years in and out of  hospital with ongoing chronic lung disease and respiratory illness. 

In 2009 I was notified that The Neonatal Trust were coming to Dunedin with a view to setting up a regional branch and I decided that I wanted to be a part of  this and felt the need to give back to others. I arrived at the meeting with other families but never did I imagine when I left the meeting that I would be the first Chairperson for The Neonatal Trust (Otago). I will never forget that  day because it was a double celebration of my daughter’s fifth birthday and the beginning of an amazing journey where I could give back to other families and the staff who gave so much to us.

I was very proactive for The  Neonatal Trust (Otago) and spent a lot of time building relationships with the Dunedin Unit, public figures and addressing media requirements. We hosted an annual charity ball and did many other events to help raise funds for our families. I remained on the Otago Board until I moved to Greymouth 3 years ago and at that time was approached to take over the role as the Facebook administrator for The Neonatal Trust (New Zealand) page. I thought long and hard about this and still wanted to keep giving to the Trust so I accepted this opportunity.

I get a sense of peace and goodwill hearing other people’s stories and the realisation we are a very special group of people who have all walked the same path and whether you are in the Unit for one day or one hundred days, whether your child is born premature or is full term but sick. We have a bond and an understanding that many people will never really understand. 

Giving back is my way of saying thanks to the medical team that saved our son’s life and if I can make the smallest amount of difference to other families then I will be there. A lot of tax payer’s money goes into saving our precious bundles of joy and I will always feel indebted to society, the people who have cared for Andrew and those who have supported us. Every day when I wake up and watch Andrew in his daily activities I thank God for the  blessing and smile knowing that, even though he still lags behind, he will get to where he needs to be in his own time… after all he is our million dollar miracle!