Maddy’s Story

Our story tells of first few days in Maddy’s life being born with Oesophageal Atresia (OA) and the challenges we experienced. However, through the support and guidance of OARA we were able to overcome our initial challenges.

My family’s introduction to OARA was just over 12 years ago when our eldest daughter Madeleine was born with OA. Within three hours of her birth and experiencing the jubilation of our firstborn, we were delivered the crushing news that our Maddy required surgery within 24 hours to repair her oesophagus.

That afternoon Maddy was transferred to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne from St Vincent’s Hospital in nearby Fitzroy.

Signing disclaimers regarding her fragile life was the last thing I expected to be doing on what should have been the greatest day of our lives. Later that afternoon, Maddy underwent a range of tests to confirm she was ready to undergo surgery the next day.

In my mind, I was wondering how our 2kg baby, born four weeks prematurely was ready for surgery. I then doubted whether a baby that size could survive such an operation. Due to the fine surgical skills of her surgeon, Russell Taylor, Maddy was given a great shot at a full recovery.

The skills, knowledge and dedication of Maddy’s doctors and nurses was something to marvel at and take great comfort in.

It was after surgery that we were introduced to OARA!

Shortly after Maddy arrived home from hospital, we received a phone call from Laura Overdyk from OARA to ask how we were going and share her experiences. In the weeks and hours after Maddy’s surgery, OARA and the nurses at the Royal Children’s Hospital, namely, Jo and Lisa supported us to get through this challenging period in our life.

Without the assistance of OARA and the nurses, I wonder how we would have progressed through this challenging period. It made us also realise the importance of giving back through volunteering with OARA and assisting other families in their own time of need.

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