The miracle of life is something that University of Newcastle midwifery graduate and mother, Kyra Fuller, has a vigorous appreciation for, after battling a debilitating illness that required surgery five years ago.
Pregnant and in her first semester of a Bachelor of Midwifery at the Port Macquarie campus, Ms Fuller was unexpectedly struck down with the rare auto-immune condition, Behcets Disease, that left her fighting for life.
“I developed Bechets Disease shortly after falling pregnant and became quite ill. With this condition, I have what they call ‘flare ups’, which can leave me hospitalised for sometimes weeks at a time,” Ms Fuller said.
“It also led to me having half of my left lung removed whilst I was 26 weeks pregnant. I still live with the condition, but am able to manage it with the support of my medical specialist and my family and friends.”
Unable to continue studying in a full-time capacity, Ms Fuller persevered with her studies part-time and graduated with her sister on Wednesday, February 14 at the Glasshouse in Port Macquarie.
“I’m not one to give up on something without a fight. I couldn’t walk away from this degree without giving it everything I had. It was frustrating at times, but doing it the way I did ensured I finished and ultimately meant graduating with my sister,” she said.
“My sister would drive me to classes when I couldn’t, she’d collect sheets for me if I missed class as well as continually encourage me to keep going, so it’s really special to now graduate with her.
“My family supported me to take the time I needed to recover and my peers were always so encouraging.”
Initially unsure of what she wanted to do for a career, Ms Fuller’s personal birthing experiences and health challenges cemented her passion to bring life into the world.
“Throughout my own journey, I came to understand just how much of an impact a midwife can have on a childbearing woman and her family,” she said.
“I feel like I received so much love, care and strength during my pregnancies that I hope I can give the same back to the women and families I now care for as a midwife.
“I don’t think it gets much better than having the honour of being with a couple as they welcome a new baby or babies into the world, there is no greater privilege and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.”
Now about to commence a new graduate position at Port Macquarie Base Hospital, Ms Fuller said she is excited to put all of her experiences into practice and work alongside people she studied with.
“I am extremely proud to be graduating from university and am currently a mix bag of emotions. I’m excited to consolidate my knowledge and keep developing my skillset, but also a little nervous to start this next chapter as a Registered Midwife,” she said.
It was Kyra’s determination and passion that inspired her sister, Lisa Turnbull, to also commence and finish a midwifery degree.
“I was beginning maternity leave at the time and knew I didn’t want to return to a job that just paid the bills, I wanted a meaningful career,” Ms Turnbull said.
“Midwifery is the most rewarding job and I am excited to commence a new graduate position at Kempsey this year.”