After 11 harrowing weeks in hospital, Mungindi couple Andrew O’Connor and Bess Gairns, have finally been able to bring their baby boy Eddison home.
Eddison was born almost three months premature when Bess went into spontaneous labour at 26 weeks and five days of pregnancy.
Bess was transported to hospital by ambulance at 6.45am, arriving at the hospital at 8am.
When Bess arrived she realised the baby was ready to be born then and there.
She was told the air ambulance was on the way from Sydney to transport her to Brisbane for medical help, and to hold on as long as possible.
However, Eddison had other plans and was delivered by Doctor Woollard at Moree hospital.
At such an early stage, Bess and Andrew were completely unprepared for the birth.
“We had no birthing plan, and we were supposed to attend our first birth class that day,” Bess said.
“I just kept saying ‘I can’t do this now- I haven’t read the (birth) book!’.”
Eddison weighed just 900 grams and had a number of medical problems upon birth - such as breathing difficulty and being unable to regulate his temperature.
He was extremely unstable due to these problems, but Dr Woollard and the nurses at Moree hospital did everything they could to deliver Eddison safely and get him onto the plane to Matar Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.
“(The Moree hospital staff) did an amazing job. We would never have made it through those first hours without them,” Bess said.
The air ambulance arrived shortly after the birth and Eddison was stabilised and taken to Brisbane with his parents.
He needed treatment so urgently that six planes including international flights were held up at Brisbane airport so the plane carrying Eddison could land.
Bess and Andrew were not able to hold their baby for a week as he had to stay in an incubator.
His weight dropped down to 700 grams on the first day as he lost weight after the birth.
He was then moved to a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine which delivered air into his lungs through prongs and tubes holding his airways open.
Eddison stayed in intensive care for eight weeks and was then moved to a special nursery where stayed until he was able to go home.
For Bess and Andrew, watching their baby fight for his life was a harrowing experience.
“The fact that he even made it onto the plane was amazing. As soon as I was in the ambulance on the way to Moree I thought ‘we’re not going to make it’,” Bess said.
“Getting through the first week was massive, and then it was up to him - and he decided to make it through.”
After being fed breast milk and protifar (a special growth formula for premature babies) Eddison was able to grow in leaps and bounds.
He put on 100 grams every three days, and Bess and Andrew were able to try “kangaroo care” - where they could have skin to skin contact with Eddison on their chests for more than an hour at a time.
Bess and Andrew were able to finally bring their baby boy home last Tuesday, two weeks before his due date.
He now has to take iron and vitamin supplements until he is six-months-old, and must see a physiotherapist until he is six-months-old.
Bess and Andrew said they were incredibly grateful for all the support and help they had received from home while they were in Brisbane.
“Thank God we’re from a small town; that’s the attitude we had by the end of it,” Bess said.
“The number of people who have bent over backwards to help us is amazing. We could never have done this alone.”