Baby ar­rives early to be par­ents’ best man

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY rachel. ri­ley@ news. com. au

TINY El­lis Lane was de­ter­mined to be best man at his par­ents’ wed­ding.

Born at 25 weeks, on April 8 at just 547g, his mother’s en­gage­ment ring could fit around his arm as a bracelet.

Yesterday was to be El­lis’s full- term birth­day and par­ents Neil and Leigh Lane thought it was the per­fect date to tie the knot as a fam­ily in Townsville Hos­pi­tal’s Neona­tal In­ten­sive Care Unit.

There was no long white dress or bou­quet, but El­lis was still dressed in a tiny tuxedo to play ring­bearer at the in­ti­mate bed­side ser­vice in front of a cel­e­brant and proud hos­pi­tal staff.

Mr and Mrs Lane from Toomulla Beach had al­ready post­poned their tra­di­tional church wed­ding twice, once af­ter find­ing out they were preg­nant and then when El­lis ar­rived early.

“We were go­ing to get mar­ried this year on July 21 but he came into the world in a hurry and threw ev­ery­thing out,” Mr Lane said.

“July 14 was his due date so with the bless­ing of our fam­i­lies we de­cided to mark the day and say our vows in a pri­vate af­fair, be­cause he is here and we can in­clude him.

“The day will be very spe­cial and I can’t wait to show him photos when he is older.”

Mum Leigh, a nurse at the hos­pi­tal, said her fam­ily’s three- month or­deal had been a very hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence and she was so grate­ful that her col­leagues could help ac­com­mo­date an in­ti­mate bed­side wed­ding.

“El­lis was first saved by my ob­ste­tri­cian Dr Re­nee Verkuijl and then ev­ery day since in the NICU,” she said.

“Over the years I have had pa­tients thank me and fam­i­lies thank me and you think it’s just your job,” she said.

“But now I am in that po­si­tion, I truly un­der­stand what it’s like giv­ing some­one that thanks.”

Neona­tal In­ten­sive Care Unit clin­i­cal di­rec­tor Dr Guan Koh has helped de­liver more than 13,000 ba­bies in his ca­reer but this was his first pa­tient wed­ding.

“Neona­tal care is a very stress­ful en­vi­ron­ment with a lot of wor­ries and it can be a lonely time for a lot of par­ents,” Dr Koh said.

“But this is just a beau­ti­ful and unique event not only for the baby, but it’s very ex­cit­ing for the staff and the par­ents.

“El­lis has al­most reached the crit­i­cal 100 days so it’s a dou­ble cel­e­bra­tion.”

The day will be very spe­cial and I can’t wait to show him photos when he gets a bit older

NEW FA­THER NEIL LANE

Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

BEST BABY: Leigh and Neil Lane with lit­tle El­lis in the neona­tal in­ten­sive care unit at Townsville Hos­pi­tal.

Ru­ral In­sight, page 23

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