Neona­tal unit saved pre­ma­ture baby’s life

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

New mum Kahu Fa­hey’s baby daugh­ter Isla fit­ted in the palm of her hand when she en­tered the world.

Kahu and part­ner Al­lan’s bundle of joy was just 480 grams – smaller than an ev­ery­day packet of but­ter.

It was hardly sur­pris­ing for staff at Mid­dle­more Hos­pi­tal’s new neona­tal unit – af­ter all, Isla ar­rived only 26 weeks into her mother’s preg­nancy – a mas­sive 14 weeks early.

But to­day, around what should be her ac­tual birth date, Isla is a healthy 2.295kg and only weeks from go­ing home.

Both mother and baby were very ill dur­ing the preg­nancy af­ter Kahu’s pla­centa stopped grow­ing.

Things were get­ting crit­i­cal be­cause of pre-eclamp­sia – a con­di­tion char­ac­terised by high blood pres­sure and sig­nif­i­cant pro­tein in the urine of the mother, and which can lead to life-threat­en­ing seizures – so doc­tors had to make an ur­gent de­ci­sion.

Kahu’s kid­ney and liver were fail­ing, and her baby was in­creas­ingly dis­tressed. An emer­gency cae­sarean sec­tion was needed. And so began Isla’s lengthy in­ten­sive care stay in the unit.

‘‘The staff are in­cred­i­ble,’’ Kahu says. ‘‘Noth­ing is too much trou­ble and the level of at­ten­tion and de­vo­tion to Isla has to be seen to be be­lieved.

‘‘We are just hum­ble ev­ery­day peo­ple, and never imag­ined our­selves be­ing in this sit­u­a­tion. But the fact is when we have more chil­dren we will al­most cer­tainly have to go through it all again.’’

Kahu vol­un­teered Isla to help pro­mote the Mad Butcher and Sub­ur­ban News­pa­pers Com­mu­nity Trust Dine with the Prime Min­is­ter at SkyCity event on May 16 to help raise money for life-sav­ing equip­ment at the hos­pi­tal.

‘‘This unit has just been opened and it is al­ready full. There are al­ways go­ing to be ba­bies like Isla who need the amaz­ing skills and equip­ment on of­fer here, so if we can do any­thing to help that hap­pen, we are there for Mid­dle­more – just as it has been here for us.’’

Trustee Sir Peter Leitch, aka The Mad Butcher, urges the busi­ness sec­tor to get be­hind the black tie event.

‘‘It’s a great cause. And ev­ery­one can help.’’

Tick­ets are $2500 plus GST per ta­ble of 10.

Tiny bundle: Isla Fa­hey ar­rived 14 weeks early.

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