Baby joy for festive seasons
When 10-month-old Ja’Kiyah Reuben wakes up on Tuesday, her family will be thrilled the little bundle of joy is home in time for her first Christmas after spending almost every day of her life in hospital.
Doctors discovered last year when mum Chelsea Derschow was 20 weeks pregnant that her unborn child had a bowel obstruction.
Knowing how life-threatening the medical condition could be, Ms Derschow was closely monitored and flown from her Port Hedland home to King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth a month before delivery in February.
Barely a day old, Ja’Kiyah was transferred to the former Princess Margaret Hospital for emergency surgery, removing the obstruction.
After a speedy recovery, Ja’Kiyah and her mum were discharged. But the return to their Pilbara home — to be reunited with the toddler’s dad Leroy Reuben and brother Stuart Dodd, seven — was short-lived.
Three weeks after their homecoming, Ja’Kiyah became agitated after a 3am feed. “She clearly was in a lot of pain and was swinging her arms and kicking her legs,” Ms Derschow, 24, said.
“I rushed her to the (Port Hedland) hospital and said, ‘I think there’s something wrong with her bowel’, because she was only a day old when she had her first surgery.”
An X-ray confirmed another bowel obstruction.
Flown back down to Perth, Ja’Kiyah underwent further emergency surgery. “That was my scary point. I was here by myself, experiencing everything on my own. We stayed in hospital from that day on,” Ms Derschow said.
The weeks turned to months as Ja’Kiyah was in out and out of surgery due to complications, with a central venous line used to feed her.
Speaking before flying home, Ms Derschow said it would be a relief for her baby to be home “for good”.
She joked that Ja’Kiyah’s dad had not yet put up Christmas decorations ahead of their daughter’s first attempt at opening presents.
“Yeah, I think he’d better get on to that,” Ms Dershow said.
Ja'kiyah Reuben is 10 months old and has been at PCH since April. She hashad multiple abdominal surgeries.