Mater Mothers helps seriously ill babies like Matilda

Mater Mothers helps seriously ill babies like Matilda

Thanks to the life-saving care Matilda Jackson received at Mater Mothers’ Hospitals, she is now a healthy and happy five year old girl, but when Matilda was born at only 26 weeks gestation her parents, Laura and Chris, had no idea that Matilda would spend the next 203 days in hospital.

Laura had pre-eclampsia during her pregnancy and her baby had extreme Intra Uterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) which meant Matilda wasn’t growing at her normal rate in the womb.

Extreme IUGR can lead to still birth so at 26 weeks Laura was admitted to Mater Mothers’ Hospitals for an emergency caesarean section.  Matilda was born shortly afterwards weighing only 400 grams and was rushed straight to Mater’s Neonatal Critical Care Unit with severe chronic lung disease due to her premature birth. 


Over the next two days Matilda’s weight dropped further to just 360 grams and for the first few weeks Matilda lay in her humidicrib, attached to a ventilator, battling for her life. 

“It was scary as she was so tiny it was hard to believe, she was smaller than a bottle of water. I was only able to touch her with my hand through the humidicrib,” Laura said.

After 47 days Matilda was taken off the ventilator and put onto Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) but when the medical team tried to wean her off the machine her carbon dioxide levels increased to three times higher than normal.

For the next four months Matilda’s medical team tried to gradually wean her off CPAP hour by hour, day by day.  During her time in hospital Matilda received eight blood transfusions, was found to have an open valve in her heart and encountered a number of other medical issues.

“The Mater medical team were amazing—the nurses looking after her were so dedicated. They didn’t give up on her even when they thought she might not survive they kept giving her more chances,” Laura said.

After 203 days (seven months) in hospital Matilda was finally ready to go home.  Still on oxygen Matilda was small but had grown much stronger during her time in hospital.

“After travelling to the hospital every day from Redland Bay I was finally getting to take her home. That’s when I felt more like a mum, it was a huge relief but I was also nervous bringing her home on oxygen and we had to learn how to assist her with this.

“Without Mater we wouldn’t have our daughter today. I could never repay the medical team enough for saving my baby,” Laura said.


Sadly in 2013 Matilda’s father and Laura’s husband Chris lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at only 41 years old, but despite all of life’s hardships, Laura, Matilda and their family remain strong.

You can help thousands of babies like Matilda by supporting this year's Mater Little Miracles Easter Appeal. Mater Little Miracles helps fund research projects, equipment and patient support programs for seriously ill and premature babies and their families treated at Mater.

This Easter, purchase any Miracle Max merchandise from participating IGA and Bendigo Bank stores or at Mater.  Purchase a Miracle Max plush toy and enter the colouring-in competition to win a $200 Bendigo Piggy Bank Passbook Account and one of the many Miracle Max gift hampers.

Or to donate, text ‘MLM’ to 13TEXT *standard SMS fees apply*

Help us raise $1 million this year to make little miracles happen. Visit



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For urgent assessment at any stage of your pregnancy, please present to your nearest emergency centre or Mater Mothers’ 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre in South Brisbane.

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