Born 10 weeks early, little miracle Imelda wins fight for life

Born 10 weeks early, little miracle Imelda wins fight for life

When first-time dad Jake holds his tiny baby daughter Imelda in his arms, he knows how lucky she is to be alive.
Imelda was born 10 weeks early at Mater Mothers’ Hospital in South Brisbane on 29 October – weighing just 1.8kg.
Imelda’s name means universal battle, and Jake, a Wakka Wakka man, say she’s already shown her fighting spirit.
Jake, 27, and his partner Emelia, 22, have thanked the multidisciplinary clinical team at Mater Mothers for saving their baby ahead of World Prematurity Day (17 November).
The couple, from Alexandra Hills in the Redlands, said their daughter was “kicking goals” as she continues to receive around-the-clock care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Mater Mothers’ Hospital.
“From week to week she’s getting so much bigger and she doesn’t need assistance with breathing anymore,” Jake said.
“She’s definitely our miracle baby girl”.
Jake said he was out with friends when Emelia phoned him about 9.30pm on Saturday night (28 October) after she began suffering severe abdominal pain and bleeding – unaware he would be welcoming his daughter just three hours later.
He rushed home and called an ambulance, and Emelia was transported Mater Mothers’ Hospital.
“Emelia had gone into labour and Imelda was born naturally just a few hours later, at 12.15am on Sunday,” he said.
Jake said he cried when he saw little Imelda for the first time.
“It was this really wholesome feeling,” he said.
“When I look at her, I think she’s just gorgeous – she definitely has my resemblance.”
He said Emelia was recovering well following Imelda’s birth. 
Emelia said that although she had been “in and out of hospital” for a month leading up to
Imelda’s birth with lethargy, she was shocked when Imelda arrived early. 
Doctors at another hospital had detected a heart condition during her pregnancy which they were continuing to investigate.
“I had all these plans for Christmas, when I thought I would be heavily pregnant,” Emelia said.
“Imelda was supposed to be born on New Year’s Day, but we are hoping she will be home with us in time for Christmas. It’s one day at a time.
“We know we are so lucky for Imelda to be here with us today.”
She thanked Mater Mothers’ midwife Tess Willis, who helped keep her calm during Imelda’s birth.
“Tess’s level of care is the reason why Imelda is here,” Emelia said.
“Without the support of Tess and Jake, my best friend, I wouldn’t have been able to cope.
“I remember being emotional and saying, ‘I can’t have a baby now’, and Tess was with us every step of the way.”
Each year around 2,000 sick or premature babies receive around-the-clock care from the specialist multidisciplinary team at Mater Mothers’ Neonatal Critical Care Unit.
With one in five Queensland babies born at a Mater hospital and one in 10 babies born prematurely, Mater Director of Neonatology Dr Pita Birch said caring for premature babies was an important part of service provided at Mater Mothers.
“It has been great to see the outcomes for premature babies improve over the last decade as a result of new technologies, treatments and ways in which care is provided,” Dr Birch said.
“Ten years ago, it was rare for babies born at Mater at 23 weeks gestation to receive neonatal intensive care and survive, and we wouldn’t always provide neonatal intensive care at 24 weeks either. 
“This year we have seen increasing numbers of babies born at less than 25 weeks surviving and being cared for over a long period of time.”
Dr Birch said to watch Imelda and all the premature babies born at Mater grow and progress over weeks of care was really great.


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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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