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Patient stories

“It was hard to wrap our heads around how they could operate on someone so tiny”

When Mystie’s waters broke just 23 weeks and 5 days into her pregnancy, she was admitted to Mater Mothers’ Hospital, absolutely terrified for her unborn baby.

10 days later, baby Declan was born weighing only 750 grams.

Then when he was only one week old—before his parents even had the chance to hold him—Declan went into surgery for a spontaneous perforation of the small intestine.

“It was hard to wrap our heads around how they could operate on someone so tiny,” said dad Colin.

“Our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit doctor was really good; he came up and had a chat with us, laying out the facts in black and white.”

After Declan’s surgery, Mystie and Colin held his tiny body for the first time while he was still on a ventilator to help him breathe.

Luckily, his health began to improve and baby Declan was able to go home with his mum and dad after 98 days in hospital, weighing about four pounds.

But for little Declan, his fight was far from over.

Despite the improvement in his health, a week after returning home Declan needed further surgery for hernia repairs. To date he has had six hospitalisations for a variety of complications since leaving Mater Mother’s Hospital.

He’s now grown into a brave three year old who is “just a happy and healthy little boy doing all the things boys his age do,” said Mystie.

“Developmentally he is doing really well and has been discharged from regular occupational therapy and physiotherapy appointments.”

“Colin and I feel so blessed to have Declan in our lives—we have so many good things to look forward to thanks to the wonderful start he was given at Mater.”

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