Mater Little Miracles

Every baby born at a Mater is affectionately known as a little miracle, but some newborns need intensive, round-the-clock specialist care. And when that happens, Mater is there. ‚Äč 

Meet some Mater Little Miracles: 

Meet Ollie

This is Ollie. Mum Erika and dad Lachlan’s life took an unexpected turn when Erika's water broke at just 23 weeks into her pregnancy. In the middle of the night, fear and uncertainty gripped their hearts as they faced the daunting challenge of bringing their baby into the world prematurely.

The team at Mater Mothers’ Hospital did everything they could to keep her baby from coming so early, but a week later Ollie was born via emergency C-section.

Ollie's journey began when he entered the world weighing 520 grams, making him one of the smallest babies born at Mater in 2022. Babies born at 24 weeks, like Ollie, have a 50/50 chance of survival. Ollie was rushed to Mater Mothers’ Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU) for life-saving care. When Erika was taken to meet her little miracle, she was shocked at how fragile he looked.

"The size of my pinkie, that was what his legs were like, they were so skinny. The palm of his hand was not much wider than one of my fingernails, and his skin was quite see-through, ” she says.

Erika saw her son for the first time through the windows of an incubator, hooked up to machines and wires. His eyelids were fused shut, with tiny blue veins visible through his immature skin.

Erika knew Ollie was going to have to fight for his life. She remembers feeling reassured by all the incredible medical equipment that was keeping him alive.

State-of-the-art equipment like cardiorespiratory monitors played a crucial role in Ollie's journey, allowing doctors and nurses to monitor his vital signs and respond swiftly to any concerns.

In total, Ollie spent 159 days in the NCCU.

Meet Lilly Kate

This is Lilly Kate and her proud parents, Emily Kate and Keenan. When baby Lilly Kate was born 14 weeks premature by emergency caesarean, she weighed just 800 grams–less than a loaf of bread.

Hours later, her mum finally got to meet her for the first time. She wanted to hold her little girl so badly, but she couldn’t. Lilly Kate was being kept alive in a temperature-controlled bed. Emily Kate managed to reach out and touch her little foot–she counted ten beautiful little toes.

“I just got to see my baby’s mouth, and I heard her little squeal before she was taken away. I was shaking uncontrollably”. It was two long, scary days before they would have their first cuddle.

Emily Kate remembered:

“It was the most emotional thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was so scary having her on my chest because she was so tiny and was connected to all these cables. But, it was so special”.

Baby Lilly Kate pulled through thanks to the extraordinary care of Mater, and big-hearted people in our community.

Meet Ethan

Meet Ethan, born at 27 weeks and had in-utero surgery to repair his severe spina bifida defect at 24 weeks gestation—it truly was miracle surgery. Carla and Mick travelled to Brisbane from their hometown of Yeppoon for multiple medical appointments at Mater Mothers’ Hospital. They remained positive after Mater doctors said they could operate to help improve Ethan’s mobility and the chances he will be able to walk independently in the future.

Doctors made incisions into Carla’s abdomen and uterus at 24 weeks gestation, enabling them to reach her unborn baby’s lower back to repair the spina bifida.

Baby Ethan was born on June 22, just three weeks after the surgery was performed, weighing just 1.29kg.

"We all hoped I would remain pregnant for longer, but when Ethan was born so prematurely, Dr Pita Birch said to me, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll look after you and your baby’ , and we held onto that the entire time. "All of the doctors didn’t just save our baby boy, they gave him a life,” Carla said.

While it was too early for doctors to give Ethan the all clear, he had already shown he has full movement in his body “right down to his toes”.

Carla said Ethan also suffered from hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid in and around his brain often associated with spina bifida. Ethan received 11 weeks of around the-clock care at Mater Mothers’ Hospital.

"All of the doctors didn’t just save our baby boy, they gave him a life.”