Baby survives against the odds
AT just five months, Ethan Thomas Brown is already fiercely independent, defying medical experts who gave him just a 50 per cent chance of survival after his early arrival into the world.
The little boy arrived close to 15 weeks prematurely on Father’s Day on September 5 last year, weighing just 746 grams.
After four months in Brisbane’s Mater Hospital and four major health scares, the little boy was finally allowed to come home in January.
He nearly arrived even earlier, with mum Michelle Secker’s water breaking at just 22 weeks.
The Brassall resident was kept at St Andrew’s Hospital in Ipswich, with doctors able to delay labour. She was transferred to the Mater at 24 weeks, when her baby was considered viable.
He was born just six days later.
“It was touch and go for a while,” Ms Secker said.
“They woke us four and a half hours after he was born saying he was struggling and might not make it through the night.”
The little boy was placed on a ventilator, with his lungs too small to function on their own.
He underwent a hernia operation on December 22 and just days later developed a high temperature, with doctors doing a lumbar puncture as they thought he had meningitis.
Ms Secker said her former workplace, Club Cares, had raised funds to enable her to stay for the first month in the city near her son.
“At the start it was touch and go,” she said.
“Trying to get to Brisbane, especially in peak hour, I wouldn’t have made it there in time.”
He was transferred to St Andrew’s on January 6, arriving back home the day the floods started.
Father Matthew Brown said watching his son fight to survive had been unbearable.
“It is supposed to be the happiest time in your life and it was an absolute nightmare,” he said.
“It just turned our lives upside down.”
The little boy, who has chronic lung disease due to his premature birth, is expected to need oxygen for his first 12 months.
His developmental milestones, such as crawling, are also expected to be delayed.
Ms Secker said despite the obstacles her son still faced, it was a dream come true having him home.
“He has fought really hard to be here,” she said.
“The amount of times we were only given a small chance of even meeting him.
“To have him home has proven everyone wrong.”