17 August 2016, By Mater Lotteries

“Having a premature baby is like entering a whole new world.”

1 min read

Three-year-old Hannah is “sassy, has attitude and talks like a five year old”, according to her dad Shane.

“You’d never know she had such a rough start; it really surprises people when I tell them she was born 11 weeks early,” he said.

Hannah’s mum Rachel was just 16 weeks pregnant with her second child when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cervical cancer.

“Our world fell apart. You can’t process that information; we went into a tailspin and it never stopped,” Shane said.

Rachel started a form of aggressive chemotherapy which minimised the risk of harm to her baby. She flew to Mater in Brisbane every three weeks for treatment and scans to check her baby’s progress during her chemo.

But within months, Rachel’s tumour had grown in size and her baby needed to be delivered early.

“Hannah weighed just under 1000 grams, was 40 cm long and came out screaming,” Shane said.

Eleven weeks premature, Hannah was raced to Mater’s Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU) where she stayed for eight long weeks.

“From the start, it was clear Hannah was strong and fortunately, she has never had any major complications, just the usual hiccups along the way,” Shane said.

“Having a premature baby is like entering a whole new world, one which most people don’t realise exists. But for parents like us who do experience it, it is a time of uncertainty and stress—but also a time of hope.”

Sadly, young mum Rachel passed away in August 2014, but her widowed husband Shane remains focused on helping his two young children, Hannah and Maison, remember their amazing mum.

“Hannah has recently started day care and my goal is just to give our kids a good, happy and healthy life.”

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