Parker's story

Holding on to hope

Baby Parker's face covered with feeding cable, holds hand with his mother.

When Nicola’s waters broke at just 21 weeks and six days pregnant, she knew there was a high chance she could lose her baby.

For nine long weeks, Nicola took antibiotics, was in and out of hospital and required constant monitoring—including four-hourly temperature checks.

Instead of being able to take her three year old son to the park, she was on strict bed rest.

Despite strict bedrest, nine weeks later Nicola suffered a placental abruption and was rushed to Mater Mothers’ Hospital in Brisbane where her newborn son, Parker, was born by emergency caesarean.

“It’s clichéd to say it was a miracle … but it’s true,” Nicola said.

“The statistics for him surviving were down to single digits. I knew that the longer Parker and I held on to each other, the better his chances would be.”

Rushed to Mater’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Parker needed help to breathe.

The following day, a bowel obstruction prompted doctors to make the difficult decision to operate, providing Parker with a colostomy bag so his tiny body could concentrate on growing.

But his precious little body couldn’t cope with the demands of surgery and he needed resuscitating.

“I was holding Parker’s hand and he was just slipping away. It was the most traumatic experience of my life watching the doctors and nurses bring him back and keep him breathing.

“My husband and I clung to one another wondering if we should go outside or stay and watch. It was every mother’s worst nightmare coming true.”

I was holding Parker’s hand and he was just slipping away.

Parker's mum, Nicola

Parker went on to spend three long months in NCCU.

Eventually, as he grew stronger, surgeons removed his colostomy bag and he was allowed to go home with his family.

“We had quite a number of family occasions while Parker remained in NCCU (like Father’s Day, my birthday and our eldest son’s birthday), but we found it difficult to celebrate these occasions without him.

“As parents you just deal with each day as it comes and do what has to be done.

“We’re so thankful for the doctors and nurses at Mater. Everyone was incredibly supportive, brilliant, right from 21 weeks through to discharge.”

Without your support, seriously ill and premature babies like Parker would not receive the highest quality care they need until they’re ready to go home with their family.


Mater Little Miracles

By supporting Mater Little Miracles you will be helping the 2000 seriously ill and premature babies cared for at Mater each year, and investing in promising research to help more babies born sick or too early to survive.