The baby too delicate to hold: Girl born at 25 weeks weighing just 510g

By Belinda Clearly

Billie Ava Stevens was born at just 25 weeks while her mother was on holiday to see family in New Zealand.
Billie Ava Stevens was born at just 25 weeks while her mother was on holiday to see family in New Zealand.

A young Australian mum has been forced to deliver her first baby in New Zealand at just 25 weeks after she became dangerously ill during a holiday to see family.

Brodie Soster, 34, from Brisbane, said she can't wait to hold her tiny 500 gram baby after her shock arrival in a Christchurch hospital on October 5.

"I am dying to finally hold her," she said, "her holding our finger is the best part of our day, we could just stand their all day and look at her."

Brodie had a healthy pregnancy and no frightening symptoms until two days into her New Zealand trip when she was kept up with what she thought was "excruciating heartburn".

"The pain kept me awake, but I have a military mindset and wanted to fight the pain," Brodie said.

Brodie had told her close relatives and partner, Scott Stevens, 28, about the pain but was still not concerned enough to seek medical help.

"I was on the phone to Scott and we joked that I was 'finally' getting pregnancy symptoms," Brodie said.

"After four days (on Saturday) I went to the doctor and asked how much it would be to see someone, they said $150 so I walked out.

"My auntie told me to go back in because she knew something wasn't right."

Billie will need to stay in New Zealand until March next year. Photo / GoFundMe
Billie will need to stay in New Zealand until March next year. Photo / GoFundMe

The local GP found protein in Brodie's urine, and before long she was being flown to Christchurch to get help at a major hospital.

"There were a lot of different scenarios going around so I didn't have a scan until Sunday afternoon.

"Before that I thought I was going home."

She was later diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, a type of pre-eclampsia which can prove dangerous for mum and baby if not acted on immediately, according to her sister-in-law Louise Stevens.

"If I didn't go back to the doctor then we would have both been dead today."

Brodie spent four days in hospital where she learned her baby had not been growing for at least two weeks.

She was given a dose of steroids in an attempt to give Billie more time on the inside before she had to be delivered by an emergency C-section.

"The effect of the steroids wore off after 48 hours as expected, which meant my platelet count began to decrease and we had to operate."

Brodie's partner Scott, and both sets of grandparents were able to get to her bedside before the emergency operation.

"Scott is besotted with her, after the operation he wouldn't come and see me because he wanted to be with her.

"We have a competition over who she reaches out to touch more but Scott has gone home for a few days so I am winning," the proud mum said.

New parents Scott Stevens and Brodie Soster.
New parents Scott Stevens and Brodie Soster.

Scott had been at an army course in New South Wales when he got the call and took off to support his partner in New Zealand.

The first photos of baby Billie reveal just how tiny she is. Her mother's hand can be seen poking through access holes in the humidicrib in one of her first photos proving just how tiny the delicate newborn is.

The premature birth of little Billie has taken an emotional toll on Brodie.

"I exercised my whole pregnancy and for a moment I blamed myself for what has happened.

"Every time my phone goes off I think it is the hospital calling with bad news.

However the possible financial burden of having a baby born overseas and early has been lessened by the couple's family and friends.

Scott's sister Louise wanted to help ease the stress on the new family and set up a gofundme page.

In less than a week more than $20,000 has been donated to help with medical bills and living expenses.

"We are blown away with the support that has been shown and the amount that's been raised just overnight.

"We can't thank you all enough. Scott and Brodie have had a huge weight lifted off there shoulders and are truly blessed to have such loving family and friends in there life xx,(sic)" Louise posted after the initial $5000 target was reached.

Brodie is also gobsmacked by the huge show of support from friends, family and strangers.

"We just want to thank everyone it has blown us away."

Billie won't be able to fly back to Brisbane to the family home until at least March next year - when she is strong enough to make the journey.

"Billie is here, so this is home," Brodie said.

The baby's brain function is strong and she has put on 250 grams since her birth - giving her doting parents hope for her future.

- Daily Mail

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