A mother is unable to cuddle her newborn son while she battles an unknown illness.
Jazmin Hunter, 25, is being treated at Auckland Hospital as doctors desperately try to make a diagnosis.
She is unable to hold or speak to her 13-day-old baby, and can only communicate using small movements with her thumb.
Her friend Kelly Larsen said the situation is heartbreaking to watch.
"Baby is doing well and is brought to his mother for short intervals of skin on skin contact. While Jazmin is aware of what's happening, she cannot communicate or cuddle her own baby."
Larsen has set up a givealittle page to help with covering travel costs, rent, food and utility bills, along with items needed to care for a newborn.
She said Jazmin was a healthy woman who loves life and living it to the fullest.
"She had an energetic, bubbly personality and everyone who met her liked her. Wherever she went she made a lot of friends."
Larsen said the family has rallied to support the new mother, and her friend's mum Barbara has resigned from her job to be there for her daughter and baby Theo, who is currently in NICU.
Hunter has a pre-existing condition called Hydrocephalus or "water on the brain" which causes a build up of spinal fluid inside the skull.
The New Lynn resident has endured multiple surgeries since being diagnosed at the age of 13. Doctors installed a shunt (a small hole) to control the flow of fluid but this only works intermittently.
While on a hospital visit for another shunt failure in August, Jazmin discovered she was pregnant.
Larsen said it was a healthy pregnancy and they were all excited, but her friend's condition took a downward turn.
"After New Years 2020, Jazmin was admitted to hospital again because of complications. While there, Jazmin deteriorated and her health declined to the point where over time she has lost the ability to walk and talk and no one knows why."
Medical professionals made the decision to deliver her baby at 33 weeks by caesarean section, and Theo was born on February 14.
"Neurologists and neurosurgeons have ordered blood tests, lumbar punctures, EEGs and MRIs to find the cause of Jaz's downward decline with tests showing nothing, but they are stumped," said Larsen.
"Jazmin is now fully dependent on others to bathe her and she is fed through a tube. She needs 24/7 care."
Larsen said another surgery is likely while they wait for test results.
The givealittle page for Jazmin can be found here: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/please-help-support-jazmins-fight-for-recovery