Amelia gains appetite after battle

Baby Amelia Pierce and her mum Jenny Sutherland. Amelia was born with oesophageal atresia.
Baby Amelia Pierce and her mum Jenny Sutherland. Amelia was born with oesophageal atresia. Nicola Brander

AMELIA Pierce's parents waited five months to properly admire her sweet face.

The youngster was born with oesophageal atresia, a congenital condition which means that that the oesophagus does not properly join the stomach.

Amelia needed surgery at birth to insert a feeding tube directly into her stomach.

She also needed a tube in her mouth to drain saliva so that she did not choke.

At five months, she had further surgery to join her oesophagus and stomach which meant she could do away with the mouth tube.

It also meant that her parents, Jenny Sutherland and David Pierce, had a new daughter.

"As soon as they did the surgery, they took the tubes out. We'd never seen her face without a tube in it," Ms Sutherland said.

After spending her first five months in the Mater Children's Hospital in Brisbane, Amelia came home to Buderim where she continues to thrive.

She still receives formula through the gastrostomy tube to her stomach but is starting to experiment with food, showing a liking for chocolate custard, watermelon and Weet-Bix.

Mrs Sutherland has been told that could take up to two years for Amelia to eat and drink properly but she and her husband hope that she will be ready to eat her first birthday cake in five months time.

"She's showing more interest in food and touching things to her mouth," Mrs Sutherland said.

Mrs Sutherland said oesophageal atresia could affect children in different and multiple ways.

"We were very lucky that she only needed the two surgeries and, touch wood, she won't need any more," she said.

She said Amelia might have to eat slower and drink more water but she would otherwise be no different from any other child.

"I just want people to know that if something like this gets diagnosed in their family, it's not the worst thing," she said.

"If someone says there's going to be a baby in the family with oesophageal atresia, it's not that bad. The babies will grow and they will come to be just like every body else. It's a lot of hard work for the first couple of years but then everything will be all right."


Oesophageal atresia:

  • Affects about one in 4425 babies.
  • Occurs around 3-4 weeks gestation. Cause unknown.
  • Represents the failure of the oesophagus to develop as a continuous passage.
  • Comes in multiple configurations. Often, it is accompanied by tracheo-oesphageal fistula, where there is an abnormal opening between the trachea and oesophagus.
  • First signs can be an unusual amount of amniotic fluid while the mother is still pregnant.
  • The first signs at birth can be excessive drooling, coughing, choking and sneezing because the baby cannot swallow properly.

Topics:  health surgery

Men of league hit the greens for community

Barry Hancock and Kev Embrey of the Fraser Coast at a recent Men of League Bowls Day.

Tweed to gather on Coolangatta greens.

Crowning bowls champions

CHAMPS: Mark Casey, one half of Gold Coast champion bowls pair with Jayden Christie, play on Monday.

Who will it be?

Local Partners

Family's new arrival in face of tragedy

MEL Small had already gone into labour when she learned of the tragic fate of her sister Jodie Spears.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Declan Kelly and the Rising Sun to shine bright at festival

Declan Kelly & The Rising Sun is one of the headlining acts at this year's festival.

Main stage set to pump with radiant reggae and dub vibes

Expert's talk on Olley's life is not to be missed

THE ARTIST: Artist Margaret Olley at the Tweed Regional Art Gallery in 2006.

RARE insight into the life of one of most cherished hoarders

Miranda Kerr to wed next year

Supermodel Miranda Kerr

Supermodel and Snapchat founder to wed

What's on the small screen this week

Georgia Love pictured in a scene from The Bachelorette finale.

TWO big reality shows wrap up this week while

Brad Pitt won't file legal response to divorce petition

Brad reportedly refused to send off the paperwork

Azealia Banks won't take legal action against Russell Crowe

Rapper Azealia Banks

Rapper drops legal action against Russell Crowe

Brad Pitt meets with his kids amid divorce proceedings

Actor Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt has met up with his oldest son Maddox

Pictures of Taylor Swift allegedly being groped are sealed

They could "complicate jury selection".

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge