132 days in hospital ... baby Harper won’t give up
LOCKYER Valley's Kayla Bartrim has spent the first 132 days being a mother beside her daughter in hospital in intensive care.
The 28-year-old and her husband Marc Bartrim have watched their daughter Harper May steadily grow from a tiny 700 gram 14-week premature baby to a stable 3.6kg in 18 weeks.
Harper has undergone two laser eye surgeries, stopped breathing while having a precious kangaroo cuddle, been intubated more times than the new parents can remember, but still survived.
Now, they need the community's help to raise their first-born child.
"It has been the worst type of roller coaster ride you can ever imagine emotionally, but the most rewarding journey at the same time," Mrs Bartrim said.
Harper was born at the Mater Mother's Hospital on August 26 at 26-weeks and was intubated within the first eight minutes of breathing.
She first held her daughter when she was a week old.
Since then, Mrs Bartrim has stayed beside her daughter who she described as the "toughest fighter" and "little miracle".
Harper has undergone two laser eye surgeries to fix damage done from being given medication to help her breath, a side-effect of the drugs.
"She was our fourth pregnancy and we needed extra help to keep her," Mrs Bartrim said.
"This is our introduction to parenthood and while it isn't your ideal scenario, we will never give up on her. She is the very definition of a fighter."
Mrs Bartrim's family has flown in from Darwin to support her during the trying time, and husband Marc has been her "rock".
"My husband has been the most incredible person - my rock," she said.
The family will today learn if Harper is healthy enough to be transferred to Toowoomba and a little closer to home.
Mrs Bartrim was due to return to work in March this year, but due to Harper's ongoing critical care, has taken the step to asking for help from those who can.
"Because she is coming home on oxygen, she can't go in to day care," she said.
"She has to have minimal exposure to people in general.
"Her immune system is incredibly low so we pretty much have to isolate her."
Mrs Bartrim said asking for help had been a last resort as the family attempts to raise $30,000 to allow her to be a stay-at-home mum for Harper.
They have established a fundraising account online.
To donate, or for more information, visit http://www.gofundme.com/ipnxvg.