Miracle baby: ‘I could fit her in the palm of my hand’

BORN weighing just 510 grams, baby Adena Devine had defied the odds to survive and given her parents the best Easter present in coming home after 105 days in hospital.

Due on April 17 this year, Adena and her twin brother Ryker made a very early entry into the world at just 23 weeks gestation on December 19.

Chloe Campbell, 22, and Josh Devine, 31, of Rokeby, said they weren't given much warning when labour began.

"I was at work the night before, went home and went to sleep and woke up and knew they was coming," Ms Campbell said.

The patient sitter at the Royal Hobart Hospital said when she arrived by ambulance, doctors were able to slow down the labour process for four days, but then Ms Campbell's waters broke.

 

Baby Adena, who who was born at 23 weeks and spent 105 days in hospital, with mum Chloe Campbell and dad Josh Devine after she arrived home. Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones
Baby Adena, who who was born at 23 weeks and spent 105 days in hospital, with mum Chloe Campbell and dad Josh Devine after she arrived home. Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones

 

"I was scared they weren't going to make it because I had a prem baby previously and he was 24 weeks [gestation]," she said.

"We were told [by the doctors] they wouldn't intervene and save them unless they were 23 weeks and they were exactly that.

"Adena was born first and they told me she was a boy and it had been the same at my ultrasounds, I was told it was two boys. About 6-7 hours later they came and told me she was a girl - she was very swollen and small when she was born.

"She was slimy, her skin hadn't developed properly yet, she was very red and you could see all her veins. I could fit her in the palm of my hand."

 

Adena Devine was born at the Royal Hobart Hospital at 23 weeks gestation
Adena Devine was born at the Royal Hobart Hospital at 23 weeks gestation

 

The babies went to the neonatal intensive care unit, but baby Ryker lost his fight two days later.

"He had a stage four brain bleed and we had to make a decision - we could see him going downhill," Ms Campbell said.

"We were planning a funeral on Christmas."

 

Adena Devine is now settling into life at home.
Adena Devine is now settling into life at home.

 

After more than 100 days at the RHH, Adena was able to come off her breathing supports and came home on Saturday - when she would have been 38 weeks gestation.

"The doctors did an amazing job, they came to be like my best friends throughout my journey there," Ms Campbell said.

"Everyone was stunned she didn't come home on oxygen or feeding tubes, she doesn't need any supports. She has iron medication, but that's all at the moment."

Now weighing 2.6kg, Adena wears size 0000000 clothes and is settling into home life with half brothers Noah, 4, Elijah, 5, and Caden, 7.

 

A miracle is born out of the chaos

EVERYTHING stood still for Ashley Small as she held her newborn baby in her arms, feeling at peace for the first time in years.

Her and partner Kirk Barker have had numerous challenges thrown at them since moving into their first home, but they hope that with the arrival of their "miracle baby" Ryder things are looking up.

They had lived in their Granton home for six months when a fire tore through the front rooms in March 2019, causing extensive damage and leaving them living out of caravan parks for months.

"That's something you don't really expect to happen when you're in your early 20s and you've just bought your first house," Ms Small said.

Seven-week-old Ryder Barker parents Kirk Barker and Ashley Small, of Granton. Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones
Seven-week-old Ryder Barker parents Kirk Barker and Ashley Small, of Granton. Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones

During this time they were both caught in the restructure of Woolworths, leading to Mr Barker leaving the company to go back to plumbing.

Then, at the beginning of December, Mr Barker was hospitalised, needing to have surgery on his abdomen to prevent him from going septic.

"If they hadn't have opened him up, we would have lost him," Ms Small said.

"He came home from hospital the day before we moved back into the house.

"In the New Year we got back on our feet, and that's when we started to talk about having a family."

In June, Mr Barker had a further surgery and at the same time, Ms Small learned she was pregnant.

"We were so happy and excited," she said. "The rest of 2020 was pretty good for us. But then this year hit."

The week before Ms Small was due to give birth, she woke up in the morning to Mr Barker telling her that the house was flooding, with the worst affected areas their lounge room, the nursery and spare bedroom.

Ashley Small with her “miracle baby” Ryder. Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones
Ashley Small with her “miracle baby” Ryder. Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones

They were put up in accommodation by their insurance agency, and days later Ms Small gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.

"After everything we had him, and everything just stood still," she said.

"I didn't worry about things after that. It's made all the challenges we've faced seem like nothing."

Ryder is among the hundreds of babies vying for the title of Tassie's Cutest Bub. Vote now for your favourite in our bumper photo gallery.

The most popular entries will be included in the ultimate vote for Tassie's Cutest Bub for 2021 at the end of the year.

It's not too late to submit your baby's photo if they were born in 2021. Simply leave a comment on this post on the Mercury's Facebook page.

Originally published as Miracle baby: 'I could fit her in the palm of my hand'


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