Phylicia beats the odds
AT 104 days and eight hours old, Phylicia Jane Stock finally 'came home'.
Born on October 13, 2004, Phylicia came into the world three months early, and every day since has had to fight to stay alive.
But she hasn't had to do it alone.
Along every step of the way were her parents, Paula and Phill, as well as family, friends and medical staff who will be remembered for ever.
"She is our little miracle baby," Mrs Stock said.
Weighing at birth at 900 grams (1.96 lbs) and just 30cm in length, Phylicia has been through more in her short life than most will endure in an entire life time.
When Mrs Stock started having contractions, she was rushed to Sydney's Royal Hospital for Women.
There she was in labour for three days while doctors gave her steroid injections to increase the babies chance for survival.
Once born, the start of Phylicia's life began with four infections, seven blood transfusions and countless hours hooked up to numerous life-saving machines.
As lungs are the last organ to mature, she suffered chronic lung disease, requiring oxygen via an incubator and ventilator.
"Her chances of survival was 70 per cent, but the first two weeks were the most crucial ? and hardest," Mrs Stock said.
"People who have babies normally should appreciate it because when you don't you are robbed of so many things."
It was 10 days before Mrs and Mr Stock could hold their baby girl and there was no breastfeeding.
As the weeks passed, Phylicia grew stronger and stronger, but there were still moments when things could have gone the other way.
Mr Stock recalls the times when she would stop breathing and turn blue before their eyes.
"The worst thing was being asked to wait outside and see the doctor come around the corner wondering if it was good or bad news," Mr Stock said.
Now Phylicia is back home ? almost.
Still requiring monitoring, Phylicia will remain at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus for about a month.
Mrs Stock said while her lungs had come a long way, there was still a long way to go.
"There are still times when she will stop breathing. I think it's the immaturity of her brain, but the bigger she gets the stronger she becomes," she said.
"The biggest problem we face now is to keep the infections away. At the stage she is now, if she got a cold it would be disastrous."
Despite not yet being in her own bed, Mr and Mrs Stock can't wipe the smiles from their faces.
Phylicia now weighs a healthy 2.8kg (6lbs 4oz) and measures 45cm.
"We are not out of the woodwork yet, but she's back home. Forever," Mrs Stock said.