'Some people don't meet their heroes, I gave birth to mine'
WHEN Morgan Deasy welcomed her little baby boy Henry Joseph Ashton into the world, it was 15 days before she was allowed to hold him.
Born premature at 24 weeks and four days, Henry was so tiny, weighing 694g, he could fit in one of his father Joe's hands.
Miss Deasy, 30, had started experiencing pain and bleeding during her otherwise healthy pregnancy and after a night in Warwick Hospital she was flown to the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.
Five days later on August 4, Henry was born.
Miss Deasy said she was scared because she knew 23 weeks' gestation was the lower limit for survival.
"You expect to have the baby and it's happy and exciting, but it wasn't like that,” she said.
"I felt bad, like I failed.”
Henry was placed straight on a ventilator to help him breathe and for the next 123 days he fought for survival.
His skin was too fragile to touch for days after his birth.
"I cried when I first held him, he was so tiny,” Miss Deasy said.
"He didn't really look like a normal newborn, there wasn't any fat on him, he was all skin and bone and quite long.”
Miss Deasy said the next few months were like a rollercoaster, as Henry's health improved but then experienced setbacks.
He had a little bleed on his brain and had to undergo heart surgery to close a duct that did not have time to develop on its own.
"For the first few weeks it was really hard seeing all these healthy babies and big pregnant mums, and I never got to have that,” Miss Deasy said.
"There was definitely times when I thought he wouldn't make it or something would go wrong.”
Miss Deasy said her fiance, Joe Ashton, who moved from England to be with her, as well as other mothers and nurses helped her through the toughest days.
"I could talk to them and they knew, they could sympathise,” Miss Deasy said.
"They're a shoulder to cry on, I needed that a few times.”
After 103 days in Brisbane, the first step to coming home was made when Henry was moved to Toowoomba Hospital.
Then two weeks before Christmas Day Miss Deasy and Mr Ashton, 26, were told the great news Henry could be brought home to Warwick.
Miss Deasy said she was a bit nervous to be away from hospital staff, but it was an amazing feeling to bring Henry home.
"I'd been dreaming of it until the day he born,” she said.
While still on oxygen and booked in for specialist appointments to repair a damaged vocal chord nerve, Henry is otherwise doing well and now weighs almost 4kg.
"There's a saying with premature babies that says 'Some people don't get to meet their hero and I gave birth to mine', and I agree,” Miss Deasy said.
"I can't imagine how he went through all that and he's come through it all so well.
"I thought we'd just get through the first week and the week after that, I didn't think we'd get here.”
Miss Deasy said she was looking forward to Henry's next milestones, like his first smile.
But for now it's the little things like him putting on weight that bring her joy.
"I'm so proud of him, I want to tell everyone how amazing he is,” she said.
Miss Deasy urged other parents who may be facing a similar struggle to make the most of support services offered by hospitals.
"Having someone to talk to about it and discuss my fears with (was good),” she said.
"It's very scary, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.”