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From 880g to a bonny babe

MARYKE PENMAN
Last updated 11:52 06/12/2012
baby

SHAKY START: Hauraki couple Vanessa and Quincy Ma with baby Tristan who was born premature at just 27 weeks.

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Baby Tristan Ma weighed less than two blocks of butter and had hands the size of finger nails when he was born.

The incubator that acted like his mother's womb after he was delivered is why he is here today.

Hauraki couple Vanessa and Quincy Ma conceived Tristan through IVF after many failed attempts at a natural pregnancy.

"He is probably the most prayed for baby in the country," Mrs Ma says.

"It took so long to get him but he certainly didn't have the start we expected he would have."

Mrs Ma was admitted to hospital at 26 weeks for heavy bleeding and was confined to bed.

She was forced to undergo an emergency caesarean section one week later and Tristan was taken immediately to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Starship Hospital.

"I was under general anaesthetic so I don't remember. The first thing I can recall is when they wheeled my bed up alongside his incubator later that night," Mrs Ma says.

Tristan weighed just 880 grams at birth and spent 73 days in an incubator during which time the parents say they were on tenterhooks.

"You do feel a bit robbed and a bit guilty that I couldn't carry him to full

term and give him the best start in life. It was very touch and go, we worried about him for months," Mrs Ma says.

Tristan's parents held vigil nearby, making sure to feed, bathe and change his nappies every three hours.

"We had to be really careful because his skin was so incredibly thin, it was almost translucent," Mrs Ma says.

The day he was allowed out of the incubator, was the best feeling, she says.

"I could finally put clothes on him and let him sleep in his own cot. It was a relief to know he was definitely coming home."

Incubators are the most heavily used and vital pieces of equipment in the unit, NICU charge nurse manager Dale Garton says.

Barfoot and Thompson real estate has gifted six more state-of-the-art incubators to support the 900 premature babies admitted to NICU each year.

Its staff from Auckland to Northland have raised $133,000 this year.

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- North Shore Times

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