New mum Kahu Fahey's baby daughter Isla fitted in the palm of her hand when she entered the world.
Kahu and partner Allan's bundle of joy was just 480 grams - smaller than an everyday packet of butter.
It was hardly surprising for staff at Middlemore Hospital's new neonatal unit - after all, Isla arrived only 26 weeks into her mother's pregnancy - 14 weeks early.
But today, around what should be her actual birth date, Isla is a healthy 2.295kg and only weeks from going home.
Both mother and baby were very ill during the pregnancy after Kahu's placenta stopped growing.
Things were getting critical because of pre-eclampsia - a condition characterised by high blood pressure and significant protein in the urine of the mother, and which can lead to life-threatening seizures - so doctors had to make an urgent decision.
Kahu's kidney and liver were failing and her baby was increasingly distressed. An emergency caesarean section was needed.
And so began Isla's lengthy intensive care stay in the unit.
"The staff are incredible," Kahu says. "Nothing is too much trouble and the attention and devotion to Isla has to be seen to be believed.
"We are just humble everyday people and never imagined ourselves being in this situation. But the fact is when we have more children we will almost certainly have to go through it all again."
Kahu volunteered Isla to help promote the Mad Butcher and Suburban Newspapers Community Trust Dine with the Prime Minister at SkyCity event on May 16 to help raise money for life-saving equipment at the hospital.
"This unit has just been opened and it is already full. There are always going to be babies like Isla who need the amazing skills and equipment on offer here, so if we can do anything to help that happen, we are there for Middlemore - just as it has been here for us."
Trustee Sir Peter Leitch, aka The Mad Butcher, urges the business sector to get behind the black tie event.
"It's a great cause," Sir Peter says. "And everyone can help - even if it's just by encouraging your boss to buy a table."
Tickets are $2500 plus GST per table of 10.
Email diana.broomfield@ fairfaxmedia.co.nz to book.
- Central Leader
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