Baby heartache for Inglewood family

Lara Batten, from Inglewood, breaks down as she talks about the loss of her newborn son Oliver.
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ

Lara Batten, from Inglewood, breaks down as she talks about the loss of her newborn son Oliver.

Lara Batten and Cameron Reid have moved their bed in to the lounge.

They don't feel up to returning to their bedroom where their five-week-old baby Oliver died on February 29.

"We woke up at 7.15am and I saw his colour was gone," Batten said. 

Baby Oliver.
Lizzie Gilmour Photography

Baby Oliver.

"I immediately started doing CPR. Cam rang the ambulance. They tell me first response was here in a few minutes, but I'm pretty sure it was hours. 

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Their six-year-old son Haizen watched as everyone tried to resuscitate his baby brother, she said.

"He was privy to sights I would not wish on a grown adult. He's six and a half and he needs ongoing counselling."  

The family were  entitled to some counselling, but to keep it ongoing was very expensive.

The family were already struggling, because Reid had to give up work last year to care for Batten and their children, Haizen and daughter Meela, 2. And then there was the cost of the funeral.

A friend set up a Givealittle page to try and ease the burden, she said.

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 "We don't want to stand to profit anything. That's not what this is about. Take everything from me and bring him back."

All three of her children were prem babies and needed numerous exchange blood transfusions, which is where 5mls of blood was taken and 5mls of new blood put in at the same time.

With Oliver it was worse. They had to travel to Auckland Women's Hospital every 10 days, Batten had intrauterine transfusions at least every two weeks and was monitored regularly, she said.

"I don't know how to explain it. My entire pregnancy was day to day."

Oliver was born seven weeks premature. 

"When we were at Auckland Women's I had another transfusion during which time I started having contractions heavily and dislodged the needle four times. They knew they had pushed through 50mls of blood, but had no idea how much had gone through to Oliver." 

So, the family were sent home to be scanned in Taranaki to see what his blood flow levels were, only to find out he was anaemic, she said.

The specialists wanted to perform a caesarean straight away, but they were concerned about Oliver's weight as he was seven weeks early.

"They thought Oliver would be 5lbs4  and they could deal with either small weight or sickness but not both. Then they found out he was 4lb6. They were expecting to do an exchange transfusion immediately however our darling little boy tested the doctors at every single corner and tricked them at every point. He is the only one of my children who managed without an exchange transfusion."

When, four weeks later they were able to take a healthy Oliver home, the family thought they had made it, she said.

"I think I put a Facebook status up saying how blessed I  was that I was finally aware I would be able to love this baby forever."

Eleven days later Oliver died in his sleep.

Anyone who wants to help the family can go to a Givealittle page: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/littleangeloliver

 - Stuff

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