Ava soars back to health

Ava soars back to health

Jessica and Brendon recently welcomed their third daughter Ava. At three days old, Ava’s doctor noticed something not quite right but thankfully the Royal Flying Doctors Service was able to transport Ava from Longreach to Mater’s Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU) where she was diagnosed with muscular Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD).

Jessica had a normal pregnancy Ava aside from some nausea in the beginning. Her scans and blood tests came back with normal results.

“I went into preterm labour at 31 weeks and was almost flown to Brisbane at the time, luckily we were able to stop the labour,” Jessica said.

“Ava managed to stay in until I was 36+6 weeks when I went back into spontaneous labour. She decided to come the day I finished work.

“She was born a healthy 4 kg in Longreach and we had no complications until day three, when we were about to be discharged. Our doctor noticed Ava had a heart murmur and her oxygen levels kept dropping when she was feeding.”

The hospital immediately contacted the Royal Flying Doctor Service who arrived in Longreach carrying a specialist team to safely transport Ava to Mater Mother’s Hospital.

“We had two wonderful ladies watching over her while on the plane. Once we landed in Brisbane, Ava was transported by Ambulance to the hospital,” Jessica said.

“While in NCCU Ava was observed having an Echocardiogram to find out what was going on with her heart. At the end of day three Ava was given the all clear and was finally able to have her feeding tubes and wires taken off.

“She was diagnosed with muscular VSD (she has a small whole in the wall that separates the heart) and some secondary reflux due to being born a little early. These, thankfully are all things that should fix themselves over time,” Jessica said.

While Ava was in NCCU Jessica and Brendon were able to stay in Mater’s Reg Leonard House so they could be close to their daughter. 

“It was a massive relief to have accommodation arranged for us, not knowing what was going on with Ava was an extremely stressful and scary. Not having to arrange accommodation or having the added expense was a lifesaver, Brendon and I are forever grateful for that,” Jessica said.

Jessica and Brendon cannot speak highly enough of the Mater NCCU and the staff who took care of them.

“They were so kind and friendly, keeping us up to date on her progress, answering all our questions and supporting every decision we made. Most importantly they were able to make us laugh during the hardest and most uncertain times,” Jessica said.

“Ava would have been looked after by roughly six different amazing team members, who all hold a special place in our memory. They all went above and beyond their duties to look after Ava and to make our experience as comfortable as possible given our situation.

“Every time we left Ava in their care we felt comfortable leaving her knowing that she was being well looked after..”  

Today Ava is home with her family in Longreach and is a happy, healthy, thriving baby with two older sisters who love taking care of her.  


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For urgent assessment at any stage of your pregnancy, please present to your nearest emergency centre or Mater Mothers’ 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre in South Brisbane.

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