‘Miracle’ Baby Who Weighs About A Block of Butter Fights for Life While Parents Fight to Stay With Her

Janita Kan
By Janita Kan
May 7, 2018World News
‘Miracle’ Baby Who Weighs About A Block of Butter Fights for Life While Parents Fight to Stay With Her
(Angelina Matekohi/GiveALittle)

A young New Zealand couple was shocked when their little girl arrived prematurely at 23 weeks during a trip in Adelaide.

Lotomau Matekohi, 24, and Reginald Matekohi, 23, who live in Tokoroa, were supposed to be back in university this week. Instead, they are thousands of kilometres away from home, staying beside their daughter Angelina’s incubator at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital of Adelaide.

NTD Photo
(Angelina Matekohi/GiveALittle)

The couple were visiting friends with whom they served together in a church mission when Lotomau suddenly went into labour on April 20, according to a crowdfunding website set up by Reginald’s mother. Angelina was born four months premature at 23 weeks and weighed just 510 grams (17 ounces) — equivalent to about a pound of butter — and measured less than 29.5 c.m. (11.6 inches).

“It was kind of shocking,” Lotomau said to the NZ Herald about her daughter’s birth.

Reginald told the newspaper that his daughter was not breathing when she was born and doctors said that it was highly unlikely she would respond.

But when doctors place the ventilator in, the little girl started breathing.

“We were really happy, we didn’t want to give up on our daughter straight away, and that was the first ten seconds of her life,” he said.

NTD Photo
(Angelina Matekohi/GiveALittle)

Since her birth, Angelina has been spending time in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit where she is still in a critical condition.

According to the crowdfunding page, Angelina needs support to breathe, has nutrients provided to her through tubes into her nose including Mau’s milk, and an IV for blood transfusions, extractions, and medicines.

“Angelina has a bleed on the right side of her brain that is serious. Her strong heart is unfortunately pumping blood into her lungs, which is posing a very serious concern,” according to Reginald’s mother.

Reginald said that his daughter is so tiny “you feel like any movement you make is going to break her.”

Doctors have told the couple that in order to give Angelina a fighting chance, she will need to remain in Adelaide for at least another four months.

The couple, who are currently staying with friends from church, are appealing for financial support to assist with medical fees and daily expenses while in Adelaide.

“Pretty much all day we’re there with her. We’ve got to spend every minute with her because we don’t know if it could be her last,” Reginald told the newspaper.

Reginald has also been looking for work in Adelaide to support the family.

The strong father said Angelina was a miracle and hoped other parents in similar situations stay strong for their children.

“Our babies are a lot stronger than they look and we think,” he said.

Little Angelina’s condition is also slowly improving. Two weeks after Angelina’s birth, her weight increased to 544 grams (19 ounces), according to Reginald’s mother.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed to NZ Herald that the New Zealand High Commission in Canberra is in contact with the hospital Angelina is at and has offered the family consular assistance.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), preterm birth occurs for a variety of reasons including “multiple pregnancies, infections and chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure; however, often no cause is identified.”

Every year, WHO estimates 15 million babies are born preterm worldwide (before 37 completed weeks of gestation) and 10 percent of babies are born prematurely in New Zealand annually, according to the newspaper.

The family has set up a Give a little site to fundraise medical and living expenses for the couple and Angelina. They have currently raised more than $7,110.


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