Isabelle Barnett has dealt with her share of adversity before turning one last week.By Ivy Wise
This time last year, Kelly and Warren Barnett held out little hope their premature daughter would survive.
The Mathoura family celebrated Isabelle’s first birthday on Sunday.
Born four months early on October 11, 2012, Isabelle had a 50 per cent chance of survival and had to be resuscitated three times.
‘‘The one thing that amazes me as a mum was that we didn’t hold much hope early on, but she had that determination,’’ Kelly said.
‘‘I like to think my kids grow up with a bit of spunk.
‘‘For her to overcome incredible odds, she’s done extremely well.’’
Weighing a tiny 727g, Isabelle spent 97 days in Melbourne’s Mercy hospital fighting to stay alive, before being transferred to Deniliquin hospital.
Friday, which was Isabelle’s actual birthday, was an emotional day for Kelly, as the events of the past 12 months came rushing back.
‘‘I knew I would get unstuck today,’’ she said on Friday.
‘‘I think it brings everything back and it’s so raw again.
‘‘I feel like I’ve been through a whirlwind, but it makes you so grateful for how far she’s come.’’
Now weighing a much healthier 12.5kg, Isabelle is in the 98th percentile for her weight and height, which has surprised doctors.
‘‘She’s huge,’’ Kelly said.
‘‘Her pediatrician actually said he didn’t want her getting any heavier, but after being born 700g, I’ll take heavy any day.’’
Isabelle was only taken off oxygen, for her chronic lung disorder, six weeks ago because of continual bouts of bronchiolitis, stemming from a collapsed lung.
‘‘She pretty much coughed all through winter and there was a number of times she came close to being hospitalised,’’ Kelly said.
‘‘The biggest challenge was her lungs. The doctors predicted that, but I didn’t expect it to go on for so long.
‘‘She has coped well since coming off the oxygen and has only had one cough.’’
Isabelle’s lungs will continue to be monitored, but her eye issues have all resolved.
Although she is not rolling over yet, Kelly said her daughter was attempting to sit on her own.
‘‘She’s got a bit of a way to go,’’ she said.
‘‘Because she was so sick, it will take her a little longer.
‘‘She is starting to say ‘dadda’ and she is very alert.
‘‘She’s so easygoing. You can take her anywhere.’’
Isabelle will continue to see a pediatrician in Albury every two months until the age of two to make sure she is reaching all her developmental marks.
‘‘She has done incredibly well considering all the issues she’s had,’’ she said.
‘‘You underestimate little babies’ strengths and what they can achieve.’’
On Sunday, the family had a combined birthday party at Squiggles in Moama for Isabelle and brother James, who turned five on Wednesday.
Surrounded by friends and family, Kelly held back tears of joy as they all sang happy birthday.
‘‘I just want to thank the people who’ve helped us along the way because that’s what’s made all the difference,’’ she said.
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