Brave Brylee: Yeppoon baby defies odds after shock diagnosis
LITTLE Brylee Lamb had the odds stacked against her right from the beginning, with the nine-week-old's chance at life almost taken before it began.
Fighting through suggested abortions, neural tube defects and uncertainties of whether she would survive or not, the Yeppoon bub made it to 35 weeks before making her entrance into the world.
That was when the real fight for life began.
Diagnosed with a condition called spina bifida hydrocephalus and Chiari malformation, along with other minor issues such as talipes (club foot), Brylee was whisked away from the delivery room by hospital staff immediately.
Taken to the paediatric intensive care unit, Brylee, who was confirmed to be paraplegic from the waist down, was put straight onto breathing support.
It would be five weeks before mum, Brandi Gilligan and dad, Michael Lamb, would be able to hold their little girl for the first time.
After two surgeries in her first two weeks of life and moments of touch and go, Brylee is scheduled to be transferred to the Rockhampton Hospital within the next few weeks.
Talking candidly to The Morning Bulletin, Brandi tells of how their little "warrior" pulled through the worst, to prove doctors wrong.
"We had been trying for a baby for years and I felt like she was a blessing and a gift from God," Brandi said of Brylee.
"My partner Michael and I found out that our baby had a neural tube defect when I was 12-weeks pregnant.
"We got told to abort multiple times, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it, so we had to travel to Brisbane twice a month for scans during my whole pregnancy."
When Brandi was 32 weeks pregnant she began to show early signs of labour, which saw her flown to a Brisbane hospital by the Royal Flying Doctors Service.
"They managed to stop the labour but told us we needed to stay in Brisbane for a planned C-section at 38 weeks," she said.
But little Brylee had other ideas and decided to make an appearance three weeks early on February 1.
"After Brylee was born she got taken away immediately, my partner Michael went with her but I didn't get to see her for a good few hours, I saw a photo of her before I actually got to see her," Brandi said.
"We didn't get to hold her for the first five weeks of her life, it was heartbreaking and we felt so helpless."
Brandi and Michael were told a handful of times by medical staff that Brylee wouldn't make it.
"The doctors said she wouldn't make it during the birth, the first time she had to have surgery to close the defect on her back and the second surgery to implant a shunt," Brandi said.
"She is an amazing little fighter and we like to call her our warrior, she has defied the odds from the start and proven all the doctors wrong.
Brandi said despite Brylee being paraplegic from the waist down, nothing would stop her from fighting and proving her worth.
"She has had such an impact on so many people in her short life already, she continues to amaze not only Michael and I every day, but also all of the doctors and nurses here at Lady Cilento Children's Hospital."
Brandi said the plan was to get home as soon as possible.
Brylee will spend a week or so in the Rockhampton Hospital before being officially allowed home, so the staff are able to get to know her.
"Our plans are to just enjoy having our little girl at home," Brandi said.
"She requires extra care, but we are ready and happy to do anything we need to, to ensure she is happy and comfortable."
Brylee will need more surgery in the future which will require the family of three to travel to Brisbane for appointments, but Brandi said the local community had been an amazing support.
"The community has been amazing. From people mowing our lawns for free while we have been away to others bringing Brylee's car seat all the way to Brisbane for us," Brandi said.
"We have had some generous donations on our GoFundMe account and all the well wishes and prayers from our community certainly helped us through."
To help Brylee with her future surgeries and medical costs, head to www.gofundme.com/brylees-journey