Grief and hope as a 'mini-superhero' comes home
SHE should be celebrating the birth of her twin boys, who were due four weeks ago.
Instead Beth Eacersall carried just one bundle of joy into her Caloundra home when she returned after a four-month ordeal in hospital - a "mini superhero" called Reef.
Reef and his brother Archer were delivered just 24 weeks into the pregnancy.
That's four months early. As high-risk "premmies", the boys had a 20% chance of survival.
The infants both suffered brain bleeds, but Archer's was severe and he died nine days into his short life outside the womb.
Shortly after Archer's death in October last year a shell-shocked Beth spoke with the Daily.
She explained what it was like to not have time to grieve the loss of Archer, because she had to be there for Reef and her three-year-old daughter Myla.
"It's just day by day," Beth said. "It's like hell. Every day.
"You get beyond stressed."
Beth travelled to Brisbane Royal Hospital daily, sitting and watching Reef for two months before she was allowed to cuddle him.
While away from the hospital Beth and Luke lived in fear that the phone would again ring, this time with bad news about Reef.
"You're grateful, when you wake up, that the hospital hasn't rung that night," she said.
It was a torment she and husband Luke, both in their late 20s, wouldn't wish on anyone, Beth said.
A carpenter by trade, Luke works at the construction zone that will next year be the Sunshine Coast University Hospital at Kawana.
Before Archer died, the engine in Luke's second car had suddenly expired, creating a hectic schedule for Beth, who became taxi driver as well as having to commute to Brisbane to be with Reef and return in time for Myla's evening routing.
Beth said life since October last had been one giant rollercoaster for the family, with Reef's health going up and down like a yo-yo and her own wellness shifting in parallel with her baby's.
"He's not a normal healthy baby because he never reached term but for a 24-weeker he's doing incredibly well," she said.
"He's small for his age, because instead of being in the womb he's been ... out in the world doing it on his own," Beth said.
"He's amazing, he's like a little mini superhuman."
- Visit the family's crowdfunding page at www.gofundme.com/nztjdxyk. They are asking for help to fix Luke's car or get a replacement.