A MELBOURNE miracle has been billed Australia’s tiniest tot.
Little Elora was the length of a pen and weighed less than a juicy orange when she was born, almost five months prematurely, at the Royal Women’s Hospital.
Today, the tot is thriving on Mum Adele’s milk, fed though a nasal tube.
From a red, scrawny scrap of near-life she has thrived to develop into a chunkier cherub.
Now, at eight-and-a-half months, she is 4.7kg – still half the average weight of four-week-olds who join her at weekly mother’s group meetings.
Elora is believed to be the smallest baby ever born to survive her desperate start in life.
Mum Adele De Bondi, a nurse, had known the likely consequences when major problems were diagonosed just over four months into her first pregnancy.
Anxious return trips to hospital over a fortnight did nothing to allay her fears.
“She was too small, too premature, to be viable, and I expected the worst,” Ms De Bondi said.
“But at the same time, my gut instinct was that this child would be a fighter and if she was allowed to be born, she would take it from there.”
Delivery was by caesarean section. Adele did not see her daughter until the next day when she was pushed in a wheelchair to gaze at the tiny tot struggling for life in a humidicrib.
“Her head was the same size as my thumbnail, but I bonded with her the split second I saw her fighting for life,” Ms De Bondi said.
“I was amazed and ecstatic and overawed she had survived the night, and I knew instantly and instinctively that she would survive.”
Born at just 319g, little Elora weighed less than a can of caviar or a tin of tuna, and lighter than a naval orange munched for a mid-morning snack.
“She was too critically ill for them to measure her, but my mother photographed her alongside a pen and they were roughly the same length,” Ms De Bondi said.
Elora has spent months in the Royal Women’s Hospital, fighting to survive and slowly winning.
“She rallied as she faced multiple problems, including two collapsed lungs and multiple pulmonary bleeds.
“Slowly but surely she started to gain strength, gain weight, and actually started growing.”
Today, at home in Balwyn with her single mum, the battler bub is showing her true colours.
“She sleeps soundly by night and is alert and inquisitive by day.
“She eats to make up for what she has missed out on and is going ahead in leaps and bounds.”
Ms De Bondi told of Elora’s fight for survival in the hope of attracting donations to the Royal Women’s Hospital neonatal and intensive care unit. Call the RWH Foundation on 9344 2006.