‘Little battler’ Xavier makes Mother’s Day extra special


An Ipswich baby with a serious heart condition and a rare chromosomal disorder has put up an “epic fight for survival” – giving his mum the greatest Mother’s Day gift.

Born nine weeks early and weighing less than 765g, little Xavier will spend his first Mother’s Day with proud mum Ashleigh McGlashan, who described her baby boy as a “little battler”.

“I didn’t think we would make it this far,” Ms McGlashan said.

“Every day is a milestone. Being a mum to a premature baby is stressful but so rewarding as you watch what they can achieve.”

At 28 weeks into Ms McGlashan’s pregnancy, her unborn baby was diagnosed at a Logan Hospital with Tetralogy of Fallot – a congenital defect that disrupts blood flow through the heart.

She was referred to the Mater Centre for Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) at South Brisbane’s Mater Mothers’ Hospital for weekly scans to monitor her baby.

Xavier was also affected by fetal growth restriction and, when problems with his mother’s placenta were detected, he was delivered via an emergency c-section at Mater Mothers’ on November 2.

Just weeks after Xavier’s birth, Ms McGlashan, 25, and her partner Brandon Fisher, 24, received the
Xavier-NCCU-body-copy-200-px.jpg “shock” news that their son also had DiGeorge Syndrome, an incurable chromosomal condition which can cause life-long health problems.

DiGeorge syndrome is caused by a defect in chromosome 22 and affects 1 in 4000 babies.

Xavier’s chromosomal condition has affected his heart, development, general health and learning ability, Ms McGlashan said.

She said tests were underway to confirm if Xavier’s DiGeorge syndrome is genetic.

“Knowing he might not be able to walk or talk properly is heartbreaking,” she said.

“He is our little battler who has beaten all the odds. He has suffered some hearing loss in his right ear and also has low set ears, which can be a characteristic of those with DiGeorge syndrome.”

Ms McGlashan said she was unsure what the future holds for her “precious baby boy”.

“I feel so lucky to hold Xavier in my arms today. I remember the moment he had to be resuscitated soon after birth,” she said.

“I thought we would have to say goodbye in the first 24 to 48 hours.

“From the time Xavier was born, we have taken things just one day at a time. He’s got a long journey ahead of him and will need open heart surgery in a few months’ time when he’s bigger.”

Ms McGlashan thanked the multidisciplinary team at Mater Mothers’ Hospital for saving Xavier, who spent almost two months receiving around-the-clock care in the Neonatal Critical Care Unit at Mater Mothers’.

“Mater definitely helped saved my baby and for that I will be forever grateful,” Ms McGlashan said.

Xavier, who now tips the scales at 4kg, was one of 165 babies admitted to the Neonatal Critical Care Unit with cardiac issues last year.

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