Nicole Huber and baby boy Wiley.
Nicole Huber and baby boy Wiley. Blainey Woodham

Giant win by little warrior

IT'S hard to believe that this eight-month-old baby bouncing contentedly in his mother's lap was being kept alive by tubes and wires just a few months ago.

Byron Bay resident Nicole Huber's son Wiley was born three months premature in Sydney on November 4 weighing just one kilogram, less than one-third the average birth weight.

The first-time mum was due to begin birth classes two days later when her waters broke at 27 weeks.

Suddenly she had to wing it with the added stress of knowing there was a greatly increased chance of her child being born with seri- ous health problems.

Wiley's early arrival sparked a three-month rollercoaster ride for Nicole and her partner Tim who would brace themselves on their daily vigil at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Royal Women's Hospital for dramatic twists and turns in his delicate condition.

Wiley endured blood transfusions, hernia surgery, infections and treatment for a detached retina.

"I just didn't know if he was going to make it," Nicole says.

"I was a bit of a basket case. I was at my wits' end."

During that time, she turned to Miracle Babies, a volunteer organisation that supports premature and sick newborns and their families. "I called the support line several times during his 92 days in NICU, speaking to parents who have been there," she says.

It's still too early to know if Wiley will suffer any long-term impacts, but Nicole feels very lucky that so far, occasional wheezing due to his immature lungs is the only symptom.

Nicole moved back to the Far North Coast two months ago with her family.

On Saturday she and Wiley will face an endurance test of another kind - the Gold Coast Airport Marathon to raise money for Mi- racle Babies.

The 37-year-old "casual runner", hopes to display the same fighting spirit as her son during the 5km route which Wiley will undertake in his stroller.

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