So glad the doctors made the right call

Alexander ScottNorth West Telegraph
James and Jess Cusato with their child Aubrey Cusato.
Camera IconJames and Jess Cusato with their child Aubrey Cusato. Credit: Alexander Scott

A young Pilbara couple have finally been able to return home to Port Hedland after a gruelling wait by their newly born premature baby’s side for almost four months in Perth.

James and Jess Cusato welcomed their teeny tiny daughter Aubrey into the world on June 29, weighing just 0.7kg after being born at just 25 weeks gestation.

Mrs Cusato was flown down to King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth by the Royal Flying Doctor Service after rushing into South Hedland hospital, concerned that she could not feel Aubrey move.

Mr Cusato said if the local doctors had not reacted as fast as they did, they would have lost their child.

“King Edward Hospital said that if the doctors and nurses didn’t make the right call up here, by the time we would have gone back to the hospital on Monday, she would have been gone,” he said. “The window of opportunity was six hours between her making it and not making it.”

Mrs Cusato said she had to deliver by emergency caesarean and there was only a 50 per cent chance their child would survive.

“She had three blood transfusions and was born with a valve open in her heart that closed after a week,” she said.

After the birth, Aubrey spent 110 days in the neonatal intensive care unit as her parents watched on.

Mr Cusato said he was unable to hold her until she weighed more than a kilo, and Mrs Cusato did not hold her until a week later. Mr Cusato said they received a lot of help from the community and from Ronald McDonald House.

“A social worker at the hospital said that we were eligible to Ronald McDonald House, which meant we could stay just nine minutes away, and we were spending 16 hours at the hospital,” he said.

“It was a horrible situation, but it could have been 10 times worse without the support we got from work, family, and volunteer services.”

After Aubrey spent 110 days in the NICU, the family was able to travel back home.

“Aubrey and I had to fly back to Hedland because the drive was too long, and we had a nurse with us in case she required oxygen on the flight, which she did,” Mrs Cusato said.

The family will be taking Aubrey back to Perth in February for some follow-up appointments to make sure there are no problems with her eyes.

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