Nearly six years ago Benalla was following a story in the Benalla Ensign about ‘‘miracle baby’’ Molly Samson-Stokes.
Born prematurely and only weighting 612g, doctors feared the worst.
But little Molly was a battler, and last week she started Prep at St Joseph’s Primary School, Benalla.
At the time the last thing her mother Anita Samson was thinking about was the start of school.
‘‘When my waters broke at 23 weeks and three days I was very worried. My sister had lost two children at 21 weeks and my mum had lost our sister at 21 weeks,’’ Ms Samson said.
‘‘And because we had my sister’s (babies’) funerals I sat there waiting to give birth with my sister and I thought we we’re waiting to have a funeral.
‘‘I was transferred to Wangaratta Hospital and I had to make it until 24 weeks. Then they sent me to down to Melbourne.
‘‘She was in the womb until 25-and-a-half weeks. She didn’t get any infection, but I had an umbilical cord prolapse, which meant she had to be delivered straight away.
‘‘Eighty-five per cent of babies die in that situation.’’
After Ms Samson had given birth to Molly they were far from being out of the woods.
The next few minutes must have seemed like an eternity for Ms Samson and her family, and she recalls the moment she knew that Molly was okay.
‘‘The nurse saved her. They were checking Molly when the nurse said she could feel a heartbeat,’’ Ms Samson said.
‘‘She then breathed by herself for 13 hours. We were in the hospital for four more months until they were happy she had put on enough weight.
‘‘At the time my son Tom was four, he came and sat with her every day for four months waiting for her to grow and come home.
‘‘It was quite traumatic for him, but he doesn’t remember a lot of that now.
‘‘But Molly really did defy the odds, she had nothing wrong, she didn’t get an infection, all of her organs were working and her brain function was good.’’
Eventually the family returned to Benalla with Molly.
‘‘When she was little her size could be an issue. But Benalla Health was amazing. They would come to my house to check on her.
‘‘She still had a very low weight, then she developed kidney stones and she couldn’t breast feed, it was just too tiring.
‘‘Even now she’s not a big eater. She’s now nearly six and she only weighs 14kilos.
‘‘But she’s a tiny little whippet with a big attitude, she has a lot of sass, and nothing holds her back.’’
— Simon Ruppert