One of the smallest babies born in Grafton
One of the smallest babies born in Grafton

Sophia arrives 15 weeks premature

GRAFTON’S smallest baby came into the world in the most dramatic – and speedy – way possible on Tuesday afternoon.

Weighing in at around 650 grams and only 20cm in length, the 15 weeks premature baby girl was delivered by the mum’s aunty on the back seat of a car making a frantic dash to Grafton Base Hospital.

The mother, Jasmine James, at age 16, delivered her first baby near the roundabout on Dobie Street at the back of the showground, as two ambulance vehicles converged on the scene.

Jasmine had been staying with her aunt, Mary Randall, at Toona Way in South Grafton, when she went into labour on Tuesday afternoon.

Ms Randall, Jasmine, the father Gary-Jack McGrady and with cousin Kayla Lyons behind the wheel, piled into the car to get Jasmine into hospital ASAP.

They knew almost straight away the baby was not going to wait.

“By the time we got to the top of Bimble Avenue the baby’s head was out,” Ms Randall said.

Ms Randall put in a call to the ambulance on her mobile to get some help. The ambulance put her through to hospital staff who gave her instructions on what to do.

Ms Randall said the first thing she had to do was swap places with Mr McGrady, who was sitting next to Jasmine on the back seat.

“He had to climb into the front seat, while I got in the back with Jasmine,” she said.

By the time they were crossing Grafton Bridge the baby was three quarters of the way out and they had just passed the first ambulance sent to help them.

“We’d just got past the roundabout at the back of the showground when the baby came out,” Ms Randall said.

“Because it was so small the whole sack came out and we were looking for a safety pin or something so we could break and wipe out its mouth so it could breathe.

“By the time the ambulance got to us, the baby was delivered.

“At the hospital they said it was the smallest baby they had ever had there.”

For ambulance paramedic Peter Clement the circumstances of the birth were all too familiar. He estimates he has to deliver a baby before the mum gets to hospital once a year and said his colleagues would probably have similar stories.

But it was the smallest baby he had ever seen.

“Her head was smaller than a tennis ball and she would only have been just over 600 grams,” he said.

“I did some resuscitation on her and by the time she was delivered into the care of hospital staff, she was pink and breathing.

“I think everyone at the hospital was cautiously optimistic.”

Later that night the air ambulance flew Jasmine and her new baby to the Mater Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.

The couple have named the baby Sophia Maryanne Lee McGrady.

Jasmine’s mother, Nicole Cook, who lives at Wooli, was at a friend’s house near the showground when she got the call the baby had come.

“By the time I got there the baby was out and in the ambulance and Jasmine was still on the back seat.

“‘Mum, it hurt.’ she screamed when she saw me. I thought, ‘hurt, what would you know about hurt?’”

Ms Cook said she and Jasmine had just returned from Newcastle because they had a scare the baby was going to come early.

“The doctors thought the baby was going to come early so they gave Jasmine some steroids to help its lungs develop,” she said.

Ms Randall said the steroids tipped the survival odds in Sophia’s favour.

“Without the steroids the odds on surviving are about 40 per cent. With the steroids she had a 60 per cent chance,” she said.

Although the hospital refused to comment about the condition of the baby, the family said it was ‘so far, so good’.

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