‘A part of his small intestine was coiled like you peel an apple’
It is early 2019 and little Oliver Glover, born without a large portion of his small intestine, lies in one of the rooms in ward 9B at the Queensland Children's Hospital.
Down the hall is tiny Landon Loughran, a life-threatening bleed found on his brain at only a day old.
The two are just many of the thousands of children cared for in the state's only specialist paediatric hospital each year, with Ward 9B specifically for babies 12 months and younger.
Kelly Glover, 29, of Maudsland on the Gold Coast said Oliver, who arrived prematurely via emergency caesarean, was born with short gut syndrome.
He was only two hours old when he underwent his first lifesaving operation on January 7, 2019.
"A part of his small intestine was coiled like you peel an apple, and had flipped," she said.
"If it wasn't for (the surgery) … he wouldn't be here.
"And he had a lot of bile around him and in his stomach. They pumped out 70ml of bile."
Oliver only had about 30cm of small intestines - as opposed to the approximate 300cm he should have had - and was completely missing his ileum, or the last part of the small intestine that connects to the first part of the large intestine.
The ileum is needed to help digest food and absorb water and nutrients.
He was only able to be fed breastmilk via a nasogastric tube or orally via a syringe.
Vitamins and other nutrients were administered via an intravenous, or central, line placed in his chest.
Following two months at the Mater Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Oliver was transferred to the babies ward at the QCH on Stanley Street, Brisbane, where he spent a further six months before being allowed to go home.
The now 1-year-old will need to have the central line until he is about five, with the hope that his intestines adapt as he grows.
Mrs Glover said the emotional stress of having a sick child sometimes took its toll, including being apart from her husband Khyle, 36, and their oldest son, Chase, who is only about a year older than his brother.
"I had a teary night when I realised I hadn't put Chase to bed for three months," she said of Oliver's initial hospital stay.
"Before all this, Khyle and I were thinking we'd build a house, live out on acreage and just have a normal lifestyle, running amuck."
Landon's mum, Laicey Johnson, 28, describes Landon as her "cotton wool baby."
Ms Johnson's father has haemophilia - an inherited bleeding disorder where the blood does not clot properly.
"I'm a carrier because my dad has it," she said.
"Only girls become a carrier … but boys have a 50 per cent chance of getting it."
After spending his first two weeks in the Ipswich hospital in May 2019, Landon then spent a further 21 days at QCH.
Ms Johnson, of Browns Plains, also laments that part of having a baby born ill is the emotional toll, especially while her partner, Anthony Loughran, 26, was at work.
"Just seeing them jab him so many times to take his blood and test his levels, making sure the treatment is working for him," she said of Landon's early medical testing.
"I have been very angry. I don't like the fact I have to be here (at hospital) and he has to have the observations done every four hours.
"I'm not mad at Landon or anyone, I'm just frustrated."
Ms Johnson said those with haemophilia have to be extra cautious if they get injured.
"If your child bumps his head he's fine, but with Landon, we have to look for swelling or internal bleeding," she said.
After seeing what some other families were going through in the babies ward, Mrs Johnson said, despite what will be her now 1-year-old's son's lifelong challenge, she is "thankful Landon only has haemophilia."
Originally published as 'A part of his small intestine was coiled like you peel an apple'