Little Ava defies odds to become a Mater miracle

Ava Riddle was born 15 weeks premature.
Ava Riddle was born 15 weeks premature. Photo Contributed

WHEN Toowoomba mum, Leticia Chard, fell pregnant she and her partner Kevin had no idea that she would be rushed to an emergency department in Brisbane just 25 weeks into her pregnancy.

The first-time mum explained that her pregnancy seemed to be perfect until she experienced excruciating pains in her abdomen and was admitted to her nearest emergency department where she was confirmed to be in premature labour.

Ms Chard was put in an ambulance and was urgently transported to Mater Mothers' Hospital in South Brisbane to receive expert care for her high risk pregnancy.

She said the situation felt surreal and at that point she had no idea what lay ahead.

"My partner Kevin and I were completely oblivious to what was happening because it was our first child and I don't think we completely understood that a premature birth could be potentially life-threatening for our baby," she said.

"The moment I stepped out of the ambulance and set foot on the ground at Mater Mothers' Hospital, my water broke and I was sent straight to birth suites."

Ava today.
Ava today.

"The drip made me feel like my blood was on fire but I knew I had to do whatever it took to look after my baby," she said.

"The obstetrician and paediatrician came in to see me and explained the risks and survival rates of premature births.

"That's when I thought-wow this is real. I put my life and my baby's life in the hands of the clinical staff at Mater

"Mothers' Hospital and throughout the whole journey I felt confident that I was receiving the best possible care."

Ava Riddle was born via caesarean section at 25 weeks gestation on July 22, 2013 weighing a mere 710 grams.

"I lost a lot of blood during the delivery because she was stuck and my placenta had shattered. Ava came out unresponsive," Ms Chard said.

Ava was immediately taken to Mater's Neonatal Critical Care Unit where she spent the next 105 days in hospital.

"I didn't get to hold Ava until she was two weeks old - it was heart breaking" Mrs Chard said..

During her time in hospital Ava was on ventilation and had two blood transfusions.

"In hospital we had so much support, so it was scary when we took her home as she was still on oxygen and we didn't have the medical staff around to look after her," Mrs Chard said.

In December 2014 - almost a year and a half later - Ava was able to stop relying on her ventilator for oxygen supply and is now a happy, healthy and thriving little girl.

"She's been through so much and we're so proud of how far she has come. She started walking in February and loves reading books. If you didn't know what she had been through, you would think she's always been a healthy girl," Ms Chard said.

You can help thousands of babies like Ava by supporting this year's IGA Mater Little Miracles Easter Appeal. 

Mater Little Miracles helps fund research projects, equipment and patient support programs for seriously ill and premature babies and their families treated at Mater.

This Easter, purchase any Miracle Max merchandise from participating IGA and Bendigo Bank stores.

Purchase a Miracle Max plush toy and enter the colouring-in competition to win a $200 Bendigo Piggy Bank Passbook Account and one of the many Miracle Max gift hampers.

You can also donate by texting 'MLM' to 13TEXT.

Help the IGA Mater Little Miracles Easter Appeal raise $1 million this year to make little miracles happen. Visit

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