Brave baby Jax laying on a hospital bed

Brave baby Jax determined to beat the odds

Time and time again, baby Jax has fought to be here in his parents’ arms.

Time and time again, baby Jax has fought to be here in his parents’ arms.

From emergency surgery within his first day of life to surviving cardiac arrest and 16 minutes of CPR at eight weeks old during a trip to the hairdressers, Renee and Marcus’s “brave little soldier” has continued to beat the odds.

Renee said Jax’s “lucky stars aligned” that fateful day, from her decision to head out instead of staying home alone to the specialist ambulance that happened to be just a few minutes away.

“He had an episode where he went into respiratory arrest, followed by cardiac arrest and stopped breathing.

“We had two hairdressers and one of the ladies that was at the hairdresser getting her hair done jump in and perform, ed CPR on him,” she said. “He wouldn’t be alive without them. I will never be able to thank these people enough.

“I just remember everyone saying to me ‘you must have the most amazing hairdressers’.

“Everyone in the PICU ward upstairs said that … anyone who has had what Jax had outside of the hospital, generally the survival rate is really low.”

Brave Baby Jax and Mum pictures at the RCH Melbourne, surrounded by bright colourful baby toys

That day also brought Jax, now five-months old, to the team at the Royal Children’s Hospital – something Renee is forever grateful for.

It was here that a link between Jax’s condition at birth – he underwent emergency surgery to repair his oesophagus, which “didn’t go anywhere” – and the incident at the hairdressers was found.

“The respiratory team that we have here again have just left no stone unturned,” she said. “They have pretty much done every test you can think of. They found out his airway had severe Tracheomalacia, which is a condition of his (oesophagus), which not a lot of people are aware of. His airway is very, very floppy.”

But Renee said the “support and tools” from the hospital had been incredible, from the counselling services available for parents to the team’s insistence that his parents should never hesitate to bring Jax back, day or night, if they are ever concerned.

“We’ve just got this amazing network of people working with us now whether it be physiotherapists, dietitians, speech. Until you’re in this situation, you don’t know how good it (RCH) is.

“We have a phenomenal surgical team that’s been overseeing Jax as well. I think they’re probably some of the best surgeons in Australia. He is one lucky kid.”

And it’s thanks to that team that Jax – having undergone a major abdominal surgery they hope will help with his breathing difficulties – can now go home.

“He’s such a trooper,” Renee said. “I cannot speak highly enough of the hospital. We’re just so lucky.”

Originally published in the Herald Sun, Sunday, 10th, March, 2023
Words: Sarah Booth
Pictures: Mark Stewart

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