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Baby Avitaj's Life-Saving Flight

After a blissful nine months of eagerly awaiting to become a Dad, Dilpreet’s life suddenly turned upside down when the doctor warned him he may lose both his wife and baby.

An emergency caesarian at Wellington Hospital brought baby Avitaj into the world while Dad waited nervously for the news. “All I know is I heard the first cries of the baby. I was sitting next to my wife and we were both very happy. I was like, 'Oh he’s alive!' We were told that he might not be.” 

With Mum, Harchand, in recovery post-operation, the situation turned suddenly. It became clear something was wrong with their newborn when the medical team began working on him.

The right side of Avitaj’s heart was growing bigger than the left because blood was being pumped straight back into the heart through the liver; a birth condition known as large congenital AV malformation associated with high output cardiac failure. 

Things were unravelling very quickly as Wellington Hospital did not have the neonatal specialist needed to operate on baby Avitaj - the only option was to airlift him to Starship Hospital in Auckland as soon as possible. This didn't come without risk however, as surgeons told Dilpreet there was a 10% chance of his baby surviving the flight. He had to prepare for the worst. 

Dad and baby were taken to the Life Flight base at midnight while Mum was cared for in Wellington Hospital. From there, they were flown to Auckland in Life Flight’s Air Ambulance Plane while Dilpreet watched over his son anxiously the entire time - fighting the battle alongside him. “That was just an hour-long flight, but for me it was second by second.” Dilpreet knew how critical the flight was to his son’s survival.  

They got to Starship Hospital just in time, where Avitaj was taken straight in for life-saving surgery.  

 

“I was very lucky to have been in Wellington, because without that flight it’s obvious that my son would have not survived.” – Dilpreet, Avitaj's Dad

Three surgeries later, Dilpreet, Harchand and baby Avitaj returned to their home in Kapiti. Thanks to you, Avitaj is now a happy, bouncing baby, turning one in July.  

The family are very close after their shaky start and are extremely aware of how precious life is. Dilpreet says, “This whole experience taught me a lot about what life is. You never know what can happen. We were very happy those nine months. We decorated Avitaj’s room and all those things. But little did we know that we won’t be using those things for another two months, that we would be in hospital. We’d even booked the photographer for the newborn shoot. You just can’t take life for granted. You have to live in each and every moment.” 

Thank you for your generous support which made Avitaj’s life-saving flight possible.   

 

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The whole family together, healthy and happy, after an extremely rough start.

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