Payton Gilmore’s parents know just how lucky they that their little girl is with them and more or less back on track health wise five years after a very shaky start.
Born five weeks early, an x-ray after her birth revealed Payton’s small intestine was severely malformed and her situation was critical.
Payton’s mother Sharon told Daily Mail Australia that they were immediately rushed from Woollongong Hospital to Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney where the family was about to embark on a heart wrenching journey of survival.
The average baby in born with 150 centimeters of small intestine, and Payton had only 50 centimeters that was all broken into pieces.
At only three days old the little girl underwent surgery to try and save her life.
“We were taking it hour by hour,” Mrs Gilmour told DMA.
“We didn’t really understand the seriousness of the condition, it was obviously treatable because they were sending her in for an operation, but we didn’t know how critical it was.
“It was a real shock.”
Unable to eat, the doctors inserted a central line intravenous tube into a vein in Payton’s heart, as her stomach could take no food.
"We were in the Royal Hospital for Women for about 10 weeks and then she was transferred to Sydney Children’s Hospital," Mrs Gilmour said.
"About three months later she started doing some nasogastric feeding.
"It was a very specialised formula, a very light formula, for her belly that had never seen food before."
It was six months before Payton could finally removed the intravenous line and go home. At this time Mrs Gilmore introduced solids to the baby and Payton took it to everyone’s relief.
Payton’s condition will need monitoring for rest of her life, but she is developmentally and educationally perfect.
The Gilmores believe that it was love that helped their girl to heal so well.
"All we were able to do was cuddle her," she said.
"Cuddles and love, I really believe, helped heal her."
Payton’s story has been shared through the Hugs for Huggies initiative