CODY COOPER was born a fighter. Cody and his twin brother Nate decided to arrive nine weeks early in August 2014. Both born as strong and as healthy as a premature pair of boys could be, Mum Mel Cooper said things took a turn for the worst for Cody nearly a fortnight in.
"At 12-days-old Cody suffered a severe brain bleed. That affected both the left and the ride side of his brain.
"He effectively had a major stroke."
Mel said the doctors put the bleed down to Cody's prematurity.
"I guess the cells in his brain were underdeveloped and that led to having a stroke. He wasn't expected to survive that bleed because of the severity of it," the Morayfield mum said.
The family was rocked by the news. Mel and her husband Bradley had wanted a baby for so long - and now they had two - thanks to IVF treatments.
"We were going to become an instant family and we still did, but everything we imagined our family was going to be was turned upside down," she said. "We had to face the prospect that we may only take one baby home instead of two. It was completely devastating."
Cody started to have seizures. The hospital offered to baptize him.
"That told us they didn't expect him to survive. They wanted us there 24/7 in case something happened."
Cody did pull through. The tiny tot is a fighter, surviving a second brain injury shortly after being sent home for the first time.
Doctors didn't expect Cody to survive the second bout, but he had other plans.
"They told me he would live for 12 months," Mel said. "He's 15-months-old now and he's only getting stronger."
Cody has been diagnosed with severe quadriplegic cerebral palsy, vision impairment, and epilepsy. His brother Nate has progressed normally, and is already walking.
Mel has become a volunteer with Parents for Preterm Infants (PIPA), and with World Prematurity Day approaching on November 17, would like to let other parents know that they aren't alone.
"There is support out there. PIPA has volunteers that are in regular contact with the hospitals," she said. "At the time it feels like you're the only one who has gone through this.
"But I've been in contact with a mum who has been through a nearly identical experience."
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