A new mum is in an induced coma fighting for her life after falling victim to the flu epidemic sweeping the country.
Heartbreakingly Sarah Hawthorn, 33, of Cobram is unaware she and her husband Rob are now parents to “the most perfect little baby boy”.
She was in a “critical condition” in the Alfred Hospital on Tuesday with confirmed Influenza A, pneumonia and other serious medical complications.
“At present she is fully machine supported and literally fighting for her life,” her sister-in-law Rachael Holt stated.
Sarah was rushed to Wangaratta hospital on August 28 where her precious baby had to be delivered six weeks early to give the mother the best chance of survival.
She has been in an induced coma in Melbourne since and has yet to meet or hold her son.
In a post on the initial gofundme page, Sarah’s Fight For Motherhood, Ms Holt said friends and family were hoping and praying for the best possible outcome.
She said the fundraising was to help support Sarah, Rob and baby “Bomber Hawk” who won’t be named until his mum can announce it.
“As you can imagine the cost of living 270 kilometres away from home, maintaining a bedside vigil by your wife in ICU and also caring for a newborn is quickly taking its toll,” Ms Holt wrote.
“The funds raised will be used to help pay for travel and accommodation, living expenses and ongoing medical expenses as Sarah will have a long rehabilitation once she makes it through.”
A close friend of the family, Rebecca Clemson, said in addition to helping raise funds for the family, Sarah’s shocking story highlighted the high risk of flu for expecting mothers.
“Sarah has a perfect little baby boy that she's yet to even meet,” she wrote in a letter to Fairfax.
Ms Holt also stated the family was still coming to grips with how a young, healthy mother-to-be went from preparing to celebrate her baby shower to fighting for her life.
She wrote that Sarah was a fit, healthy 33-year-old who got the flu – “a cold some would say”.
“She took every vitamin under the sun and did everything by the book during her pregnancy,” she stated.
“As the week progressed Sarah attended the doctors multiple times only to be sent home.”
Ms Holt described how over the next 10 days Sarah’s condition worsened to the point where she went to hospital but was “sent home and told to rest”.
What happened next is “incomprehensible”.
“Her baby boy … has never had the chance to lay with his mum, snuggle into her chest or hear her infectious laugh,” Ms Holt wrote.