Outback dad celebrates Father’s Day with pint-sized Jack

A baby boy born weighing less than a tub of butter and born 13 weeks early will spend Father’s Day in hospital in the arms of proud father-of-four John Macfarlane – who says his youngest son is an “absolute blessing”.

Jack Macfarlane was born on 29 May, weighing just 472 grams, and is one of the smallest babies born at Mater Mothers’ Hospital in South Brisbane this year. 

Each week Mr Macfarlane drives six hours from his hometown of Roma, which is almost 500km from Brisbane, to visit his son in hospital.

Tiny Jack is being cared for around-the-clock by a specialist multidisciplinary clinical team at Mater Mothers’.

Mr Macfarlane, whose other children are Matthew, Jessica and Michaela, said this Father’s Day (3 September) would be an emotional day.

“Jack is an absolute blessing. Cuddling him and holding him will be one of the greatest gifts I will receive on the day,” said the 59-year-old DJ and local business owner.

Jack’s mum, Bridgette Macfarlane, 32, is looking forward to spending Father’s Day with “her boys”. She is staying close to the hospital, allowing her to spend time with Jack every day.

Mrs Macfarlane was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, a serious pregnancy condition that causes high blood pressure, leading to Jack’s early arrival.

“The blood flow through the umbilical cord to different parts of Jack’s body was decreasing – so the decision to deliver him was made by the doctors at Mater,” Mrs Macfarlane said.

“After I was transferred from another hospital to Mater, I was monitored as an inpatient for two weeks with daily scans for a week before his birth.”

Mrs Macfarlane described Jack as a “very strong and determined little boy”, after doctors gave him a 50 per cent of surviving due to being born so small.

“We are so proud of how far he has come and all the little hurdles he has had to overcome to get to where he is today,” she said.

“He has chronic neonatal lung disease but is making great progress every day.”

Mrs Macfarlane said while Jack’s arrival was a surprise, it was momentous for his grandfather, known as ‘Gra’, who met him for the first time soon after being born.

“Gra had a stroke a couple of weeks earlier and he was going into a nursing home once he returned back to Roma,” she said.

“He has also been struggling with his memory, so we wanted to make sure he had cuddles with Jack before anything happened or his condition got worse.”

Mater Director of Neonatology Dr Pita Birch said about 70 to 80 babies would join Jack in celebrating Father’s Day this year in the Neonatal Critical Care Unit.

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