Miracle baby ready to start school
A LITTLE miracle will walk through the gates of Warwick West State School next week.
After battling her way into the world an amazing 14 weeks early, baby Chloe Koch defied all-odds and fought for survival.
Four years later, Chloe is now ready to start the next chapter of her life and will next week begin Prep.
Due to her earlier-than-anticipated arrival into the world, there were many times Chloe's parents, Paul and Colleen, thought their daughter would not make it to her first birthday, let alone her first day at school.
Chloe's mother developed life-threatening pre-eclampsia in the 26th week of her pregnancy and was flown to Brisbane for an emergency caesarean.
Mrs Koch - who still tears up recalling the day - said being told her baby would have to be delivered so early was frightening but she knew both of them could die if it wasn't done.
On Mother's Day, 2007, tiny Chloe was brought into the world, weighing a mere 727g, just over one-fifth of the average weight of a newborn baby.
Seeing her daughter for the first time was a confronting experience for a shaken Mrs Koch, who said seeing Chloe made her realise how serious the situation was.
"It was very scary and when she was first born there were all these feelings of 'is she going to be all right?'," she said.
Baby Chloe spent the first 139 days of her life in hospital and was forced to endure blood transfusions and laser eye treatments.
Mrs Koch said the experience, albeit devastating, changed the way she saw her children.
"You look at things differently and there are times when you say 'why me?' and 'what if things were different'," Mrs Koch said.
"But at the end of the day, she is here and she is Chloe and that's all that matters."
Although the first few months of her life were a battle for survival, there is no evidence of that now.
The energetic four-year-old looks like any of her soon-to-be classmates and is able to do anything other kids her age can do.
Big brother Ben, 10, said he couldn't wait to have the little sister he doted on walk through the school gates with him.
"School will be better when she goes and I will want to go more," he said.
Clearly a protective brother, Ben said he planned to keep a watchful eye on his little sister in the schoolyard.
Chloe has never been to kindergarten or pre-school and although she likes to make people think she is shy, Mrs Koch was confident her daughter would do well at school this year.
"She is looking forward to it and I think she will be fine once she gets in there," she said. "When we need to pick Ben up she goes into the school and every time we drive past we talk about it."
First day jitters could be worse for mum than daughter, with Mrs Koch admitting it was going to be a hard day when she left her daughter at school. "I have to be strong for her because if she sees me upset, she will get upset."
Chloe entered the world at 26 weeks gestation - 14 weeks early - and weighed just 727grams.