By Astha Gupta
A teenage mum who graduated school at 36 weeks pregnant celebrated her school prom with a formal in hospital at her sick son’s bedside.
Brodee Hampton is believed to be the youngest mum in Australia with a baby with Down’s Syndrome after giving birth to Elijah on October 31 last year aged 17.
Elijah needed surgery for a blockage in his bowel days after birth and when it was clear that Brodee would not leave him alone in NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) to attend her school formal, her mum Jodie brought the celebrations to her.
Single mum Brodee, now 18, from Wollongong, New South Wales, has now released adorable images of her marking her prom with her tiny date.
She said: “Elijah was only 11 days old on the day of my formal.
“He had surgery at three days old and I couldn’t bear to leave him alone in hospital while I went to party even though like any other teenager I wanted to be with my friends and celebrate.
“My Mum then told me to take a short break and get some photos done on the beach in a bridesmaid’s gown I had.
“My sister did my hair and make-up and drove me to the beach.
“On our way back, my sister pulled up across the road from the hospital and said ‘let’s go see our boy’.
“I was nervous as I was feeling overdressed but I wanted to see my son, so I went along.
“As soon as I reached NICU, I saw Mum holding Elijah wearing a tux and a chocolate rose. It was such an emotional time that my tears wouldn’t stop.
“My son was my date for a very special day. I couldn’t believe my formal had come to the NICU for me.
“We took pictures with the nurses and Elijah, making it a most memorable day.”
Brodee’s mum Jodie saw the teen being bullied throughout her last year of school as she faced taunts from other kids for falling pregnant so long.
The 18-year-old had almost given up and stopped going to school for two months but Jodie begged her to continue.
Brodee found out a month after her 17th birthday that she was pregnant. She and her partner spilt soon after but she decided to have the baby on her own.
At her 21 week scan, she was told her son would be born with Down’s Syndrome and doctors advised her to have a termination, but she refused.
Elijah was born at 38 weeks, staying in hospital for 22 days including over the day of Brodee’s formal on November 11.
Now mum and bub are back home and Brodee one day plans to work with children with disabilities in honour of her son.
The full time mum said: “I’m glad I pushed through and was able to graduate based on the results of my half-yearly at the same time as my other classmates after a discussion with the Board of Education.
“I was 36 weeks pregnant on the day of my graduation ceremony and it was a special moment to hear my name called on stage.
“Ever since I was eight-year-old I wanted to be a mum, but I hadn’t expected it to happen this early.
“I cried myself to sleep for two weeks but as soon as I saw my baby’s heart beating on the ultrasound screen my worries went away.
“At 21 weeks I was told my son would be born with Down Syndrome. Doctors said I could be the youngest mum to have a baby with the condition.
“They advised termination. But even the thought made me sick. I couldn’t breathe.
“My little boy did not deserve to die just for being a little different. I was going to give him the best life possible.
“I joined a Facebook group so I could openly share my sorrows and joys with other young mums and it made my journey a lot easier.”
To follow Brodee and Elijah’s journey: go to https://www.facebook.com/EjStory/