Mum doesn't know she has given birth
GIVING birth for the very first time is an incredibly special moment - but for Sarah Hawthorn - she's completely unaware that she is now the mother to a beautiful baby boy.
An otherwise fit and healthy woman, her son was born five weeks premature during an emergency birth on August 28, and her worried husband, Robert, is maintaining a bedside vigil at The Alfred hospital.
The 33-year-old, from regional Victoria, was struck down by the influenza epidemic gripping the nation in the late stages of her pregnancy.
Sarah is an induced coma and remains in a critical condition in Melbourne's Alfred Hospital.
When she began to feel unwell, she initially went to her local doctor but her family said she was sent home several times.
Her family is trying to raise $20,000 for medical and travel expenses.
"During the later stages of Sarah's pregnancy she caught the flu," her sister-in-law, Rachael Holt, wrote on the gofundme page.
"As a result her gorgeous boy arrived earlier than planned and following his birth Sarah was, and remains, in a critical condition in an induced coma.
"Funds raised will be used to meet the financial needs of Sarah and her family at this time such as travel, accommodation, living and ongoing medical expenses."
So far, Sarah's family has almost raised $14,000.
Her sister-in-law said her son won't be named until his mum wakes from her coma.
Sarah's case follows the death of eight-year-old Melbourne girl Rosie Brealey from the flu last week.
Her father Christian Brealey said his "beautiful princess" died on Friday after going into cardiac arrest. He urged parents to immunise their children in a heartbreaking plea.
Rosie's tragic death from the flu follows that of 30-year-old father Ben Ihlow on Father's Day.
Health Minister Jill Hennessy said Victoria had endured a "horror" flu season, with more than 13,000 cases of influenza recorded in Victoria during the past few months and more than 105,000 cases nationally.