IT WAS a Father's Day to remember for Warrick Maher and his family, but for very different reasons than they'd imagined.
Mr Maher, 28, was supposed to have laced up for the Maroochydore Swans in the Sunshine Coast Rugby League Division One grand final against Noosa Pirates.
But his third child, son Edward, had other plans.
Edward was born prematurely on Saturday, September 2 at just 26 weeks.
Warrick's partner, Haylee Spreadborough, had been in hospital, after her waters broke about a week before.
They'd managed to delay Edward's arrival by about a week, but on Saturday the little man decided it was time to come out.
Warrick had taken their other two kchildren, Malcolm, 3, and Chloe, 2, to South Bank for a break when he received the call to get back to the Royal Brisbane Women's and Children's Hospital.
Rushing back, he made it just in time for Haylee's caesarian-section and the birth of their little fighter.
Edward was on assisted breathing for only one day, before being moved onto a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) ventilator, which keeps his airways open, allowing him to breathe for himself.
"I'm so proud," Haylee said.
"When I walked in and saw him on the CPAP I was just so happy.
"It's a good sign, absolutely, for his age."
Warrick said it had been a tough phone call to make to the coach to let him know he was unavailable for the game, but it was a sacrifice he had to make.
"Family comes first," he said.
He managed to get back up to the Coast to watch from the sideline, but the carpenter said there was no other option, given how sudden Edward's birth had been.
Warrick said it was "sad to see" Edward in his humidicrib, but it was the best place for him.
"They haven't found any health problems with him yet," Warrick said.
Haylee is still recovering from surgery and Warrick said it was likely to be at least eight weeks before Edward could be transferred back to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
She said she'd tried to tell doctors that Edward was trying to birth, but it took some time before medical staff listened to her and checked.
They soon realised he was on his way and she was quickly rushed to the operating theatre.
"I'm just glad it didn't end up in a cord prolapse, that could've been fatal," Haylee said.
"It wasn't a nice start to our journey.
"I'm just glad he's okay."
She said Chloe and Malcolm were "really excited" about their little brother's arrival and they'd met him for the first time this weekend.
Haylee thanked friends and family who'd offered so much help as assistance following Edward's early arrival.
"It's been really overwhelming how kind everyone's been," she said.