‘Our Little Soldier’- Sarah’s Story

My husband Dave and I found out at our 20 week scan that we were having a boy. We did not anticipate the news that would follow. The sonogram showed that our baby had a heart defect but without further scans they could not see what. Several days later just after Christmas 2009 we were invited back to hospital for further scans which revealed our baby boy had hypoplastic left heart syndrome. We were ushered into a side room and advised to abort. We decided to get further information from the Evelina Children’s hospital London.

The consultant was very thorough and reassured us that our baby had 80% chance of survival and told us many children live long and happy lives but would need 3 or more open heart surgeries to help them survive.

On the 22nd April our baby boy was born at St Thomas’ Hospital, London. He was taken straight to special care then transferred next door to the Evelina. We named him Joshua because he was a fighter!

4 days after Joshua was born he underwent his 1st open heart surgery. He did amazingly and recovered well. Joshua had his chest closed 5 days later after having kidney dialysis to help his organs recover. He was moved to the ward on day 8 and Home just 14 days after he was born!

Joshua thrived and gained weight well. At his 6 week review the consultant found a large leak on his tricuspid valve and Joshua was admitted to hospital for a further 7 days to get it under control. In this time Joshua smiled for the first time and started doing everything a normal baby did.

When Joshua was 10 weeks old he woke one morning blue and lifeless. He wouldn’t feed and slept constantly. Alarm bells rang and we took him straight to hospital to be checked. The doctors assured us it was nothing serious and probably a bug. I knew as his mother it was far worse! The retrieval team from the Evelina picked him up and put Joshua straight onto life support, he was seriously poorly.

Joshua’s tricuspid valve had ruptured and he was in serious heart failure. 3 days later the doctors and surgeons worked tirelessly to repair the damage. It was an overall success. Unfortunately it was short lived as he repair came undone the following day. Joshua was rushed to theatre for his 3rd open heart surgery which was also a success. Our shock came just 3 days later when we were called early at the Ronald McDonald house and told to come straight in. My heart nearly broke at that moment however we did not know at this point to severity of his condition.

After reaching Joshua were sat down by the doctors and told Joshua was not going to survive. His organs were giving up and his little foot and hand had gone black from the lack of oxygen pumping round his body. We got him christened and family arrived through the day to join us. At 4.30 we said our goodbyes and let our little soldier go in our arms.

11 weeks we had Joshua – it was short but we made as many memories as we could.

Since Joshua passed away, 8 years ago this month, we have raised over £20,000 for various charities ( Little Hearts Matter, ECHO & the Evelina). I have skydived twice, done various runs including a half marathon, 86 mile bike ride, Balls and various other activities. We will never stop celebrating his life and raising money in his memory.



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    If you are booking your summer holiday you might like to look at our Travel and Trips booklet to help with your planning. It is full of tips and ideas for how you can make sure you have a great time but also keep your heart warrior safe. www.lhm.org.uk/information/lifestyle-information/travel-and-trips/ ... See MoreSee Less

    18 hours ago  ·  

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    Children with half a working heart catch colds and coughs just like other children of the same age but of course when you already have a reduced energy level and less oxygen travelling around your body it can knock the children for six. Parents may notice that their child is a bit more cyanosed, a bit bluer, and that they may be a bit more breathless than normal. Keep the children well wrapped up and snug and warm, give them Calpol if their temperature is high, keep the fluids going, small amounts of nourishing food every couple of hours and lots of opportunity to sleep will all help a child recover. HOWEVER, if they have a high temperature for a couple of days or their breathlessness or colour becomes worse take them to the GP for a check-up. If the infection is Viral there will be no point in antibiotics but if the GP thinks antibiotics will help they will be prescribed. If you are worried at all always get your child checked by a doctor. ... See MoreSee Less

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