In Charity, The Nursery

As you’ll all know, our wonderful colleague and friend, Rachael Holland, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Eva, earlier this year. Please read her story below to see why she is raising money for The Wallace & Gromit Appeal at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

A few months ago, we attended an appointment back in May due to Eva’s poor weight gain. We thought she had a cows milk allergy. (After reading lots into this her symptoms ticked all the boxes).
After a discussion about giving us a new appropriate formula to try, a consultant wanted to give her one last ‘check over’. On doing so, immediately found a loud heart murmur. It’s safe to say this information shocked & broke us and we were in no way prepared for what was next to come.
We were asked to go to Bristol children’s hospital the same day where we were informed that she’d likely need Open heart surgery. The last thing we expected to hear when leaving the house that day. Eva was admitted that day with Heart Failure.
Eva was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease. She had a large Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) which she would have been born with but would usually be picked up on during pregnancy scans. Unfortunately this was not the case, neither was it found at the newborn checks, health visitor appointments or the 8week checks.
The next two weeks in hospital consisted of improving Eva’s weight and getting her medically fit enough for surgery.  There were frequent feeding battles, vomiting, several changes to her milk and being trained on tube feeding. Eva also caught a cold which meant led to her needing assistance with oxygen.
After a long wait the surgery date finally arrived and her open heart surgery went to plan. I will never be able to erase the image of our baby in intensive care on ventilator and full of tubes/drains
from my mind. However, the speed in which she bounced back from this was incredible and after just 3 nights in intensive care she was back up on the ward beginning her recovery.
6 days post surgery she was discharged and we were finally allowed home and we’re reunited after what had been nearly a month!
Unfortunately our follow up appointment a fortnight later showed an increase in fluid around her heart and she was re-admitted and underwent another procedure to drain the fluid.
We are home again, hopefully for good this time. Eva is doing well and gaining weight. Time to make up for lost precious family time and try to adapt to a new normal.
‘Mothers Instinct’ –  Although I wasn’t sure what it was I’m so glad I expressed my concerns/thoughts. Mums out their please don’t ignore your maternal instincts!
Upon learning more about congenital heart disease, Eva displayed many signs before her diagnosis that we were just unaware of and weren’t checked/ruled out by professionals before the referral. So please ‘Think HEART’
We would like to Thank all our friends, family and colleagues for all their support.
Most importantly a huge Thank You to Bristol Children’s Hospital – The incredible nurses and doctors on Dolphin ward and in Seahorse intensive care unit for their care and expertise. Without you we wouldn’t have our precious baby girl.
Me & Matt will be taking part in a sky dive in coming months which we will book/pay for. Any sponsors/donations will go to Bristol children’s hospital. The seahorse intensive care unit and dolphin ward were just incredible. Please donate what you can.
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