Saved ‘by strength of a mother’s love’

A des­per­ately ill mother made a ‘mirac­u­lous’ re­cov­ery af­ter her fail­ing heart started beat­ing again when her baby son was placed next to her hos­pi­tal bed.

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - ALISON STACEY re­ports

IT was the mo­ment a baby helped mend his mother’s bro­ken heart. New mum Holli Che­ung, 36, was fight­ing for her life in hos­pi­tal af­ter be­ing struck down by a rare virus, my­ocardi­tis.

The Bucks mum had suf­fered a car­diac ar­rest and nurses per­formed CPR for 45 min­utes as they bat­tled to save her life.

Holli was put on a ma­chine which took over her heart and lung func­tions and helped it beat. As she bat­tled to stay alive, medics con­sid­ered giv­ing her a heart trans­plant.

But when hus­band Ja­son left their three­month-old son Jor­dan sleep­ing next to des­per­ately ill Holli, some­thing mag­i­cal hap­pened – her heart be­gan beat­ing in­de­pen­dently again.

“I don’t know whether it was a mir­a­cle, but some of the nurses cer­tainly thought it was,” said the now re­cov­ered mum, who works as a mar­ket­ing manager.

“Other peo­ple say it was the strength of a mother’s love, but I know Jor­dan be­came my sole rea­son to get bet­ter.

“I knew I had to take steps, how­ever lit­tle they were, to get bet­ter.”

It was on New Year’s Day that Holli vis­ited her doc­tor af­ter faint­ing at home in Ayles­bury. She was re­as­sured she was just tired af­ter sleep­less nights from look­ing af­ter her then three-month-old baby boy.

“I was ad­vised to go home to rest,” re­calls Holli. “Just an hour later, as I held my baby on my lap, I passed out and Jor­dan rolled off my lap on to the floor.

“The next thing I knew I was sur­rounded by paramedics along with my hus­band Ja­son and was on a stretcher on my way to hos­pi­tal.”

Holli woke hours later to dis­cover she had been trans­ferredt f df from h her home, in Ayles­bury, to the Queen El­iz­a­beth Hos­pi­tal, in Birm­ing­ham, and was suf­fer­ing ma­jor heart fail­ure. It had been caused by the crip­pling virus, my­ocardi­tis, which had at­tacked her body.

Af­ter she suf­fered a car­diac ar­rest at the hos­pi­tal doc­tors used the spe­cial­ist ma­chine to take over the func­tion of her heart and lungs.

“I felt like I was in a dream and ev­ery­thing was just a blur,” said Holli.

“I have lit­tle flash­backs and I can re­mem­ber my fam­ily com­ing in to hold my arms.

“Af­ter a few days I woke up and asked for a pen so I could write things down to com­mu­ni­cate, as I couldn’t speak.

“It was ter­ri­fy­ing. I couldn’t be­lieve this was my life.

“Be­ing away from my son was gut-wrench­ing. Be­fore, I had been there for him 24/7 and I had been breast­feed­ing him.

“Not be­ing able to pick him up, soothe him, change him or feed him was like a pain I can’t de­scribe.

“To help me, fam­ily and friends printed pho­tos of Jor­dan and put posters up all over my room. It be­came like a shrine and we all started to call the room, the ‘Jor­dan Suite’.”

As doc­tors grew more con­cerned that Holli’s heart would never re­cover, they dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity of a heart trans­plant.

Af­ter ten days on the ma­chine, a donor team came to talk through her op­tions and even put the mum on a trans­plant list as a pre­cau­tion.

Then, in a bid to lift her spir­its,i it babybb Jor­danJ d was brought in to the unit and was al­lowed to sleep along­side his mum for a cou­ple of hours.

That night her heart mirac­u­lously started to beat again.

“I think that for what­ever rea­son he woke up my heart,’’ she said.

“I have no idea what hap­pened that night when Jor­dan slept be­side me. All I know is that when the doc­tors and con­sul­tants came on their ward rounds the next day, they were as­ton­ished to see my heart beat­ing.

“Af­ter that night, slowly but surely, my heart got a lit­tle stronger and I started to re­cover.”

Af­ter two weeks the heart ma­chine was re­moved and the or­gan was strong enough to func­tion on its own again.

“My baby saved me, there’s no doubt about that,’’ said Holli.

“He kept me fight­ing and he made me stronger and determined to get bet­ter and he helped me re­cover.”

Now, three months af­ter leav­ing the hos­pi­tal, Holli is rais­ing money for the Queen El­iz­a­beth Hos­pi­tal.

She said: “I, along­side fam­ily, friends and staff at the QE, will take part in the Birm­ing­ham Color Run to raise money for the hos­pi­tal’s crit­i­cal care unit where I was treated.

“With­out the great staff at the QE, my hus­band, my fam­ily and my dar­ling baby, I wouldn’t be here to­day.

“This is my way of thank­ing each and ev­ery one of them – be­cause I owe them my life.”

The Color Run takes place on Au­gust 15 in the Birm­ing­ham NEC. To spon­sor Holli and her team visit www.just­giv­ing.com/Hol­liChe­ung.

I don’t know whether it was a mir­a­cle, but some of the nurses cer­tainly thought it was”

Pho­tos from BPM Me­dia

LIT­TLE SAVIOUR: Holli Che­ung with son Jor­dan and hus­band Ja­son at home in Ayles­bury; (left) Holli in hos­pi­tal with Jor­dan work­ing his magic

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