Half hearted

My baby’s bro­ken heart is full of love!

Chat - - True-Life - By Lau­ren Masters, 23, from Yeovil

We had stream­ers, bal­loons, cakes, and a packed room, full of ex­cited friends and fam­ily all wait­ing for us.

‘How are we go­ing to tell them?’ I said to my then part­ner Ge­orge, feel­ing numb.

Preg­nant with my first baby, we’d just been to my 20-week scan.

And we’d planned a party to un­veil the sex.

But doc­tors found a prob­lem with our baby’s heart and I’d need more tests.

Still, we car­ried on with the party and cut a blue cake to an­nounce we were hav­ing a boy.

At Southamp­ton Gen­eral Hospi­tal the very next day, tests showed our lit­tle boy had hy­poplas­tic left heart syn­drome.

The left lower pump­ing cham­ber of his heart hadn’t de­vel­oped prop­erly and was much smaller than usual.

‘His heart isn’t able to pump blood around the body prop­erly,’ a doc­tor said.

Doc­tors weren’t he’d sur­vive, so we were of­fered a ter­mi­na­tion. ‘No way,’ I said. And we de­cided to name him Se­bas­tian.

On 23 De­cem­ber 2015, Se­bas­tian ar­rived kick­ing and scream­ing!

At 7lb 12oz he was just per­fect.

He had a heart line put in for med­i­ca­tion to stop him go­ing into car­diac ar­rest, for two weeks, he re­mained sta­ble.

At 2 weeks, he had open-heart surgery, to widen his aorta and to insert a stent.

At 4 months old, dur­ing a sec­ond op to re­pair his heart, there were com­pli­ca­tions.

‘You need to pre­pare for the worst,’ a doc­tor warned me. I was to­tally dev­as­tated.

Af­ter surgery, Seb needed sev­eral blood trans­fu­sions but, thank­fully, he started to sta­bilise and, af­ter a week, he was moved to a ward.

And then he was al­lowed home. Amaz­ing!

But it was bit­ter­sweet, as the same day, an­other fam­ily we’d got to know lost their lit­tle boy.

He’d been just two weeks older than Se­bas­tian.

It brought home how lucky we were to still have our boy.

Away from the ward, Ge­orge and I got used to be­ing par­ents.

But one week­end Seb slept for hours, which wasn’t like him. So I took him to the hospi­tal. Af­ter see­ing a car­di­ol­o­gist, we were told Seb’s heart was fail­ing. ‘This can’t hap­pen!’ I cried. His aorta had twisted and he needed a pro­ce­dure to fix it.

It didn’t help much, though,

and nei­ther did a sec­ond pro­ce­dure. ‘He needs more surgery,’ a doc­tor said. By now, it was nearly Seb’s first birth­day. ‘Let him cel­e­brate it be­fore the op,’ I begged. We took Seb home and made a fuss of him with bal­loons, presents and singing songs. By now, Ge­orge and I had grown apart, split up. But we made Seb our pri­or­ity.

This Jan­uary, Seb had an­other op­er­a­tion to try to fix his heart.

Af­ter­wards, he fought hard and got stronger.

A week and a half on, he was al­lowed home.

He wasn’t out of the woods yet, though.

Shortly af­ter­wards, he was back in hospi­tal af­ter con­tract­ing a cold.

With his im­mune sys­tem so weak, it was deadly. But he was a born fighter. Be­fore we knew it, he was back home again. Seb will be 2 this year. His fu­ture is un­cer­tain but we know he’ll need more heart surgery.

I have to pinch my­self to be­lieve how far he’s come.

He’s such a happy boy, and his pre­cious smile can melt even the hard­est of hearts.

He might only have half a ticker, but it’s full to the brim with love…

A doc­tor warned us to pre­pare for the worst…

Pre­cious smile My cheeky lit­tle chap’s come so far

Just af­ter he was born Now, al­ways so happy!

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