Just look at you now!


The Chronicle - - Front Page - By KATIE DICK­IN­SON Reporter katie.dick­in­son@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @KatieJDick­in­son

BORN with a “back to front” heart, this bun­dle of joy’s par­ents feared they would lose their per­fect son just hours af­ter bring­ing him into the world.

There were tears of hap­pi­ness when An­to­nia Mul­hall and Scott Roth­well found out they were go­ing to have their first child to­gether.

And when Julius was born on May 15 at the Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal of North Durham, he seemed like a per­fectly healthy baby.

But An­to­nia, of Lan­g­ley Moor, County Durham, started to worry when she no­ticed her new son’s hands looked pur­ple and the area around his nails was black.

“Hav­ing a baby was some­thing we spoke about but couldn’t re­ally be­lieve it would hap­pen. Af­ter count­less scans we opted to have a planned C-sec­tion,” said An­to­nia, 37.

“When I saw his colour I men­tioned it to a nurse, but it can take a little while for oxy­gen to reach the hands and feet so we didn’t think too much of it at first.

“But when they were check­ing him over to see if we could go home, his SATS read­ings were ex­tremely low.”

Julius was taken to New­cas­tle’s Royal Victoria In­fir­mary for fur­ther tests, where doc­tors di­ag­nosed him with trans­po­si­tion of the great ar­ter­ies – a rare con­di­tion which af­fects be­tween two and three ba­bies in ev­ery 10,000.

The de­fect oc­curs when the two main ar­ter­ies go­ing out of the heart – the pul­monary artery and the aorta – are switched in po­si­tion.

Salon owner An­to­nia said: “We were told he needed to have open heart surgery to switch the valves round.

“The suc­cess rate for the surgery is ex­tremely high but you al­ways think your baby might be that one that doesn’t make it.

“Ev­ery­thing we had been through, car­ry­ing the baby, hav­ing him, then all of a sud­den your world feels like it’s crum­bling be­cause you think you might lose them.”

Julius was trans­ferred to the Free­man Hos­pi­tal, where sur­geons planned to op­er­ate on him in two weeks’ time.

But when he was just two days old, Julius’ heart rate shot up by al­most dou­ble and he was rushed in for surgery two days later.

An­to­nia said: “By this point we were at an all-time low see­ing our gor­geous new child nil by mouth wait­ing for his op­er­a­tion.

“Luck­ily the surgery went re­ally well and from then on he’s been do­ing fan­tas­tic.”

Af­ter two long weeks, An­to­nia and hair­dresser Scott, who have five other chil­dren be­tween them, were able to take Julius home.

To say thank you, they held an af­ter­noon tea fundraiser for the Chil­dren’s Heart Unit Fund in hon­our of the sur­geons who saved Julius’ life.

She said: “That time in hos­pi­tal was the worst two weeks of my life.

“It was the most trau­matic thing we’ve ever had to deal with, but it was made so much eas­ier by the staff at the Free­man.

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