Baby with 'hole in heart' makes remarkable recovery as 'perfect' Christmas gift

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Mum Natalie and dad Nathan were told Pippa would need life-saving surgeries (Image: DAILY MIRROR)
Mum Natalie and dad Nathan were told Pippa would need life-saving surgeries (Image: DAILY MIRROR)

On Christmas Day last year, Pippa Maudsley was three months old and critically ill in hospital when her heart stopped.

As medics tried desperately to restart the baby's tiny heart, mum Natalie and dad Nathan feared Pippa's first Christmas would be her last.

But one year on and Pippa has made a remarkable recovery, making this Christmas extra special for the family. Natalie, 27, says: "This Christmas was two-in-one, like the best ever roll-over Christmas."

Soon after Pippa was born on September 26, 2021, a scan showed she had two holes in her heart as well as a narrowed artery. Natalie says: "We were told Pippa was critically sick. I just sat sobbing."

Baby with 'hole in heart' makes remarkable recovery as 'perfect' Christmas gift rridqziqtqitinvAccording to doctors her heart had been beating like she was running a marathon (DAILY MIRROR)
Baby with 'hole in heart' makes remarkable recovery as 'perfect' Christmas giftAt ten-weeks-old she had only put on a single ounce (DAILY MIRROR)

Doctors at Alder Hey, in Liverpool, told them Pippa would need life-saving surgeries, and on December 13 she was taken into theatre to repair the artery. Natalie says: "Her heart had been beating like she'd been running a marathon for weeks.

Baby boy has spent his life in hospital as doctors are 'scared' to discharge himBaby boy has spent his life in hospital as doctors are 'scared' to discharge him

"Ten weeks after she was born, she'd only put on one single ounce, and it was hoped this surgery would help her put on weight so she could survive the open-heart surgeries to fix the holes."

Given free on-site accommodation by Ronald McDonald House so they could be by Pippa's side, Natalie and Nathan hoped they might be home for Christmas and even bought a little reindeer outfit for Pippa. But by December 20, she had deteriorated. Natalie says: "It was soul-crushing to be told any hopes of being home with her for Christmas were gone." On Christmas Eve, Pippa was moved to the high dependency unit and put on a ventilator.

Natalie says: "She was suffering heart failure."

Baby with 'hole in heart' makes remarkable recovery as 'perfect' Christmas giftPippa was suffering from heart failure (DAILY MIRROR)
Baby with 'hole in heart' makes remarkable recovery as 'perfect' Christmas giftNatalie was worried they may never be taking Pippa back home (DAILY MIRROR)

The next day her heart stopped. Natalie says: "I shouted for help, and in seconds swarms of doctors and nurses were trying to restart her tiny heart with CPR. Suddenly it felt like not only our hopes of being home for Christmas were dashed – we might never take Pippa home at all."

Doctors restarted Pippa's heart and two days later, she had a five-hour op to patch the holes in her heart.

It was a success and Pippa recovered faster than anyone could have predicted. On January 4, her parents were able to take their daughter back to their home in Chorley, Lancs, where she is now enjoying her "rollover Christmas".

Natalie says: "To see her beaming as she plays with her balance bike, or any of the other gifts, last Christmas felt like a bad dream.

"We can't wait to explore the world with her in 2023, and enjoy more Christmases with our little miracle."

The Tiny Tickers "Think HEART" campaign helps parents spot signs of heart problems. Go to tinytickers.org

Matthew Barbour

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