Isabel's Story

In the words of her mum Emma:

I was 30 weeks pregnant when I found out that our baby was going to need heart surgery as she had a condition called Coarctation of the Aorta, as well as a VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect) and three ASDs (Atrial Septal Defects).

Our world fell apart as we had never even heard of these conditions before and I felt really scared. But the next 10 weeks went by really fast and eventually Isabel was born, an otherwise very healthy baby girl weighing 8lb 4oz. She had been born by Caesarian Section so I couldn’t get to see her till she was a few hours old, and by then a medical team had arrived to move her to the Royal Brompton Hospital. It was the hardest thing ever watching them get my baby ready to be taken away from me. I had to remain at the maternity hospital for now, and my world stopped.

Two days later my husband called me at 7:30 am to tell me that Isabel’s condition had deteriorated and she was going to need surgery that morning. I was then discharged from hospital myself and made my way to the Royal Brompton just as she was going to the operating theatre. I was dying to meet my baby and every time I was close to seeing her she was going again, I couldn’t stand it and I felt helpless and didn’t know which way to run.
Five hours later we were told the news that the operation was a success and we would be able to see Isabel very soon – it felt like for the first time in months I could actually breathe!

The next day Isabel was doing amazingly well and the doctors were able to take her breathing tube out. For the first time in what felt a life-time I got to have a cuddle with my beautiful baby girl and it was the best feeling ever!
On day 2 after her operation she was still doing brilliantly and with most of the tubes now out she was fit enough to move from Intensive Care over to Rose ward.
By day 5 she was breast-feeding and doing really well, you would never have realised what kind of a fight this beautiful little girl had just been through.  On day 7 the doctors came round and told us we could take her home.

I cried my eyes out – it was all over and she had amazed all of us. She was a warrior, she is our hero, and she’s still doing fantastically well, and it’s all thanks to all the staff at Royal Brompton – without them she wouldn’t be here today, we are more than grateful to them all!

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