David Calvert

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. 

(Half a Heart) 

We found out something was wrong with David when I was 38 weeks pregnant. Up to then his heartbeat had sounded fine at all of my check-ups, including the one at 36 weeks, but two weeks later I and my midwife could tell something wasn't right

A week of scans and appointments followed, first at University Hospital South Manchester then at St Mary's. We were told that he had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and were given the options of terminating the pregnancy, having him and keeping him comfortable but letting him slip away, or having him and getting him treatment which involved open heart surgery. These were the dark times, the days before he was born. The happy anticipation of our second baby was taken away, replaced by dread of what the future held. Having to explain to our eldest, Edward, that he might not get a baby brother after all was dreadful. Luckily I was already following Lagan's Foundation as its founder, Carren, was a former colleague of mine, so I knew where to go for support and advice. Some of the terms the doctors were using were already familiar to me from the Lagan's page. Carren was fantastic and gave me hope when I really thought there wasn't any. The doctors had given us the stats, and of course the stats show that far more babies survive with HLHS than don't. But you don't take that in, all you hear is “your baby has an extremely serious heart condition and he might die”.

 Carren reassured me that she knew lots of hypoplasts and David would make it. After much soul searching we knew we only had one option: to give David every chance to survive. And he did. From the day he was born, 20 September 2013, David has done everything right. He came out pink and screaming when we had been warned he could be blue and sickly. He recovered incredibly well from his first surgery at Alder Hey, which he underwent at 5 days old. He was able to feed orally so was discharged from hospital at 3 weeks old with no tubes and only aspirin for medication. Having been on expressed breast milk from the start, at 4 weeks old he latched on to me and has been breastfed ever since. Second surgery took place on February 19th, the day before David turned 5 months. He gave his ICU nurse the runaround on day 2 fighting his sedation, but he was home on day 6. We really could not have asked for more from him. Without the support from Lagan's Foundation we would have found it much harder to make the decision to give David the chances he has had. We did not know what the future held, we were frightened, we had an older child to consider. Lagan's gave us the confidence to go down the surgical route, knowing we would be supported every step of the way. On behalf of my beautiful boy, I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

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