A COUPLE who are due to have a baby girl with only half a working heart have vowed to fight to give her a full life.
Fay and Micheal Murrish were stunned when they were told a scan showed their unborn daughter – who they have called Chanel – is suffering from rare condition Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.
Her case is even more serious because in March, when she is born, a further complication means a life-saving drug usually given to babies with Chanel’s condition will not work.
The Seaham family are now making preparations for her arrival, which will see her born by caesarian section and rushed straight into surgery.
Full-time mum Fay, 24, and Micheal, 27, who works at Walkers in Peterlee, will spend up to eight months in hospital with their newborn as they juggle the care of their sons, dividing time between home and a flat run for families using the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman (CHUF) in Newcastle.
The couple, who have two children, have previously suffered four miscarriages and were desperate to complete their family.
Fay, mum to Chase, three, and Cole, 19 months, said: “We went for the 20-week scan and the lady said she couldn’t see her heart properly, but I didn’t take much notice – I was just in awe knowing I could see my little girl.
“When she went back to have another look at her heart, she said ‘I’m so sorry, I’m afraid the left side of your baby’s heart is not beating’.
“I was uncontrollable and I thought, if you have half a heart, how can you live?”
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) affects one in 5,000 babies, but a complication means she is in the six per cent of sufferers who also have Restrictive Atrial Septum.
A drug to stop a valve in the heart from closing and help it beat once she is breathing for herself will not work, with surgery needed to keep it open and allow the right side of her heart to pump blood.
Chanel will be born at CHUF, and will be one of the few babies to be delivered by caesarian there.
Fay and Micheal are planning fundraisers for the unit and have organised a charity night on St Valentine’s Day – less than a month before Chanel is due. It will be held at Martino’s in Seaham and will include live music, disco and a raffle, with admission £2.
Fay is keeping friends and family up-to-date via facebook.com/ChanelMurrishHLHS.
‘We just know she’ll be a miracle’
LESS than 50 per cent of children with HLHS do not make it through their first operation, and it is likely Chanel will need a transplant when she is older in addition to a series of operations to keep her alive.
Fay and Micheal were given the option of terminating the pregnancy but have said they will do all they can to give their girl the best chance in life.
The mum said: “I will be awake during the C-section and Micheal will be present so we will get to see her, even if only for a small glimpse in case of the worst and she does not come back to us.
“We were asked what our thoughts on termination were and we both agreed quite firmly it wasn’t for us.
“How could we with her kicking away?
“She’s already our baby and we would fight for her like we would if it was any of our boys – because she wasn’t born yet did not make a difference.
“Chanel is due on March 10 but will be born at 39 weeks.
“Although we are naturally apprehensive, we are keeping as positive as possible.
“We can’t wait to meet our baby girl, and the boys their little sister.
“We just know she is going to defy all odds and be a true miracle baby.”