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Seraphina was born a healthy 7lb 11oz in September 2015 but it became clear that something was wrong when she had problems feeding. Despite a readmission to hospital at 5 days old, all the professionals kept telling us she was OK. But at 11 days old - she was so breathless that the doctor sent us to A&E. We carried her in and they took her obs straight away.
The rest is all such a blur. She had no femoral pulse and needed to go to resus. They put an oxygen mask on her and we had to stand aside to let them work. More and more people kept coming into the room and we were asked to leave whilst they fought to save her life. We didn’t want to leave but we did and we were sent to a private room to wait. The next time we’d see Seraphina was in intensive care on life support fighting for her life.
We were told later she'd 'crashed' and was suffering from complete heart failure. Also the acid levels in her blood were so high. They didn't know why but eventually she was diagnosed with enteroviral myocarditis. Just a common virus she'd got somehow but with a very rare complication. Her heart was so swollen it couldn't pump properly and they didn't know if she'd recover.
The inflammation of her heart caused ventricular tachycardia and she suffered an attack just a few days after she'd been admitted. Luckily the doctors and nurses in PICU saved her and she stabilised but her heart got worse. She had a leaking heart valve, scarring of the heart and her cardiologist thought she should go on the transplant list but there were no beds in the transplant centres to take her. She had to have multiple blood transfusions and be placed in an induced coma.
The team at Leeds never gave up, they tried everything they could. Eventually, Seraphina began to turn a corner. After a month in intensive care she was able to be moved to the cardiac ward and after a couple of weeks was able to return home.
We are raising money for the Children's Heart Surgery Fund because they not only give back to PICU and Eckersley House (the Sick Children's Trust where we stayed) but they also supported us so much whilst we were in intensive care and also on ward L51. They do such a good job of supporting all the families of the children there. We're indebted to the CHSF who support the services that Seraphina still accesses today, as she continues fighting her heart condition and so many other children too.
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