Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Baby born with six separate heart defects whose parents were told he would not survive stuns doctors with recovery
A toddler who is thought to be the only child in the world born with SIX separate heart defects has stunned doctors by making an incredible recovery - after they warned his parents he would not survive. Medics told Michelle and Darryl Lewis that their baby had an unheard of number of heart defects - and suggested they terminate the pregnancy at a 21-week scan. But the devastated couple refused - despite doctors’ fears that the baby would not survive the birth. However, despite a difficult birth and surgery at just eight-hours old, followed by four more operations, young Riley recovered. He made such good progress that he was even well enough to be a pageboy at his parents’ wedding just seven months later. Michelle, 32, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, said: 'The surgeons told us that it is nothing short of a miracle that Riley is here at all. 'Doctors told us having one heart defect was unlucky, but six was unheard of. They said he probably wouldn’t make it through the pregnancy, and even if he did, wouldn’t survive long after birth. 'We were devastated - but Darryl and I just turned to each other and we knew straight away there was no way either of us was going to give up on our baby. 'The rest of my pregnancy was terrifying - I lived in fear of something going wrong. 'When I went into labour, Riley’s heart stopped every time I had a contraction - we nearly lost him so many times. But he’s a tough little boy and he’s amazed all of us - he’s so strong, and we are so proud of him.' The couple had no idea there were any complications with Michelle’s pregnancy until their 21 week scan - when nurses struggled to hear the heartbeat clearly. Michelle was booked in for a specialist scan a week later at the Evelina Children’s Hospital, London, where the stunned couple were told the extent of Riley’s condition. They were warned their unborn child was suffering from a back-to-front valves, a large hole in the heart, as well as various conditions that made his arteries thick and made it difficult for blood to pump around the body. Michelle said: 'The nurse’s face just dropped, and she went out of the room to get a doctor. 'I knew something was wrong and I just burst into tears before they had even told us what was wrong. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced in my life.The doctors said our baby’s heart was struggling to pump blood around his body, and he had so many complications he wouldn’t live. 'They said they’d never seen anything like it - having so many conditions was totally unheard of. 'They took us into a little room and advised us to terminate the pregnancy - but there was no way we would even consider it. 'They agreed to monitor me closely throughout the rest of the pregnancy, but it was terrifying. I was always thinking the worst was going to happen, but Darryl kept me positive and was my rock. 'I was induced and went into labour on Christmas eve, and it lasted 15 terrifying hours before doctors decided to perform an emergency caesarean on Christmas day 2010. 'I heard this little scream and the nurses held him up for me to see before he was whisked away. I remember seeing his big beautiful eyes and just pleading that he would keep fighting.'