Ruth and her husband John had been trying to conceive for three years when they fell pregnant. Their son, Sebastian, was diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries, a Congenital Heart Disease, at their 20 week scan.
This is their story:
After a desperate wait for a child, Ruth and John were overjoyed to finally be pregnant. The 12 week scan seemed scary, but once it was complete, they felt like they were ‘out of the woods’. At the 20 weeks scan there were no worries or concerns, they just went along looking forward to seeing their baby.
During the scan, the sonographer sent them off for something to eat and drink as it was difficult to see the baby. When they returned, she asked a colleague to come in. Ruth started crying, although she didn’t know what was wrong, she knew it wasn’t good. Then came the words, ‘I’m sorry there is something wrong with your baby’s heart.’ Ruth says, ‘I full-on broke down.’
At the cardiac scan, the baby was diagnosed with a defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries, a VSD (hole in the heart) and Coarctation. They were immediately sign posted to Tiny Tickers. ‘We found it very, very helpful. You feel like you’re the only person in the world, going through this, it was unbearable.’
Ruth says, ‘I was induced at 39 weeks, I had a really short labour of three hours. We prepared ourselves that we wouldn’t be able to cuddle Sebastian when he was born but we managed to get a 10 second cuddle and a picture before he was rushed away’.
She continues, ‘They didn’t think he needed immediate intervention but as soon as he got to the neonatal ward he stopped breathing and was given a balloon atrial septostomy, it had become an emergency. Looking back, he looked so poorly, but at the time I just thought he looked beautiful, I just saw our baby.’
Sebastian had surgery at 6 days old. ‘He did amazingly well after surgery. He was in intensive care for 4 days, then HDU and home on day 12. He fed well, put on weight and took his own tube out to tell us he was ready to take a bottle!’
At 4 months old, Sebastian is now doing brilliantly. But Ruth knows, if it wasn’t for the sonographer who picked up his heart defect, he probably wouldn’t be here today. ‘I wrote to the sonographer to say thank you,’ Ruth says. ‘We feel so, so lucky. We are very aware of how different it could have been. Tiny Tickers’ work is so important.’