Chris was born in 1984. Although he was discharged from the maternity unit a healthy baby, I knew there was something not right. He never woke for his feeds and his cry was more of a little kitten. When he did suck from the bottle he would have beads of sweat pouring down his tiny face. On day ten the day in normal babies the PDA (patent ductus arteriosus, a hole in the heart that is there in fetal circulation) is due to close; thank god that my midwife wanting him checked that night.
I took my ten-day-old baby into The Freeman and was given the news that he was hours from death. He was put on a drug to keep the PDA open and this was the only thing keeping a tiny amount of blood circulating around his body. He had two cardiac arrests that night which were side effects of the drug keeping him alive. Chris had a Waterson shunt done a few days later – not corrective surgery but palliative care. Chris’s story is a long road from then on many problems too many to write about. All I can say is that he fought hard for twenty-two years. Then we got to the point he was so ill a heart and lung transplant was the only option. We knew it would come to this point; we knew it was his only chance.
On the 27th July 2007 he received the greatest gift of all. Chris was scared, terrified, but he knew it was this or the other and we would never settle for the other. So into theatre he went and I went with him. He looked at me and said “Its got to be done mam bring it on.” Chris has done amazingly and continues to embrace his life every day. It’s not easy, we have our ups and downs but its truly breathtaking seeing your child walk for the first time in over fifteen years and to see the life sparkle again behind his eyes that had died many years before. Its both amazing and a blessing. Love to Chris’s donor and their family for giving us these precious years with our son.