A Brechin couple is hoping to raise awareness of congenital heart defects in babies, by sharing their five-month-old daughter’s story.
Michaela and Christopher Robertson discovered their daughter, Keira, had a heart condition during their 20 week scan.
Doctors advised the pair that she may not make it past 21 weeks, but they continued on with the pregnancy and Keira, who is a little sister to Kaiden and Bayley, arrived on March 28.
Michaela said: “At the 20 week scan we were told she would not make it past 21 weeks and that we had three weeks to decide whether or not to continue with the pregnancy or terminate it as she wouldn’t make it anyway.”
The couple had to get scans every three to four weeks to confirm that there was still an issue, along with getting blood tests to rule out other possible conditions. They were offered a chorionic villus sampling, which tests the amnio fluid to check for specific conditions.
However, Michaela explained: “I declined this as it has a five per cent miscarriage rate.”
Due to the complications, Michaela booked in for an elective C-section at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow for March 28.
She explained: “We were admitted the night before for pre-op. Then the next day we were brought down to theatre at 2 p.m. and all prepped and the section started.
“At 3.55 p.m. Keira was born weighing 8lb 5oz at 38 weeks six days gestation. She was crying and then at nine minutes old, her heart stopped.
“She was given CPR and heart massage for 25 minutes to bring her back.
“Thankfully the Southern General team and Yorkhill team came together to save her life. She was given an emergency operation to perform an atrial septostomy to open the valves in her heart to keep her alive for the time being.
“She was placed on a body cooling programme to keep her at a very low temperature to save her brain from being damaged further.
“She was on that for about a week before being brought back up to room temperature over the following week.
“She reacted well to this and the same night she was transferred to Yorkhill ICU and on numerous infusions, medications, ventilator and catheters.
“When she was eight days old she was taken down for her arterial switch open heart surgery which ultimately saved her life and we can’t thank Yorkhill enough for their work and support throughout our three week stay.
“After the operation she was taken to high dependency unit for five days then up to ward 5A, which meant we were getting home soon.
“Although Keira recovered really quickly, we had a few set backs. There was fluid on her lungs and around her heart but she overcame it very well. On April 14, we were transferred to Ninewells to establish her bottle feeding as she still had an NG feeding tube in.
“The staff there were very friendly, helpful and amazing and on April 18 we got home.
“We are still under Ninewells care for regular ECG and echo scans, but she is now a happy and healthy five month old baby girl! As far as we know she doesn’t have downs syndrome or cystic fibrosis either.
“We are so grateful to Yorkhill and Ninewells as if it wasn’t for them and the surgeons Keira would have never made it through to today.”