AN Orford dad is set to embark on a fund-raising mission as a thank you to hospital staff who helped save his baby daughter’s life.
Personal trainer Nick Forrester to climb Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British isles standing at 1,345m, ride across the West Highland Way (96 miles off road) and kayak the length of Loch Lomond (22.60 miles), in just 24 hours.
Little Harper Forrester was born with a rare condition with cysts on her larynx which caused breathing problems and resulted in her undergoing two life saving operations during the first few weeks of her life.
Nick said: “When my beautiful wife Fran gave birth to our second little baby girl at Warrington Hospital, she weighed in at 8lb 10oz and was perfect in every way.
“Before we were discharged later that day we noticed an unusual noise when our little girl was breathing but were reassured it was just a floppy Larynx, which can be quite common, and she would grow out of it.
“Little did we know that our baby girl had a cluster of cysts growing on her Larynx that was a potentially life threatening condition and the chain of events that unfolded over the next four weeks would see her rushed to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital by ambulance where she would undergo emergency surgery to remove them.
“We initially thought she was having surgery to fix a floppy larynx, which the consultant thought was the reason why she was working so hard to breath, but unfortunately during surgery her oxygen levels dropped dramatically and she had to be incubated. It was only whilst in theatre that they discovered the cysts. Following the surgery she was admitted to the ICU ward where she would remain on life support for the next 24 hours and in ICU for the next three days.
“The consultant, Mr Donne, came up to the ward to explain exactly what had happened and how this was a very rare and potentially life threatening situation that he had only ever seen twice in his 23 year career, and that’s when the shock hit us and we couldn’t help but cry.
“We had gone from being overwhelmed with joy at the arrival of our baby girl 4 weeks earlier, to complete and utter devastation at what was happening to her now. We were taken down to ICU to be with our baby girl and we just cried again at what we saw. She had tubes up her nose that were breathing for her, tubes up her nose to feed her, a cannula in her arm to administer drugs for pain and inflammation, she was monitored by machines with alarms that seemed to be constantly going off and a specialist nurse who was working with her one-on-one.”
The couple spent the next three days at her bedside watching over her, praying that she would stay strong and recover well and all wthey wanted to do was pick her up and hold her close.
Nick added: “In the words of the consultant, she had amazed everyone with her resilience and strength and after three days was transferred back up to a normal ward where she would be monitored over the next week. My wife and I would take it in turns to stay over at the hospital with our baby while the other went home to try and keep things normal for our other daughter who was only 4 years old. She initially showed signs of improved breathing and was able to start putting weight on again as she was being fed through a tube in her nose.
“Unfortunately as the week progressed and she was weaned off oxygen and air assisting her breathing, she started to deteriorate and she was having to work hard once again just to breathe,. The consultant used a camera up her nose again to assess what was going on and she was then scheduled for a second emergency surgery which would be to fix the floppy larynx and remove any remaining parts of the cysts.
“My wife and I were devastated that our baby was going to have to go through another surgery in less than a week now at only five weeks old especially after what had happened last time, we were allowed to carry her down to theatre and after handing her over to the medical team we literally just cried in each other arms for what seemed like a life time. We were told our baby would be taken to the HDU ward after surgery, as more of a precaution after what had happened last time, to enable them to monitor her.
“My wife and I cannot begin to thank everyone who was instrumental in the care of our daughter, from the health visitor who referred us to the GP, the GP who insisted with the pediatricians at Warrington hospital that they admit our daughter for examination, the medical staff at Warrington hospital who fought to get us a bed at Alder Hey and all the incredible medical professionals at Alder Hey who treated our daughter as if she was their own and finally McDonald House and all the volunteer staff who work there. We are so incredibly lucky to have such an invaluable facility so close to home whose service and care were, second to none.”
Nick says the challenge will allow him to raise money for both Alder Hey and McDonald house to show the family’s gratitude for the all-round care. Any contributions will be gratefully received. Donations can be made by following the link below.