Etta was diagnosed with congenital heart defects at our 20 week anomaly scan. We were referred to St. Michael’s Hospital in Bristol and continued our antenatal care there. Etta was found to have several congenital heart defects but her prognosis for a healthy and happy life were good. I was induced at 39 weeks pregnant in Bristol so that she could be taken straight to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit on arrival.
Our beautiful little girl Etta Grace Libi Woolford was born at 00.01 on the 26th November 2019 with a good set of lungs on her! After a few cuddles she was taken up to NICU to be checked over and to be started on a special drug that would keep her healthy until her first surgery. We chose her middle name ‘Libi’ (Leebee) as it is Hebrew for ‘my heart’.
Etta was transferred to Bristol Children’s Hospital at a few days old. Although initially she was showing signs of being able to get a little bit bigger before needing surgery, unfortunately her heart began to struggle so it was decided she would have her first open heart surgery at 10 days old.
The surgery was long (double bypass) and she was a trickier customer than they thought but the surgeons were happy with the outcome with the possibility they might need to reintervene with further surgery in the future. Etta spent a week coming off the ventilator and recovering after her surgery.
Devastatingly, she suffered a cardiac arrest on the 14th December. The staff were amazing and she was given CPR straight away to save her but it meant she needed to go on a special life support machine (ECMO) to rest her heart before she would undergo more surgery to survive.
The following weeks were spent having several further open heart surgeries and procedures trying to improve Etta’s heart function but it was decided on Monday 23rd December that there was nothing more that the doctors could do to save her. We held her in our arms as the life support was stopped and she passed away peacefully and so very very loved.