Stowmarket: Baby Evanee, the little fighter, defies the odds to overcome heart problems
13:00 21 August 2014
They named her Evanee which means young fighter – and the words could not be closer to the truth for this “miracle” seven-month-old.
When Lisa and Matt Day went for their 20-week scan they did not expect to be told their baby had a heart defect.
At each of the following scans doctors told them that little Evanee’s condition was even worse than first feared.
It was eventually confirmed that she would need three open-heart surgeries in the first few days of her life.
She was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome – meaning her left ventricle had become very small because of a blockage.
The couple, from Masefield Road, Stowmarket, were told the risks of Evanee surviving had become smaller with every new complication.
Mrs Day, 27, said: “It was probably the worse few months of our lives, we did not know what to expect. We saw people at the same time going for their 20 week scans but we found out that our baby had a heart problem.
“The next few months were not easy at all because we knew she was going to have the three big surgeries in the first few days.
“We had to leave our daughter Kaira which was not easy because we had never left her before. We were lucky that we have a very supportive family and my mum looked after her.”
Evanee was born on January 21 and immediately defied the odds. She needed no assistance to breathe and was better than originally thought.
“I was told she might be blue and that she might need help breathing, but when she was born she was screaming so we knew that her lungs and everything were working as they should be,” Mrs Day added.
But Evanee, who had been seen by specialists at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, still had to undergo rare surgery. Experts placed bands around her pulmonary arteries and a stent to keep the duct open which would allow her heart to grow.
Mr Day, 34, who works as a yard foreman in Creeting St Mary, said: “The hospital’s staff are worth their weight in gold, it’s an amazing hospital, we could not praise them enough; because of how grateful we are we are going to be doing a walk next year from the Evelina to West Suffolk Hospital.”
The operation was undertaken nine days after Evanee was born with the family able to come home on February 9 when she was three weeks old.
But there was more trouble on the way. Shortly after coming home she was taken to hospital on two occasions because she was pale and drowsy. Both times it was discovered she had kidney reflux – a condition where a valve in the bladder fails to work.
Not long after both Evanee and her sister, Kaira, three, had bad cases of chicken pox.
Mrs Day said: “She has pretty much amazed everyone with what she has done.
“To a lot of people she’s just had surgery but when you know the extent of it all it’s different.
“She’s a miracle – how she has done, she’s living up to her name; we are really proud of her.”
Since leaving hospital for the first time Evanee had weekly visits to check her weight and progress.
But doctors were still unsure what to do and how to fix her heart fully. In May the family went back to London where it was decided she would undergo her second heart operation.
She was home six days later and has since had further check-ups at home and at hospital.
The family have been told Evanee should be able to lead a normal life with no restrictions to the things she can do. Surgeons have said though she may need further surgery over the next five years.
“We can do all the normal things families do now, before our life was on hold since September when we found out there was a problem,” Mrs Day said.
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