Our beautiful daughter Jessica was born in September 2011 with a severe heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. This was diagnosed at her 20 week scan and we were initially told that she was unlikely to be suitable for surgery. However, a pioneering in-utero operation at 28 weeks to enlarge a hole in her atrial septum was carried out and she was able to make it to term and get through her first open-heart surgery at just eight hours old. Jessica underwent five more surgeries during her life. Her final surgery - the Fontan procedure - took place in December 2017. She initially made a good recovery but sadly passed away suddenly on 14th April 2018 at the age of 6. This is the story of a little girl whose half a heart overflowed with love. She was, and will forever be, our little miracle and brought joy to all who knew her.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Jessica is here!

Our beautiful little Jessica Charlotte is here! We had an induction booked for next Monday but Jessica decided that she wanted to choose her own birthday and arrived yesterday morning at 8.50am, weighing in at 2550g (5lb 10oz). Her first day of life has been quite eventful but she is doing quite well so far and we have taken another small step forward on this journey.

We were glad that things managed to happen naturally and Jessica was amazingly strong throughout labour – there were only a couple of very brief moments where her heart rate dropped slightly but on the whole, the trace on the CTG monitor remained very reassuring throughout. She wasn’t quite in the best position to be born and so had a little bit of assistance with forceps but announced her presence with a lovely cry – the most beautiful sound in the world – and had a brief cuddle with her mummy before being checked over by the team.

We were very reassured that she seemed so well at birth – lovely and pink, and being very vocal about the fact that she was here. We had asked that she be baptised straight away and the chaplain came and baptised her within a few minutes of her being born. After the team had checked her over, we had a few more moments of being able to cuddle her before she was taken off to the neonatal unit.

It was a couple of hours before we were able to go over there to visit her but in the meantime, our cardiac consultant, Dr Gnanapragasam came over to update us. Jessica had had a heart scan on neonatal unit which showed that the situation was pretty much as expected – the hole between the two atria was very small and there was some additional restriction in the blood flow from the pulmonary veins to the lungs but as she seemed to be doing well, the surgeon, Mr Haw, was prepared to operate on her. The plan was for her to have her first operation later that afternoon to surgically enlarge the hole between the two atria but also to move two of the pulmonary veins into a better position into the heart.

It was so wonderful for us both to be able to have some more time to cuddle Jessica when we went over to the neonatal unit to see her shortly before she was transferred over to the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at the main hospital site. Louise managed to have some skin-to-skin time with her and she even had a few moments of latching to the breast and having a very brief feed. Another little miracle moment which we never thought we’d get to experience with her!

Michael went over to PICU later to be with Jessica who was already sedated and on a ventilator ready for her operation and managed to spend a little more time with her before she was taken away to theatre.

We had a few anxious hours of waiting before she came back from theatre a few hours later having got through her first operation fairly well.

At the moment, we are taking things very much on a day-by-day basis. The next two weeks are going to be very critical – hopefully Jessica will continue to recover well from this first op. The next stage of the journey will be much riskier for her – she will need to have another operation in about a week’s time which is likely to be the Norwood procedure and involves a fair amount of replumbing.

Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers during this time. We have been so very blessed so far on this journey – having been able to have time and cuddles with our beautiful daughter and to see her looking so well in those first few hours after birth has been a miracle in itself as is the fact that she has got through another little stage on her journey with this operation on her first day of being in this world.


  1. Thinking of you all from afar!

  2. I am a friend of Gillian Crossleys and praying for you all! Susan

  3. Another friend of Gillian's here. Send you lots of thoughts and prayers. Sally

  4. Thrilled to hear Jessica is doing so well and very impressed to see her elephant doing such a good job of holding her ET tube up! Hugs to all three of you, hope you're holding up ok. xxx