A determined couple who went through five rounds of IVF told of the emotional rollercoaster they faced when their little girl was born with half a heart.
Little Lucy Thom, aged three, was born with a rare form of congenital heart disease (CHD) known as double inlet left ventricle (DILV), which left her with only one working pumping chamber in her heart.
Lucy, from Redding, Falkirk, was still in the womb when the “horrific” diagnosis was delivered to parents Adam and Lynn, who had spent around £10,000 on IVF treatment.
Having married in 2010, the couple – both 36 – began trying for children, but after a genetic condition was discovered with IT team leader Adam and they were referred for IVF in 2012.
After five rounds of treatment, Lynn fell pregnant – but they were dealt a massive blow at the 20 week scan when it was discovered that the left side of their unborn child’s heart had not developed.
Medics suggested they terminate the pregnancy – but the couple decided to see it through and Lucy was born in 2015, at 38 weeks.
Aged only 18 weeks Lucy underwent life-saving open heart surgery, and may still need a heart transplant when she gets older.
Proud parents Lynn and Adam told of their joy that their only child is exceeding milestones doctors feared she would never achieve.
Lynn said: “A lot of parents terminate pregnancies but we decided we wanted to give her the chance.
“When we see her now it wasn’t an option for us.
“We’re so glad we kept her.
“She’s totally inspiring and shouldn’t be doing half the things she can, like climbing stairs and keeping up with her peers.
“She goes swimming every week and keeps quite well.”
Hearing their firstborn had a life threatening condition, GP practice manager Lynn said the devastating news “floored” the couple.
Lynn said: “It was a pretty intense couple of years.
“We found out one of the chambers in her heart wasn’t working properly.
“Lucy was born after 38 weeks, which is quite lucky because children with CHD can be born prematurely.
“As soon as she was born doctors took her away to run tests.
“She was born at four in the afternoon and we didn’t see her again till 9pm.
“It wasn’t until the next day that we spoke to the consultant that we realised how bad things were.”
To offer support to other parents facing similarly heart wrenching situations, Lynn blogs about her experiences online.
And although they would love to have more children, the crippling cost of IVF treatment has made that unlikely.
Lynn added: “It was just horrific, especially after what we’d been through with failed attempts.
“We thought the bad part was past and the worst was over.
“After the 12 week scan things looked OK but the news just floored us.
“We didn’t really leave the house or speak to anybody waiting for the results.
“We just kept ourselves to ourselves while we waited.
“We did self fund our first cycle and over the course of our treatment, we spent somewhere in the region of £10,000.
“We would love to try again however we would need to pay again and so financially and emotionally I don’t think that is on the card for us unfortunately.”
In December Lucy will have a review to determine when she will need to go for Fontan surgery, which would help make blood from the lower body go directly to the heart – without having to pass through the heart for oxygen.
To show their appreciation for the doctors who treated Lucy, the family have helped raise £20,905 for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.
Lynn said: The consultants have been brilliant at the hospital.
“We just wanted to do something to show how hard the hospitals work.”