‘Our third child, Arthur, was born in October 2021. It was a normal birth and we came home the next day. At two weeks, we visited a midwife and she confirmed he was still jaundiced so the day after we were invited to a clinic for prolonged jaundice at Hereford Hospital.
We didn’t think much of it and went to the appointment, but once we were there things started to look more serious. Upon checking his blood pressure, the doctors noticed a distinct difference between the pressure in his legs and his arms. We were whisked off to the Special Care Baby Unit and a doctor diagnosed Arthur with coarctation of the aorta, a life-threatening heart condition requiring surgery to correct.
On the Wednesday, we were transferred via Critical Care Ambulance, and Arthur was put in what can only be described as a small spaceship-like pod to transport him to Bristol Children’s Hospital. Suddenly we found ourselves seventy-five miles (an hour and a half’s drive) from home and our two other children. The hospital provided a bed that evening, but after that we were told we would need to find somewhere else.
Thursday came and we had nowhere to stay as the hospital accommodation – Ronald McDonald House – was full, so we were pointed in the direction of the Liaison Team. They got in touch with Evie’s Gift who immediately began looking into accommodation for us. They paid for two nights of hotel accommodation and awarded food and travel grants to help us manage these unexpected costs. They subsequently paid another night’s hotel accommodation prior to Arthur’s operation. Fortunately, Arthur’s surgery was successful and he was subsequently placed in intensive care, after which we were provided somewhere to stay by the hospital.
The financial support from Evie’s Gift helped enormously and meant we didn’t have to use money that could have put us in debt – it also allowed us to bring our other two children down to Bristol so we could spend a few hours with them and explain what was happening with their new baby brother face-to-face rather than telling them over the phone, which meant a lot. Being thrown into this world of medical jargon is really hard to comprehend. Also, being a new parent is always a worry as every child is different but being the parent to a child who is poorly is a different kind of worry.
Until you are in a position of need you don’t really appreciate what charities like Evie’s Gift do. They are just incredible, and without them our experience would have been so much harder. When your child is sick you don’t think about sleep, food, money or travel costs, so to have someone else think about that side of things for you means you can focus on being the best parents you can be.
Arthur is now one and he is doing well. He has another heart condition, but with regular scans and monitoring we are hoping he’ll be okay and live a normal life. Evie’s Gift will forever be in our hearts This is a charity we will always support. Thank you just isn’t enough, but thank you.’
Victoria Guiver (Arthur’s Mum)