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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

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Lucas – A little bundle of joy who has been through so much

WHEN mum-to-be Amanda Sharpe went for her 20-week scan with husband David they were excited to see their unborn child.

bundle of joy: Baby Lucas with parents David and Amanda and brother and sister Jackson and Lauren

However, they were stunned to find a large black circle in the middle of the baby’s chest. “It felt like a bombshell had hit us, knowing there could be something wrong,’’ she said.

Baby Lucas was eventually diagnosed with a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH). This rare condition occurs in one in every 2,500 babies and is a birth defect of the diaphragm.

Babies suffering from the condition have a hole in the diaphragm which allows organs to move from the abdomen into the chest, which squashes the lungs and causes them to struggle to breath once born.

“After the scan we were told our baby only had a 50 percent chance of survival,’’ explained Amanda, of Inkerman Terrace, Whitehaven.

“Consultants at Newcastle RVI gave us a week to take all of this information in and decide whether to continue with the pregnancy or end it.

“It was a no-brainer. We wanted to give our baby every chance possible in life so we continued to go the RVI for more scans and we were thrilled to hear he was growing fine.’’

Lucas was eventually born by Caesarean on September 24. “He made a little cry which lightened our spirits, we were so happy,’’ Amanda said.

Over the next week he continued to be monitored. On day nine, he had to go for a six-hour repair operation. “We were so nervous and scared; it felt like the longest day ever,’’ said Amanda.

“However, the nurses who walked down to theatre with us, and who we had bonded with, made this frightening moment feel a lot better and we can’t thank them enough.’’

After three weeks, Lucas surprised doctors by starting to feed and breathe on his own. “Lucas’s feeds were gradually increased,’’ Amanda said.

“We were still having to put some of his milk down the feeding tube as he get would get too tired most of the time.

“Each feed took him a while to drink so as he was finishing one, he was due another.’’

While Lucas was in hospital, the couple, who also have a son, Jackson, and daughter, Lauren, stayed at the nearby Crawford House. “We were so grateful and fortunate for them to be there for us,’’ Amanda said. “This helped us so much and the staff were absolutely lovely.’’

Lucas was finally allowed home on October 28 and the family is now aiming to raise awareness of his rare condition. “Being home is the best thing we could have hoped for, our family back together again.’’ Amanda said. “Everyone is pleased with his progress.

“Lucas still needs his oxygen all the time until he grows big and strong so at the moment his right lung is working hard to compensate for the small left lung.

“We are going for regular three-monthly checks to monitor his oxygen and we need to take more care with him if he gets a cold or chest infection.

“The repair on his diaphragm has healed nicely and the patch in his stomach is holding everything together just as they hoped it would.

“For now he’s just a happy little bundle of joy who has been through so much – and he’ll have great scars to show when he gets bigger!’’



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