A TODDLER who has undergone three open heart surgeries in the first two years of her life returned home – in time for Mother’s Day – after having a pacemaker fitted.
Leanne Shirt, 36, and her partner Mike Pickersgill, 35, of Kingstone, had a tough few months following the birth of their daughter Hope in January 2021.
At Leanne’s 20-week scan she was told that something was wrong with Hope’s heart and due to Covid-19 restrictions she had to be told alone.
She had a double outlet right ventricle, VSD (ventricular septal defect) and severe pulmonary stenosis.
Following a number of ‘mini heart attacks’, Hope has had three life-saving open heart surgeries – the third of which happened at the start of this month.
She faced a tough week-long wait for news on whether her heart would start working on its own – and last Wednesday she underwent another operation to have a pace maker fitted.
Leanne said: “We were waiting for the news last week and then on the Monday the surgeon came to speak to us.
“We were told that the likelihood of Hope’s heart working on its own were very slim.
“She went down for her operation to have the pace maker fitted last Wednesday and she was there for around four hours.
“She’s now only five days post-op and she’s doing really well.”
Hope returned home to her family home at Broadway on Mother’s Day – an extra special occasion as she was reunited with her two other children, Kaylem and Eve.
“It’s been brilliant so far,” she added.
“I got to see my other two children on Mother’s Day and it was my birthday on Monday so it’s been great.”
Leanne said that Hope has ‘smashed’ the operations so far – and hopes that there won’t be any more for at least a few years.
“She’s still up in the night crying but I think that’s because she still thinks she’s at the hospital in Leeds,” she said.
“She’s at that age where she doesn’t understand that they’re trying to help her – but she liked the male doctors, she was giving them fist bumps.
“We’ve got to go back for some check-ups in the coming days and for another scan. She’s had three open heart surgeries and a pace maker fitted so far. They think that the next operation will be when she’s between five and seven.
“That’s when she’ll find out if she needs a pace maker again or if her heart can start working on its own.
“She’s absolutely smashed it and in a way we’re glad she’s had it fitted because it means that we don’t have to worry as much.”
Hope’s mum added that the doctors and nurses at the hospital were stunned with how fast she has recovered.
“She was walking around the corridors and playing after the surgery,” Leanne said.
“Everybody was so shocked.
“She looks completely different – she’s a pink colour now rather than blue or grey.”