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Jenni and Samson

After a long and difficult journey to start a family, in October 2014 we found out we were finally expecting our much-wanted baby. At 12 weeks we discovered I was high risk for miscarriage, stillbirth and pre-eclampsia due to low levels of the hormone PAPP-A (pregnancy-associated plasma protein A), and at 19 weeks we found out our baby had a congenital heart defect and would require open heart surgery in the first year of his life.

Then, at 32 weeks, I had a day where I didn't feel any movements. I went to the Pregnancy Assessment Unit, and though our baby’s heart rate was fine they couldn't get him to move, so it was decided that he needed to be delivered by emergency c-section. I was taken in an ambulance to another hospital in the region with the facilities to care for him. Shortly after our baby was born, it was discovered that he had a tracheoesophageal fistula (an abnormal connection (fistula) between the oesophagus and the trachea) and would require immediate surgery. He weighed just 3lb 5oz.

We were both transferred - separately - to yet another hospital. By the time he was 24 hours old, Samson had faced his first major surgery, made a little more complicated and lengthy due to the abnormal structure of his heart. It was a terrifying time for both me and my husband. Not only were we still getting used to the idea of having a heart warrior baby, we were now in shock because he had arrived eight weeks early and before we could process that, he needed a major operation to save his life. It felt like we were living a nightmare.

Samson spent 31 days in the SCBU at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, and was then transferred closer to home until he was discharged three weeks later, on his due date. Now six months old, Samson is still a dinky 9lb 8oz and has his heart operation to come. However, the fact that he's here at all is thanks to the amazing care he received from the neonatal nurses. There are no words to express how grateful we are to them for saving our little hero.

If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this post, you can call our helpline for support on 0500 618 140. If you would like to share your story with Bliss you can email the media team on

Samson at home


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