Manage episode 290558532 series 2857625
Today Zoe talks to Louise about her very special little girl Jessica, who was born with a heart condition. Devastatingly in 2018 Jessica died at aged 6 ½ and Louise shares how she is navigating both life and grief without her little girl.
- Louise met Michael in university, they have been together ever since. They got married in 2009 and Louise became pregnant in 2011.
- The pregnancy was very normal at the start but at the 20 week scan they found out that there was something wrong with the baby’s heart, they were referred to get a more detailed scan. They had a risky procedure whilst baby was still in the womb, it was successful and their baby Jessica survived birth but she still had a very underdeveloped left side to her heart.
- Jessica had her first open-heart surgery at just 8 hours old, one of many surgeries to come. After four weeks they were able to take Jessica home.
- After her fourth surgery at 7 months, Jessica was given the prognosis that if she made it to 5 years old she would have a good likelihood of making it to adulthood but Louise and Michael were always aware that her case was complex.
- Louise and Michael had a second child, Sophie, 2 years later, there were no complications in this pregnancy but Louise still suffered with some anxiety and was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression after Sophie was born. Louise attributes this down to the fact she had so much support after the birth of Jessica and she struggled with the normality of life after having Sophie. But once she was open she had therapy and this as well as peer support really helped.
- Jessica was a joy carrier. She was always smiling and laughing, she took everything in her stride and was always just so happy. The bond and relationship Sophie and Jessica had as sisters was very special, they supported and loved each other so much.
- Jessica had her final surgery, recovery was good and they left hospital after 3 weeks and after 6 weeks she was back at school. They felt they were on the other side and could look to the future.
- Jessica went back to school and she was doing ok but one morning at school she wasn’t very well and she was taken to hospital for a check and was sent home. She then picked up a cold and she couldn’t seem to shake off. She had various appointments and seemed to be doing a bit better, everyone thought she just needed some time to fully recover.
- The family had a day out but Jessica had a coughing fit and had to go into hospital. She was diagnosed with a viral-induced wheeze and was given medication to go home with.
- Devastatingly Jessica collapsed at home in the night and died in hospital after multiple attempts at resuscitating her.
- The only way Louise and Michael can manage the grief is by taking each day as it comes. Louise also found that writing, allowing herself space to grieve and giving Jessica attention and time in this way also helped.
- Louise was pregnant when Jessica died, she had her third child, Thomas, three months later by home birth. She was so scared she wouldn't bond with Thomas but as soon as she saw him she adored him and felt so much relief that she loved him.
“You need to stop being a midwife and just be a mummy right now”
“When Jessica was born, when I heard that cry, it was hands down the most joyful moment of my entire life”
“The future of Jessica was so uncertain we always lived in the moment”
“Everything was overwhelming and too much, I didn’t know how to deal with normality”
“I was really numb at that point, it just felt unreal”
ABOUT THE GUEST
@littleheartsbiglove - instagram
Halo Childresn Foundation - www.halochildrensfoundation.org.uk
Little Hearts Matter - www.lhm.org.uk
Welcome to Little Hearts Matter. We are a national UK charity offering help to anyone affected by the diagnosis of single ventricle heart condition.
ABOUT THE HOST
Devoted mother of two (and a big hairy dog), UK trained midwife, doula and personal trainer, specialising in pre and postnatal fitness.
Zoe was born in the UK and before moving to Dubai in 2013 and worked as a midwife in central London, both in a birth centre and a very busy NHS hospital.
Although late to the scene, Zoe is an aspiring athlete having won numerous triathlons and representing Great Britain where she placed within the top 10 on the world stage.
With her husband James, the couple will soon be launching their cloth nappy company, Bop & Bee, where they hope to inspire families to swap a few disposable nappies a day for the more planet friendly option of cloth.
Zoe’s goal is to share her knowledge and experience, tell real life stories, manage expectations and open up those often difficult conversations.
Zoe’s own motherhood journey has been full of twists and turns as she put everything on hold and went through numerous miscarriages and rounds of IVF.
Instagram : @zoecresswell_me
Facebook: Zoe Cresswell
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