A couple had done everything they could to save their baby girl after being told three times that she wouldn't make it. They felt their child draw her last breath, then a miracle happened.
Parenthood is a gratifying stage in the human cycle, and for most, it is an immutable stage that brings out protective feelings and instincts. However, what happens when a parent has to watch helplessly as their child suffers?
The trauma is usually unforgettable — ask Lee and Francesca Moore-Williams, a couple who had to watch in horror as their daughter nearly died.
Lee and Francesca Moore-Williams kissing their daughter Bella, goodbye. | facebook.com/GazetaKorrekte
THE FIRST HEALTH SCARE
Francesca and Lee got married in 2012 and welcomed their first child, a boy named Bobby. Some years later, the two welcomed their second child, a daughter they named Bella.
She was born healthy, but at two years old, her parents noticed that she was losing clumps of hair; then they observed she couldn't sit straight in her chair without slumping.
They got concerned and immediately took her to a hospital, but doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. They initially suspected asthma because Bella also suffered from chest infections at the time, so she was prescribed an inhaler.
Things were expected to get better, but three months later, while the family of four were on holiday in Gran Canaria, Bella's health deteriorated. For the entire duration of the holiday, her energy levels dropped, and she clung desperately to her mom.
As soon as they returned home, the couple took Bella to see the family doctors, who referred them to Colchester Hospital, Essex, and by noon, they had performed a test that revealed that her "depressed" legs had no movement.
THE DIAGNOSIS AND PREDICTIONS
Bella got weaker as doctors scrambled to find out what was wrong with her. Eventually, she started drifting in and out of consciousness because of a lack of energy.
They put her on a ventilator and moved her to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, where she was admitted to intensive care. An MRI scan revealed severe abnormalities going on across both hemispheres of her brain.
Experts told her parents that Bella most likely had a terminal Mitochondrial disease and were reportedly told three times that their daughter wouldn't make it, so they sat by her side praying every day.
What Bella had was Biotinidase deficiency — a genetic disorder that affects only one in every 60,000 births — however, owing to its rareness, they weren't expecting it. Fortunately, the hospital had dealt with a similar case six years before, so they knew what to do.
First came the biotin injections, which Bella took for a few days before they tried to take her off the ventilator to see if she could breathe by herself. She couldn't and was quickly put back on the machine.
The days passed painfully slow as they waited for results, even as the doctors tried not to keep their hopes high. Francesca described it as a "very traumatic" time, but thankfully, the whole family was by their sides.
Despite all they tried, Bella's health was fading fast, and at 18 months, they were asked to say their farewells, and the family did, amid tears. Francesca said:
"I now feel a lot of guilt for bringing family members there to say goodbye but I didn't know that at the time. I will never, ever forget that moment where I had to say goodbye to my daughter."
They accepted an offer from the hospital to get prints of her hands and feet as a keepsake, and then they also shared a final shot together with their son Bobby before the ventilator was switched off.
After that, Francesca started to feel the life leaving her daughter, but 30 minutes later, the child tightened her grip just a little, and soon the machines were going off.
This shocked the doctors, and they put everything they had into saving Bella, who had shown an unwavering will to survive. Her oxygen levels went back to 100 percent, and the parents were later told their daughter would live.
After waking up, Bella was moved to the children's ward, where she spent three weeks before returning home to her delighted family.
Of course, it took another six weeks at home for her to get weaned off the harsh drugs she was put on, but Bella went on to make a full recovery so that anyone who sees her now would never think she was ever in such a state.
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