Parents whose daughter was born with her heart outside her body reveal it’s a ‘massive present’ to have her home for Christmas as they appear with their family on GMB
- Vanellope was first baby in Britain to survive being born with heart outside body
- Parents Naomi Findlay and Dean Wilkins were delighted to welcome her home
- She weighed 3lb 8oz when she was delivered at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester
- A year on, she still needs oxygen and has to take a cocktail of drugs to survive
Parents of a baby born with her heart outside her body said it is a ‘massive present’ to have her home in time for Christmas.
Naomi Findlay and Dean Wilkins, from Nottingham, are parents to Vanellope, the first baby in Britain to ever survive being born with their heart outside the body.
The parents-of-four appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain where they called her miracle arrival home a ‘massive present’ for the family.
Vanellope – named after a feisty character in the Disney film Wreck-It Ralph – weighed just 3 lb 8oz when she was delivered at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester on November 22 last year.
Mother Naomi said: ‘It’s pretty overwhelming to be honest, it’s something we didn’t see happening, it’s amazing it really is.’
Naomi Findlay and Dean Wilkins, from Nottingham, are parents to Vanellope, they are delighted at being allowed to have her home in time for her first family Christmas
Little Vanellope was the first baby in Britain to ever survive being born with its heart outside the body and has arrived home for the first time
Doctors told her parents, who had earlier watched scans of their unborn child playing with her own heart in the womb, to expect the worst.
Vanellope, who had the extremely rare condition ectopia cordis, underwent three operations in her first three weeks.
Her heart was covered by protective plastic and her chest opened to make room for the organ, which naturally sank into her body over two weeks.
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Then a protective mesh shield was installed over the heart and the cavity covered with a skin graft.
Now after undergoing hours of extensive training in CPR and life support Vanellope is allowed home for four nights a week and spends three in hospital, with the plan to have her home permanently soon.
Naomi explained: ‘There is talk of a life changing surgery, to reconstruct her breast bone and sternum in order to give her ribs the support and be more mobile.’
Vanellope currently wears a chest brace that is basically her sternum and acts as a safety net, so if she rolls, or anything drops it’s not dropping directly on to her heart.
The parents are just pleased that they are all together: ‘This time last year we were running around the wards of Glenfield Hospital.
‘It is one big massive present we can enjoy it as a whole family now.’
Now after undergoing hours of extensive training in CPR and life support Vanellope is allowed home for four nights a week and spends three in hospital, with the plan to have her home permanently soon
Naomi Findlay and Dean Wilkins were in hospital praying that their daughter would survive a year ago – and she was last week healthy enough to watch her brother’s play
‘At times this year her life was hanging by a thread, but she survived and she now has her own page in the medical encyclopaedias,’ Naomi said previously.
‘That’s how special she is.’
Vanellope still needs oxygen and has to take a cocktail of drugs, but weighs 18 lb and was last week healthy enough to watch her elder brother in his school Nativity play.
‘That was a miracle in itself,’ said Naomi. ‘Having her at home with us is the only present we need.’
The family are hoping for more good news in the New Year.
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