A BRAVE tot underwent lifesaving open heart surgery at just four months old after being born with a hole in the vital organ.
New mum Laurie Anderson carried son James to full term knowing that the major operation was inevitable after being given the devastating diagnosis at her 20-week scan.
Laurie, 29, and partner Daniel Moir, 31, were told their beautiful boy was suffering from a congenital heart condition known as tetralogy of Fallot and required a gruelling seven-hour surgery to survive.
The life-saving procedure was recently carried out by a team of highly skilled specialists at Glasgow Children’s Hospital - and the youngster has amazed medics with his incredible fortitude and recovery.
Proud mum Laurie told the Glasgow Times: “James is our little hero. He’s battled through so much at such a young age and we are all amazed at how quickly he has recovered after surgery.
“He was only four-months-old when he had the op and his heart team can't believe his progress. He really is a little fighter, we are just in awe of him.”
Laurie admits her pregnancy was a fraught one after discovering that James would be faced with such a serious health issue. The couple were told by medics that open heart surgery was their son's only hope of pulling through.
She explained: “From the moment we found out something was wrong, we were consumed with fear and doubts. It was in the back of my mind that something could go wrong at any point, but thankfully his birth went smoothly.
"I was initially told medics would operate on him straight away, but he did really well and managed to reach the four-month mark before having to go in."
The life-saving procedure was carried out on July 27. Despite knowing their little boy was in the hands of the country's top surgeons, the couple admit they were gripped by worry.
Laurie said: “The day of our son's surgery was the worst of our lives; every minute felt like an hour, but the staff promised to call us as soon as he was out of theatre so we would know he was safe. All we could think about being reunited with James.
"We first saw him in ICU and I am so glad to say it was not as scary as I had imagined. His nurse there explained every machine that was attached to him and that made us feel like he was in safe hands. James left ICU after only 18 hours and spent the rest of his time in hospital on a ward.
"The toughest day for me was the one after his operation. I almost felt numb; I should have been so happy that this massive life-threatening surgery was over and he was okay, but I couldn’t shake this strange feeling.
"The senior nurse explained that since the 20-week scan I had subconsciously prepared for the worse, for us to lose our baby, and now that he was recovering, my body and my brain couldn’t comprehend that. She really helped me deal with my emotions and I slowly began to relax and realise we had come out the other side and our boy was fixed.”
James, who is now seven-months-old, continues to make great progress and as a thank you to the incredible staff, the couple have raised £3,350 for the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.
Laurie and Daniel, who were based in Glasgow for the surgery but are now in Aberdeen, added: “The hospital and staff saved our boy's life, and we will forever be indebted to the team there."
Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity has invested over £41m in vital projects and support services for young patients, their families and the NHS staff who care them.
Children like James have benefited from the recent purchase of a state-of-the-art fetal scanner funded by the efforts of Barclays employees. The ultra-high resolution scanning equipment is worth £96,000 and detects heart issues before birth at the Royal Hospital for Children.
Kirsten Watson, CEO of Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “For 20 years we’ve been there to support families when a child is taken to hospital. Equally, we are here to support the amazing NHS staff who help families like James’ through some of their toughest times.
“When the people we’ve helped then decide to fundraise for us, it’s amazing to see. The money raised will help future families through projects like our Play Programme, which keeps wee ones distracted and at ease during their hospital stays.
“I just want to say thank you to Laurie and Daniel for raising such an incredible sum.”