'She was blown up like a ball': Baby girl survives massive tumour removal thanks to risky liver transplant
6lb baby had 2lb growth on her liver
11:03 GMT, 26 April 2012
Recovering: Poppy has had a tough first year but is improving, according to mother Sophie
Holding your newborn baby is supposed to be one of the most magical moments of your life.
But a couple from Kendal were horrified when their daughter was born with a huge liver tumour that had remained undetected throughout the pregnancy.
Sophie and Steven Longcake only had a few seconds to hold their daughter Poppy before she was rushed to intensive care.
'She came out yellow, blown up like a
ball,' Mrs Longcake, 28, said.
'Everyone came running in to help. It was horrendous –
just horrific. I was given her to hold for ten seconds and then we were
told she was very poorly and probably wouldn’t make it.'
Thankfully Poppy defied the odds to survive and will celebrate her first birthday next month, but at her birth it was touch and go.
Poppy was born with a 2lb growth on her liver that was a third of her body weight.
Her parents waited in tearful
silence while doctors spent 12 hours trying to stabilise their child in
Furness General Hospital.
Poppy was transferred to Manchester
Royal Infirmary, then to Leeds where, at just three weeks old, doctors
operated to remove the tumour.
Her parents sat in a family room while surgeons performed the dangerous operation.
The procedure put Poppy under such strain, she needed two heart massages to keep it beating and was left with the brain disorder cerebral palsy. However, their tiny daughter clung to life.
Happy family: Poppy with big brother Hayden, 4, and parents Steven and Sophie
Sophie and Steven hoped Poppy’s fraction of remaining liver would survive enough to grow back, but it did not.
Medical staff suggested a risky liver transplant to give Poppy, who was less than five weeks old, a last chance of life.
Baby Poppy shortly after birth. She had a huge liver tumour
Sophie and husband Steven, 33, an inspecting officer for a power management firm, agreed. They understood their only daughter would be one of the youngest babies to have the procedure.
Sophie said: 'When we heard she was out and we could see her the relief was amazing, we just burst into tears.'
After four months in hospital, Poppy was finally allowed to go home and be with her parents and brother Hayden, four.
Despite needing daily physiotherapy, their daughter now shows signs of improvement.
Sophie said: 'We’re planning the best party we’ve ever had.
'I want Poppy to experience as much of life as she can – she’s earned it.'
Nine family and friends will cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats in September, to raise money for Leeds Children’s Hospital. Visit www.just giving.com/Poppysride