My name is Minakshi Maru. I was born on November 16 1987 with a heart disease known as Tricuspid Atresia, which wasn’t diagnosed until I went into heart failure at three months old.

I had my first emergency surgery at that moment, after being rushed to Harefield Hospital. My surgeon was Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub who operated on me using the 'Fontan' procedure.

This delicate procedure is done by returning the de-oxygenated blood from the lower part of the body and diverting it directly to the pulmonary (lung) artery, without the blood have to pass through the heart's right ventricle. This can be achieved in several different ways, all of which connect the inferior vena cava directly to the lung artery, allowing the de-oxygenated blood to flow to the lungs, while the ventricle pumps the oxygenated blood to the body. The procedure relies on blood flowing to the lungs without the benefit of a pump.

After a successful operation, I had two more surgeries at the age of six and 12.

I got married in 2016, and with very careful planning, decided to have a baby after meeting with the cardiologists and gynaecologists at Royal Brompton Hospital. My antenatel care was at Chelsea and Westminster as myself and the baby had to be very carefully monitored. The baby was also given feotal echocardiograms (heart rhythm tests) to ensure that her heart was healthy.

Five months into my pregnancy, I was told that my baby wasn’t a big feotus, but it was put down to the fact that I had a heart condition and a small frame. We booked another growth scan and my little baby still hadn’t grown after two months. So, the decision came for me to have an emergency cesarean section at 28+6 weeks. My little baby Riya was born 12 weeks premature, weighing 636 grams.

I am a happily married mother of one, and thanks to Harefield Hospital, I was able to continue my life and fulfil all my goals and wishes. I have every hope that if in the future I need any more surgeries, I am in safe hands. But until then, I get to watch my family grow.

- Minakshi