Joshua is our kind, loving, clever and very hilarious 6-year-old son who makes us laugh every day! He is like any other little boy but the difference is each of his scars has a story to tell. A story of a brave, courageous and determined little boy with the inner strength to want to survive from the minute he was born. A story of six months in hospital where medical staff fought endlessly to save his life and 19 weeks in intensive care. Six cardiac arrests, three life-saving heart operations, two bowel operations, 16 blood transfusions and endless tests, injections and medical equipment that kept him alive. Most importantly his story is a story of hope. We quickly discovered that without hope, you have nothing.

We waited eight years for Joshua to come into our lives. We had seven rounds of IVF and when we thought all hope had been lost, on our final attempt our little miracle happened! Everything was going well until our 20-week scan when we were told that our baby had a problem with his heart. Scans at Royal Brompton revealed he had a coarctation of the aorta and an ASD/VSD. He would need surgery after birth and we were told whatever you do don’t have him early as he needs to be as big as possible! Unfortunately, my waters broke at 25 weeks and Joshua was born three weeks later. 

Born at 28 weeks, weighing just 2lb 7oz and in a very poorly condition, he suffered four cardiac arrests in the first hours of his life and doctors told us to expect the worst. Luckily Joshua pulled through and we found ourselves transported to a world within a world. A world that no family ever chooses to be part of but one which you find yourself in. Life changing in so many ways as you quickly get to understand what is truly important in life and what life looks like in its barest form. It’s a world where you meet some incredible people and you have no idea of how much all these people will leave an imprint on your heart forever.

Joshua’s first heart operation was pioneering surgery as that type of operation had never been performed before on a baby that small. By him surviving the operation he has now opened up new opportunities for premature babies in the future. Following his last open heart surgery we were told that they had no idea whether he would ever be able to breathe or feed on his own as he had always been reliant on apparatus and equipment. We were also told to prepare for brain damage due to the number of cardiac arrests, brain bleeds and oxygen that he had.

Well, six years on we have a son that lives an active life, eats us out of house and home and is thriving at school! In the doctors own words “he is a walking miracle!” Joshua still suffers with chronic lung disease due to prematurity and will continue to have his heart and lungs monitored as he grows up.

How do you say thank you to the people that saved your child’s life? No words or actions will ever be enough for giving us the chance to be a family. His surgeon Mr Ghez said we could say thank you by giving Joshua lots of experiences and opportunities to make the most of the life he had been given and fought so hard to keep hold of and that’s what we have done! 

We continue to tell his story to give hope to others and to give praise to the NHS. The Charity made a video of his amazing story and have used his photos to help them raise much-needed funds for various projects. To say thank you for his help, the Charity recently arranged for him to watch and meet the Chelsea Football Club first team. A special day to remember for Joshua and his daddy!