Sophie has shared her heart-warming story about her baby daughter Violet and how the NHS went above and beyond to create lasting memories for her family. 


Sophie's story

My name is Sophie and this summer I’m celebrating my daughter Violet, our bright shining light, and the 11 days we had with her.Young patient in cardiology department at St Michael

On Sunday 24th May, three days before my scheduled induction, Violet entered the world screaming away and a very healthy shade of pink. What we already knew was that there was a problem with Violet’s heart. When I was 20 weeks pregnant, Violet was diagnosed with a condition affecting the development of the left side of her heart. Other than her heart, she was completely perfect.

No-one could predict her life expectancy. It was scary, as there are very few palliative stories shared by parents, but no one said how truly wonderful the time with her would be.

She soon became Violet, a person in her own right.

Cardiology department at St MichaelWith the help of the cardiology team at St Michael’s Hospital, plans were made. I’m so grateful to our nurse, Jess, for keeping me sane. Together we decided that I should write a bucket list of memorable moments, including getting home and meeting her Great-Grandma, and the team would help me to fulfil it.

Violet’s condition meant that she could only travel home in an ambulance. Despite their best efforts it was unlikely we would get home in time to meet her Great-Grandma, due to a bank holiday. The team were so upset. Throughout the day we had regular checks from doctors, but she amazed everyone and was just like any healthy newborn. That evening, I received the news I was waiting for; we were going home! I can clearly remember the look on the midwife’s face, the PPE couldn’t hide the glimmer in her eyes. It was obvious that she was beaming.

The entire team had volunteered to get us home to South Wales. I couldn’t believe it, their kindness was humbling.

Against all the odds, we managed to get baby Violet home to meet her Great-Grandma and have four generations at home under one roof. The time at home with Violet was wonderful and full of special and memorable moments. The sun shone every day of her life, she never once saw rain. We managed an awful lot: we were both Christened in the garden, with family and friends watching online, we clapped for carers, went to the park, celebrated Gran’s birthday and had a photoshoot in the garden. Bucket list complete.

Mum with baby making moments that matterAfter 11 incredible days, Violet passed away peacefully in my arms, just three hours after her Great-Grandma. I truly believe that Violet was loaned to us to teach us a lesson: to show us to look for the good things in ourselves and to see the kindness of people around us. I wouldn’t change a single thing about our story, but I wish we could go back to page one and do it all over again! A year later, we were joined by her little brother Arthur and while he didn’t get the chance to meet Violet, we know that she is always with him.

Thanks to the help of the team at St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol, we were able to be together as a family, at home creating memories. There really isn’t an eloquent way to say how grateful we are for what they did for us. Their selfless actions, reassurance, and kindness gave us the most precious gift: time and the opportunities to make memories.


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