Leeds parents who feared unborn baby had heart disease tell of unexpected outcome

A Leeds couple who said doctors told them their unborn baby had congenital heart disease have pledged to continue to help other families after their daughter was unexpectedly born healthy.

Saturday, 20th March 2021, 6:00 am
Oliver and Rebecca Broome with their daughter Lilly.
Oliver and Rebecca Broome with their daughter Lilly.

Oliver and Rebecca Broome, of Wortley, say they are the "luckiest people on earth" and will continue fundraising for children with heart disease.

They were devastated after a 31 week scan at Leeds General Infirmary revealed a problem with baby Lilly's heart.

Oliver, 28, said they were told Lilly had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS).

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Lilly Broome

It is a rare type of congenital heart disease, where the left side of the heart doesn't develop properly and is too small.

"It felt like our world had ended, my wife and I were devastated and felt totally helpless," said Oliver.

Rebecca, also 28, said: "I just felt sad that I couldn't do anything for her. As a mum you do everything to protect your child."

Oliver said Lilly who is now aged two, was taken to intensive care after she was born on December 27 2018 and spent four nights at LGI while tests were carried out.

Oliver Broome pictured before and after his weight loss.

He said the couple were then told Lilly's heart was healthy.

Oliver said: "We were ecstatic. We just felt like a huge weight had been lifted off our shoulders. It felt like all our dreams had come true."

Rebecca said: "It was overwhelming. I was just so happy. I couldn't wait to get home and start our family life together."

Oliver, who weighed 23st when Lily was born, said he started exercising and dieting soon after.

Lilly Broome pictured in hospitral soon after being born

Oliver completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks in August 2020 and raised £1,000 for Little Hearts Matters, a charity which supports children with HLHS.

He has lost just under seven stone and now weighs 16st.

Oliver has a JustGiving page and is set to tackle the Lake District Ultra challenge by hiking 100km in under 24 hours on June 12 in aid of the Heartline Families charity.

"One of the big driving forces was wanting to be the best dad I could be," he said. " I wanted to lose weight for myself and I wanted to do it for Lilly.

"There are so many families that are still suffering and might not get this happy ending.

"I just felt like I wanted to do something for other people.

"Before having Lilly I was quite selfish. I felt like she has made me a better person and I want to give back to families that are suffering."

Dr Elspeth Brown, paediatric consultant cardiologist, at Leeds Children’s Hospital, said: ‘Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a condition where the left hand side of the heart is so small that it cannot adequately pump blood around the body after birth.

"This condition is now frequently diagnosed when babies are in the womb.

"In some cases it is very clear that the left hand side of the heart is so small that it will never work properly, however there are varying degrees of difference in size.

"In some cases the difference may turn out to be normal after birth but it is important that families are warned about the possibility of a serious condition if there is uncertainty during the pregnancy.

"We also know that sometimes narrowing may develop over the first few months of life.

"Because of this possibility, our specialist teams always see babies in this situation on a couple of occasions during the first year of life.

"We were very pleased to let Mr and Mrs Broome know that we had no concerns about Lilly’s heart having checked her after birth.

"The family’s commitment to fundraising and raising awareness of heart conditions in babies is fantastic, and we send Mr and Mrs Broome and Lilly our very best wishes."