The parents of a brave tot who cheated death are now making up for lost time with their daughter.
Little Annaiya Deol, one, was born with a hole in the heart so severe that doctors feared she wouldn’t last the night.
But the youngster underwent six major heart operations at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool in a desperate bid to save her life – and is now enjoying ice creams and family trips to the beach with mum Avneet, 24, and dad Sundeep, 29.
Sundeep, who lives on South Strand in Fleetwood, said: “Surgeons only come into your life for a few hours but they can change a life forever. What they have done for us is incredible. My daughter is now going to be able to grow up and have children and grandchildren of her own.
“God gives us these challenges for a reason.”
Annaiya, who was born a week early on June 16 last year weighing 7lb 3oz, was taken from her mother Avneet’s arms and rushed into intensive care minutes after being born, where she stayed in a critical condition for six weeks.
Sundeep said: “We couldn’t even hold her or change her nappy. We got to kiss her once and then we had to say good-bye to her. It was a very heartbreaking time. Annaiya had to be fed through a tube. Her oxygen levels were only around the 70 per cent mark.”
Annaiya underwent her first heart surgery at just two-weeks-old. A failed procedure to increase blood flow to her lungs left the tiny infant battling for her life, and her parents were warned to say their goodbyes to their little girl.
Sundeep said: “We didn’t eat all day and we were so worried about her.
“I got a text from my mum on the night saying ‘you need to come back right away’. Alarm bells started ringing.
“The doctors at that point didn’t know what had gone wrong.
“They came down and sat in front of us and said ‘do you want to say goodbye to your daughter, because this could be the last time you see her’. I went in to give her a kiss and she was blue.”
Avneet said: “Me and my husband both broke down in tears. To go to a baby you have given birth to and not even held properly and being told to say goodbye – you just think the worst. After six hours of intensive surgery, Annaiya pulled through. Several keyhole operations later, her parents were given the good news they had been praying for – their precious daughter could finally go home.
Anveet said: “She turned one on June 16 and it was great.
“We didn’t expect this day to come because of what she’s been through.”
Shop owner Sundeep said: “She’s a little cheeky thing. She’s very funny and cries ‘Dada’ and ‘Mama’ all the time.
“She’s trying to walk but she can’t because of all the surgeries she’s had, she’s been put back physically.
“She’ll need surgery once every two years until she’s 20, when she can actually have corrective surgery. But we know now she’s going to be OK.
“Getting back to normality has been fantastic.
“We feel elated that she is in a stable condition and we can take her out and sit her on our laps and be able to spent so much time with her.
“She can finally be a normal little girl.”