Festive wish came true for baby Matilda

A FAMILY which spent last Christmas keeping a hospital vigil after their newborn baby contracted a rare medical condition have told of their joy at her recovery.

Dave Gooderham

A FAMILY which spent last Christmas keeping a hospital vigil after their newborn baby contracted a rare medical condition have told of their joy at her recovery.

The relieved Powling family are looking forward to a joyful New Year with Matilda celebrating her first birthday and Christmas just weeks apart.

Her parents, Marcus and Nicky Powling , said this festive season would be very special and different to 12 months ago after their first child was only given a 50/50 chance of survival.


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Mr Powling said: “We spent last Christmas in West Suffolk Hospital, briefly popping home for some dinner, and then spending the rest of the day with Matilda.

“It didn't feel like Christmas at all but this year we're doing it properly. It felt like this was our first proper Christmas all together.”

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The couple, who live in Bury St Edmunds, were dealt a crushing blow months before Matilda was born when doctors found she was suffering from a rare condition which meant she had only a 50/ 50 chance of survival.

She had developed a diaphragmatic hernia which had squashed her lungs and caused her heart to shift position.

Mrs Powling was only 21 weeks pregnant when doctors told her the devastating news of the condition which meant that her unborn daughter's diaphragm did not develop properly during pregnancy.

As soon as Matilda was born at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge she was rushed straight into intensive care and underwent a critical operation just days later.

But since her dramatic ordeal, following her birth on December 4, she has made a remarkable recovery.

Earlier this year, Mr Powling paid a glowing tribute to Addenbrooke's and the West Suffolk Hospital, where his daughter was also treated.

Mr Powling, who works in the IT department at the West Suffolk, decided to thank medical staff by raising money for the two hospitals in a slightly unconventional way - dressing as a baby all day, complete with nappy, booties and a dummy.

He said: “Matilda is doing really well. We had a slight hiccup in August when she had a sickness bug and became dehydrated. She was sent to Addenbrooke's which was a bit worrying. But as soon as she arrived, she just had this big smile on her face.

“We can't wait to have a real family celebration this year. Matilda's first birthday brought it all flooding back and I am sure we will think about what we have been through. But we are really excited by the New Year and feel very lucky.”

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