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Heart surgery child's precious hug

PUBLISHED: 18:31 02 October 2008 | UPDATED: 14:45 07 July 2010

Emma Knights

A get well hug for their tiny child is what every parent wants to do when their son or daughter is sick.

But after brave little Tiana Mackay endured her third live-saving heart operation her parents Lisa King and Kevin Mackay were not able to comfort their little fighter with a cuddle for weeks.

A get-well hug for their tiny child is what every parent wants to do when their son or daughter is sick.

But after brave little Tiana Mackay endured her third live-saving heart operation, her parents Lisa King and Kevin Mackay unable to comfort

their little fighter with a cuddle for weeks.

So when they were finally able to hold nine-and-a-half-month-old Tiana, who has a rare heart condition, in their arms once more on September at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH,) it was a truly precious moment.

Miss King, 29, from Dereham, said: "Your instinct is to pick your child up and protect them. I just wanted to make Tiana feel that little bit better so it was hard not being able to give her a cuddle. It was the best feeling in the world when I was finally able to give her a hug again. We are making up for missing out on cuddles by having lots more now. Thank-you to the staff at GOSH. This is the third time they have saved her."

Mr Mackay, 36, said: "It was heart-warming cuddling Tiana again. It was a huge sense of relief because we had been told we might lose her again before the third operation. Just to be able to hold her and look into her eyes was wonderful.

"For nearly three weeks we could not cuddle her because she had so many tubes and drains in her. It felt alien to stand back and let everyone else look after Tiana, but we knew it was the best thing to do. During that time we comforted her by holding her hand and stroking her hair."

Tiana was born last December with two heart defects - a very rare one called Alcapa, where the coronary artery is in the wrong place, and mitral regurgitation, where the heart's mitral valve does not close tightly, stopping the blood from flowing efficiently through the heart and the body.

Her third operation on September 9 was to have her heart's mitral valve replaced after she developed an infection. Initially, it seemed the operation had been a complete success, but when Tiana was taken off her ventilator she took a turn for the worse and her breathing deteriorated severely.

She was put back on the ventilator but her condition continued to worsen. Doctors discovered she had a mass of blood on her right lung and had to fit a chest drain until the bleeding stopped.

Thankfully, little Tiana is now growing stronger and her parents cannot wait until they are allowed to take her home.

They know that as she grows up she will have to return to hospital every three years to have her mitral valve replaced, and every 15-20 years as an adult, but they are optimistic about the future.

Mr Mackay said: "She is full of fight and we are really proud of her. She had her first bottle of milk since

September 1 and her first solids since August. She ate lamb, carrot and rosemary which she enjoyed. It shows she is responding well and is on the road to recovery."

He added that the family had got great strength from the wealth of support people had shown them by visiting their website and sponsoring his parachute jump in August in aid of GOSH.

Nearly 1,700 people have added Tiana's website to their favourites and since early September there has been more than 3,000 visits to the site.

To visit Tiana's website go to www.bravetiana.co.uk

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