‘It will be the best Christmas ever, now our baby’s home’

Andy Stillings and Donna Cunliffe with their children Dexter and Pixie.
Andy Stillings and Donna Cunliffe with their children Dexter and Pixie.

A couple who have spent months at the hospital bedside of their poorly little boy are looking forward to the best Chritmas present ever - after the tot has been allowed home.

The parents of six-month-old Dexter Jack, who was born with a hole in his enlarged heart and a vein malformation, say they could not be happier to be at home with their baby boy who nearly didn’t live to see Christmas.

Donna Cunliffe and Andy Stillings, of Stainland, have had their lives turned upside down as the critically ill child was moved between Calderdale Royal Hospital, Leeds General Infirmary and Great Ormond Street in London since he was born.

At one point the anguished parents kissed their baby farewell, not knowing what his fate would be after he suffered a brain haemorrhage and bleed after a major operation.

The brave tot, whose heart vein is plummed to the wrong side, was flown to the London hospital for specialist treatment for pulmonary hypertension - caused by an abnormal connection between a vein and arteries which supply the brain with blood - but defied all the odds to battled through.

“They were some of the longest hours of our lives - we just clung on to the thought of being at home for our first Christmas with Dexter,” said Donna, 40

Now all their Christmases have come at once say the couple as they spend Christmas at home all together with Donna’s three-year-old daughter Pixie.

“This is what we’ve been so looking forward to - being at home and doing our own little thing as a family.

“Pixie has missed us - it’s just wonderful to all be together for Christmas,” said Donna.

The couple say they will spend the festive period watching Christmas films and snuggling on the sofa - just as how they had always imagined Christmas would be.

Andy, 44, said he was over the moon now that his newborn son is home and both say Dexter is more relaxed now he is out of hospital.

“It’s going to be the best Christmas ever,” said Andy.

“We know it’s not going to be a long and tough journey ahead of us but we will just deal with it, as long as we have one another,” he said.

Donna and Andy are unsure of the extent of long lasting physical damage caused by the hemorrhage and say the New Year will involve numerous trips to hospitals but for now, they say they’re not thinking about the future too much and will make the most of their first Christmas with baby Dexter and sister Pixie.

To follow Dexter’s progress see facebook page ‘Dexter Jack Stillings Heart Warrior’ where you can find a justgiving link.