Parents stay strong for ‘warrior’ Dex

Donna Cunliffe and Andy Stillings with baby Dexter and three-year-old Pixie
Donna Cunliffe and Andy Stillings with baby Dexter and three-year-old Pixie

From the hospital cotside of a baby boy who was born with a hole in his heart, a mother has spoken of her pain on the day she kissed her son goodnight.

But, Donna Cunliffe, 40, of Stainland, says her four-month-old son, Dexter Jack Stillings, is a little fighter and gives her the strength to keep going.

Little Dexter in hospital

Little Dexter in hospital

The mum-of-two and Dexter’s dad Andy Stillings, 44, say their son’s breathing was not right from birth but was toldDexter had jaundice.

Eventually, a doctor told Donna she could hear “whooshing” on Dexter’s heart. After three chaotic nights in Calderdale Royal Hospital, Dexter was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary after suffering lungproblems.

“The medics all crowded round him and he was rushed to theatre it was horrifying,” said Donna.

Little Dexter underwent two blood transfusions and was kept alive on a ventillator and Donna and Andy were told their son’s heart vein was plummed to the wrong side - affecting his blood flow and oxygenation.

“We could finally breath when Dexter was put on the ventillator as we knew that would support him,” she said.

But their anguish wasn’t over. Dexter, with his dad by his side, on October 19, was flown to Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, where they specialise in pulmonary hypertension. They were told the hypertension was due to an unformed vein of Galen.

Dexter then underwent an operation to glue the vein but, since then his parents, who are living at nearby the Sick Children’s Trust charity accommodation, say life has been a whirlwind.

“After the operation, he suffered a bleed on the brain and a hemorrhage. We were told we would be lucky if he returned from theatre so went to kiss him goodnight as we didn’t know what his fate would be,” said Donna.

On November 5, Dexter was moved from intensive care to a high dependency unit.

“We’ll be strong for Dexter whatever the outcome - his bravery inspires us,” she said.

Donna and Andy say they just wish to return home with Dexter in time for Christmas with Donna’s three-year-old daughter Pixie, who she says she misses so much.

In appreciation of the charity that is supporting them, Donna’s nieces Vicky Edwards and Amy-Leigh Mundy, both 22, are holding a charity fundraiser at the Duke of York pub, Stainland, on Saturday, November 22, from 2-6pm.

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