Little Leia looking forward to first Christmas after two months in hospital

Ellie-Jae, Luke and LeiaEllie-Jae, Luke and Leia
Ellie-Jae, Luke and Leia
A BABY girl is set to celebrate her first Christmas at home with her family after undergoing multiple surgeries during an 11-week stay in hospital.

Little Leia was born on February 27 this year but began struggling with her feeds – choking a little and making loud noises while breathing – less than 24 hours after coming home with her family to Dinnington.

When Leia’s breathing worsened further, concerned parents Ellie-Jae (23), and Luke Bingham (also 23) rushed her to nearby Rotherham Hospital for urgent assessment.

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Leia’s inability to swallow meant she hadn’t properly fed for 16 hours and doctors tried to fit a tube so that food could pass directly into her stomach, which an x-ray revealed had failed due to the tube coiling.

Ellie-Jae, Luke, Noah-Billy, Aria Rose and Leia celebrating ChristmasEllie-Jae, Luke, Noah-Billy, Aria Rose and Leia celebrating Christmas
Ellie-Jae, Luke, Noah-Billy, Aria Rose and Leia celebrating Christmas

It was suspected Leia had Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula, a condition where the oesophagus and stomach are not properly connected.

Leia needed immediate specialist care and was transferred to Sheffield Children's Hospital, undergoing multiple operations to stretch her oesophagus and reconnect it to her stomach.

Many miles from their family home, Ellie-Jae and Luke were supported with a place to stay at The Sick Children’s Trust’s ‘Home from Home’, Magnolia House, located minutes from the hospital.

Ellie-Jae said: “We were in complete shock.

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Poorly Leia in ICUPoorly Leia in ICU
Poorly Leia in ICU

“We couldn’t comprehend what was happening or what our new-born daughter was going through. “We spent that first night on camp beds at the hospital, but we were panicking about how we were going to stay with our daughter.

“Magnolia House made such a massive difference to us.”

Halfway through Leia’s treatment she was stable enough to return home.

But a few days later she started struggling breathing again and Luke had to perform CPR on Leia for a minute and 40 seconds before he was able to bring her back.

Ellie-Jae said: “It was the most terrifying thing we have ever experienced.

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“We were rushed back to hospital where Leia was diagnosed with Covid, rhinovirus and chicken pox - a combination that had a devastating impact on her health.

“She was given oxygen and remained in hospital for the rest of her treatment, and we were once again supported by Magnolia House.

“After 11 weeks in hospital, Leia was finally discharged home and six months later, she is our special bundle of joy.

“It’s been a roller coaster year, definitely the hardest we’ve been through, so we’re really excited for Leia’s first Christmas!

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“We normally celebrate Christmas big in the Bingham household, but we’ll be going even bigger this year.

“We’ll be spending Christmas at home as a family of five for the first time and I simply cannot wait.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the amazing support we received from The Sick Children’s Trust.”

Magnolia House manager Ann Wyatt said: “We’re so pleased we could support Ellie-Jae and Luke throughout Leia’s time in hospital and it’s wonderful to hear how well she has been doing at home.

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“We hope they all have a magical Christmas together this year.

“All ten of our ‘Homes from Home’ will be supporting families, like Leia’s, while their seriously ill children are in hospital over the festive period.”