Little fighter paves way for mum to join support team

The Oxford Times: Jess Chapman with her parents Megan and Jon Picture: OX67285 Denis Kennedy Jess Chapman with her parents Megan and Jon Picture: OX67285 Denis Kennedy

JUST over a year ago, doctors told Megan and Jon Chapman their unborn baby had a 50 per cent chance of surviving.

Now, having survived an operation to move several of her internal organs, baby Jess has beaten all the odds.

Jess was born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH).

Her stomach, intestines, and small bowel were all in the place where her left lung should be, preventing it from developing properly.

As soon as she was born at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital on March 21, doctors rushed her away from her mum for six hours of scans.

Just 36 hours later, they had performed an operation to move her organs into the right place.

A year on, Mrs Chapman, 29, said: “They said she would never be an Olympian, but the way she is going she could prove them wrong.

“She is doing absolutely fantastically, you wouldn’t know anything was wrong except for the scar.”

Mrs Chapman, who lives in Wantage and works at Seacourt Tower, Botley, said Jess has not shown any of the common health problems associated with CDH, such as reflux, oral aversion (an inability to feed properly) or developmental issues.

She is going to Little Stars nursery in Harwell, near Didcot, and making lots of friends.

Her parents are now looking forward to healthier times for Jess, but they haven’t forgotten the charity which supported them for the 17 weeks before she was born, when they had no idea what was going to happen to their baby girl.

CDH UK provides support and essential information to expectant parents, new parents, and those who are bereaved.

Mrs Chapman said: “If I hadn’t found them I don’t know what we would have done.

“It was difficult enough even with their support, so without them I would have felt very alone.”

“The hospital were great but they offered no emotional support To show her gratitude, Mrs Chapman has become a family liaison volunteer for CDH UK in Oxfordshire.

She will organise family get-togethers and provide the same advice and support to families that she and her husband were given just over a year ago.

She said: “You can sometimes come away from hospital appointments not quite understanding what has been said.

“With CDH UK you can go and talk to people going through the same thing, which for us was great.”

On Saturday, Mrs Chapman held a fundraising gig at King Alfred’s Head pub in Wantage. Canadian rock duo Cherry Suede stopped by on their UK tour and performed with all profits going to CDH.

To help Mrs Chapman fundraise, visit mycharity page.com/megchap

CDH EXPLAINED

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia occurs in approximately one in 2,500 births and accounts for about eight per cent of all major congenital abnormalities

 ‘Congenital’ means born with

‘Diaphragmatic’ means of or affecting the diaphragm – the thin sheet of muscle that helps us to breathe and keeps our chest and stomach contents separate.

 ‘Hernia’ is a general term used to describe a ‘bulge’ or ‘protrusion’ of an organ, for example, the stomach, through the structure or muscle that usually contains it.

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