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26th November 2011

Isabella Grace our beautiful baby girl was born on the morning of Saturday the 26th November 2011 at Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax. Despite being 6 weeks premature Isabella was a healthy weight.

For the next 11 days, Isabella remained at Calderdale in the Special Care Baby Unit. She was progressing well, taking her feeds and gaining weight.

7th December 2011

We were able to bring our beautiful daughter home. Isabella was at home for 24 days. Throughout those days she brought us so much happiness and joy.

We could never have imagined the impact Isabella was going to have on our lives.

Isabella's first Christmas was drawing ever closer.

22nd December 2011

On the morning of the 22nd, Isabella appeared to be unwell. She had been sick and she was unable to keep her morning feed down. Isabella was displaying cold like symptoms, runny nose and sneezing. In addition to this Isabella's mouth and nose smelt strange, it was like an acidic smell.

That morning after seeking advice from the Special Care Baby Unit at Halifax, Isabella was rushed to Calderdale Accident and Emergency. Isabella was seen by doctors and remained in hospital for half a day. The diagnosis being that Isabella had some form of viral infection.

25th December 2011

Isabella's first Christmas.

As a family we enjoyed our first Christmas together and Isabella received many beautiful gifts from family and friends.

Isabella's first Christmas was captured on video, these will be memories that as a family we shall treasure forever.

However, Isabella still appeared to have some form of a cold.

Never did we envisage that this would be Isabella's first and only Christmas with us.

26th December 2011

Isabella spent the day with family and friends.

The next couple of nights Isabella appeared to be restless at night and she found it difficult to settle. She was not crying but awake and still suffering from the signs of a cold. She had however now started to develop a dry cough which was the main reason for her not settling. Isabella's breathing sounded wheezy.

30th December 2011

The day didn't start well. Isabella still had cold like symptoms, sneezing, a slight runny nose and a dry cough. In addition to this Isabella had been sick bringing her early morning feed back.

At dinnertime she was able to take her full feed and kept this down. In the evening when friends visited her, Isabella became agitated.

This would usually mean that she wanted feeding, a nappy change or a cuddle. None of this worked, she would not settle for mummy, daddy or her friends.

Isabella's temperature was taken. This was within the normal parameters and did not reveal anything untoward. We tried to feed Isabella, within a few minutes she was sick and brought all her milk back up. We just thought that Isabella had a cold and it was her bodies way of dealing with her being unwell.

We contacted the NHS Direct number, after a short consultation with a Doctor, they urged us to get Isabella to Hospital urgently. Isabella was crying for a few minutes then would go very quiet, cry and then go very quiet. Her limbs such as arms and legs appeared not to be as responsive and she just wanted to rest with her eyes closed.

Isabella was rushed to the Calderdale Royal Accident and Emergency. Isabella was seen immediately by a triage nurse, then a Senior Doctor.

During this process Isabella's facial appearance changed. The area around her mouth and lower part of her nose was starting to turn Blue. Isabella was given Oxygen through the form of a mask and immediately transferred to the Children's Paediatric ward at Calderdale.

Isabella's heart rate was dangerously high and she was crying and extremely agitated. This was totally out of character for our little girl to react like this. As her parents we were extremely worried.

Whilst Isabella was waiting to be seen by a Senior Paediatrician, she started turning Blue again. The doctor immediately took Isabella into a side room. As her parents we could see the concern on the doctor's face. He turned to us and said I think it is Bronchiolitis but I can't rule out Meningitis.

We were in total shock that Isabella's cold like symptoms could lead to something as serious as this. For the next 20 minutes or so, as parents we went through a range of emotions.

The doctor informed us that he was going to test Isabella for Bronchiolitis. He would do this by placing a suction tube up her nose and remove a small amount of Mucus for analysis. We would know within the space of 20 minutes if it was Bronchiolitis.

We looked at one another and thought what is Bronchiolitis? We had never heard of this condition, the only suspicion we had is that it affected Isabella's ability to breath.

The doctor returned and diagnosed Isabella with Bronchiolitis. As her parents we were relieved. Once a doctor gives you a diagnosis there is a general perception that they could give Isabella the medication she needed and everything would be ok.

Isabella was placed on a machine called a CPAP. This was like a little hat that was placed on her head and tied on. An attachment was then placed on the front of the hat and 2 Plastic tubes went up her nose. This device was to try and blow air into her airways and open up the severely inflamed airways.

31st December 2011

In the early hours of New Year's Eve it was apparent that Isabella's condition was detoriorating. Isabella remained on the CPAP medication, her heart rate was going up and her oxygenation levels were dropping.

At 0400 hours that morning, every parent's worst nightmare. Isabella's heart stopped beating and she stopped breathing. We were quickly ushered from the room. We can't begin to explain how we felt at that moment, our world was falling apart.

The baby girl we had dreamed of was fighting for her life. Every available, Consultant, doctor and nurse ran into where Isabella was being treated. For 5 minutes we heard nothing from Isabella's room, we hoped and prayed that the doctors would be able to revive her.

A nurse came from the room. Isabella was fighting with unbelievable determination. She had managed to start breathing without the aid of any equipment. Isabella was extremely poorly and was fighting for her life but she showed so much strength, courage, bravery, grit and determination.

The doctors came to speak to us and stated that Isabella would need to be intubated. This would mean that Isabella would have to go to surgery and have a tube placed down her throat. She would be placed into an artificial sleep the tube would breathe for her and this would be connected to a life support machine.

Doctors stated that this would give Isabella the chance to rest and fight the Bronchiolitis. This procedure was not without risk or complication.

Isabella was taken to theatre at 0615.

It was just before 0830, the nurse who had escorted us to theatre reappeared. Isabella had survived the procedure however not without complication. During this procedure she had suffered a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) to her right side. Isabella was stable and we were able to see our beautiful daughter.

As soon as we walked into theatre Isabella had a tube coming from her mouth which was connected to the ventilator. Her tiny body was a mass with various wires which were measuring her blood pressure, oxygen levels, heart rate and breathing.

Whilst Isabella was stable we awaited news as to where we would be transferred to. We found out fairly soon that Isabella would be going to the LGI Ward 2, Children's Paediatric Intensive Care unit.

Whilst Isabella was stabilised we awaited the specialist team who were going to transfer Isabella. Embrace are a specialist team in transporting critically ill patients. Isabella would be transported by a specialist ambulance to Leeds.

We were not able to travel with the ambulance or follow it, so we decided to leave first to get ahead and make our way to Leeds.

Isabella arrived at the same time we did.

It was at this location that Isabella would remain for the next 40 days. As a family this was the beginning of a journey that was the most upsetting, turbulent, stressful and emotional days of our lives.

It was sadly in this environment we became aware of just how special and unique Isabella was.

Isabella's strength was inspiring. For such a little girl she was able to break through medicines such as Midazolam, Vecuronium, Morphine, Choral and other medicines that the doctors were giving.

Sadly in the final weeks, Isabella suffered 5 collapsed lungs which required 5 chest drains, 5 blood transfusions, 2 heart scans and a head scan. On 2 occasions Isabella needed resuscitating. We never gave up hope. For a little girl she took everything in her stride.

We faced the heartache of every major organ working correctly in Isabella's body and sadly her lungs were letting her down.

7th February 2012

Isabella's lungs were not getting better and not responding to treatment given by the doctors. Sadly, the news every parent never wants to hear. The doctors were unable to help Isabella any further. Family and friends came to see Isabella to say goodbye.

8th February 2012

In the early hours of the morning, in the arms of her mummy and daddy. Our beautiful baby girl, Isabella Grace went to sleep.

Isabella Grace, loved by all and touched the hearts of many.

Twinkle twinkle little star do you know how loved you are?

Isabella Grace Senior, Officially the Brightest star in the sky.