It’s been a difficult six months for first-time parents Emma and Wayne Bates from Burnley, England.
After trying for 10 years to have a baby, they finally saw that dream come true on Oct. 8, 2019, when Erin was born. But doctors had some devastating news following that incredible event: their daughter had a rare heart condition called tetralogy of Fallot, which sees patients suffer from a combination of four different heart defects at once.
As a result, little Erin underwent open-heart surgery in December at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, and has been in recovery ever since. You can see the little fighter and Wayne snuggling together in this photo shared by Emma on Facebook.
Despite making it through so many health challenges already in her short life, Erin still had another fight she was about to face.
During the second week of April, Emma and hospital doctors noticed that the 6-month-old girl was uncomfortable and her temperature had spiked. Following a test for the new coronavirus, Emma and Wayne found out their tiny daughter had COVID-19.
“It’s hard to believe that my baby could go through so much in her short life,” Wayne told the Lancashire Telegraph at the time. “It’s all very hard to digest now … it feels more like I’m just watching this all as it happens to someone else. If my child dies now, I won’t be allowed near her as I have to stay in isolation at home. I won’t be allowed to go to the hospital.”
While Wayne waited at home, Emma isolated in the hospital room with Erin. Although Emma never showed symptoms of COVID-19 and was never tested, doctors told her she was likely to have it as well.
“It’s been very lonely. I couldn’t have my husband there,” Emma told “Good Morning America.” “I’ve been frightened … some days she had good days and other days she had really bad days. It was the unknown of where Erin was going to go with this virus.”
The family was due some good news — and they finally got it. Doctors told the parents that Erin had survived COVID-19 and they even gave her a special honor guard to mark the occasion. On April 24, staffers at Alder Hey lined the halls of the hospital and clapped as Erin’s crib was wheeled out of her isolation room. The moment was caught on video and shared by the hospital on Facebook.
“Today, little Erin beat COVID-19 after testing negative,” the hospital wrote in its Facebook post. “She is still being treated for other conditions at Alder Hey, but is making good progress.”
Erin will reportedly have to stay in the hospital for up to six more months until she’s strong enough to breathe on her own. Sadly, Wayne won’t be able to see his daughter in person until she’s fully recovered and can go home, but Emma says they realize it’s the right thing to do.
“We FaceTime him every day,” she told “Good Morning America. “He’s really missing her but he understands why. We’ve got to try to protect the nurses and protect the people and patients inside the hospital so we understand why the rules are in place.”
To try to help them get through this draining situation, the family set up a GoFundMe page that has raised more than $12,000 in just a week. Emma thanked all the donors in a Facebook post on April 23, writing that “all the donations mean I can stay by Erin’s side and not have to worry about how we are going to survive.”
Here’s hoping for an easier road for this little family in the coming months!