A COUPLE say they have felt “every emotion” after discovering their first baby could have a dangerous heart defect and will need emergency surgery days after birth.

Lucy Nichols and Jake Lawrence were delighted when they found out they were expecting their baby girl, Rylee-Hope.

The couple, from Great Bentley, have been together for two years and baby Rylee-Hope was born last Thursday weighing 5lbs 6oz.

But 20 weeks into Lucy’s pregnancy, the couple discovered their baby had a potentially-dangerous heart defect.

Known as aortic coarctation, it restricts the amount of blood being pumped around the body.

As soon as baby Rylee-Hope is born, she was due to be whisked off for open-heart surgery.

Jake and Lucy, both 21, found out they were expecting their first child in January and at first there were no complications.

Jake said: “Following a routine scan at 20 weeks at Clacton Hospital, they found it difficult to look at her heart, so we were told we would be referred to a different hospital.

“About 24 hours later we were told we had an appointment at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital.

“The following day we found out about the coarctation and that she had a hole in her heart and we were going to have to go for regular heart checks.

“A few weeks later we were told as well as all the other symptoms, there maybe something wrong with her heart valves as well and that all maternity care was to happen in London, so that means a lot of travelling.”

When they found out, they were both distraught.

Jake said: “Almost every emotion piled into one, but we had hope and we knew we would get through anything thrown at our family and come out stronger


The couple are expecting to be in hospital for up to six months, as they fear it may be worse than it appears.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money to support Rylee and the family through the first few months of her life.

It is not known what impact the condition will have on Rylee-Hope as she grows up, but the couple want to give her the best start in life.

Visit gofundme.com/f/baby-rylee039s-support-fund.