‘Half-a-heart baby’ Sienna celebrates sixth birthday with a special party at home
4 years ago
Sienna Alfonso recently celebrated her sixth birthday with a special party at home as she couldn’t leave home due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The youngster from Hunts Cross was due to go and see The Night Garden Live with her favourite character from the show, Iggle Piggle.
But mum Francesca said: “We had a lovely party at home with family and we put up an old banner we had for her, along with some DIY decorations.
“We already had birthday cards and some toys I’d picked out a few weeks ago, and I set up her sensory tent in the house and put her new toys inside.”
She added: “Life is what you make of it, and so we made the most of being at home.
“I am so lucky that Sienna is here to celebrate it and it’s thanks to all the doctors and nurses who did so much for Sienna before and after she was born that we are able to do that at all.
“I am so grateful to them for all they have done, and still do for my little girl – and I hope when the coronavirus crisis is over, the NHS and its wonderful staff finally get all the credit they deserve for the incredible work they do.”
Among around 20 other conditions, Sienna was born with tricuspid atresia and pulmonary atresia, a congenital heart condition where there is no tricuspid valve.
The absence of the right atrioventricular connection leads to a hypoplastic (undersized) or absent right ventricle – or pumping chamber – which means it isn’t possible to properly oxygenate the blood in the body.
There were fears Sienna might not even have been born after it was discovered she had the condition when Francesca was 20 weeks’ pregnant. She has already undergone three major open-heart surgeries – and only came out of hospital again just a week ago after being treated for a chest infection.
Sienna goes to the Royal School for the Blind in Wavertree where staff include nurses, physiotherapists and speech therapists, and Sienna has access to a hydrotherapy pool and a sensory room to help her ongoing development.
Francesca said: “We have not been able to do everything we wanted but Sienna – and everyone – being safe is what matters right now.
“When she got out of hospital last week the kindness of people was overwhelming. The shops were empty and I struggled to get anything but the people’s thoughtfulness was incredible. Friends and family managed to get me some hand sanitizer and nappies – stuff that Sienna needs everyday.
“Sienna has been doing so well lately. She is even on a new trial for her endocrine condition, hyperinsulism, as the medication she’s been on since birth can give some nasty side effects.
“I am scared of this new coronavirus but I know she is safe at home. All her appointments have been cancelled but, because she is a such a complex child, the consultants have been having phone consultations with me instead so Sienna can stay at home and stay safe.
“I can’t believe Sienna is six is already. But I appreciate every day with her like I’ve always appreciated every day, every birthday and every milestone.
“Wherever we are, we can make memories that last a lifetime and that’s all that really matters in life.”