Tragedy as premature baby too small for life-saving heart surgery dies in her mother’s arms

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At three pounds, Baby Annie was too small to operate on (Photo: Wales Online)

A premature baby born two small for life-saving heart surgery has died in her mum’s arms.

Little Annie Steven was born with two holes in her heart and desperately needed surgery but was too small to operate on.

She was born at 34 weeks on October 28, Annie weighing only three pounds – nearly half the weight of her twin brother, Henry.

Doctors also thought Baby Annie had Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome (SLOS), a rare genetic development disorder which affects many parts of the body.

She needed three blood transfusions to stay alive, with her family campaigning tirelessly to encourage people to give blood, Wales Online reports.

But sadly Annie caught an infection while in hospital in Cardiff and died on Wednesday afternoon.

Annie was born with two holes in her heart and needed life-saving surgery in Bristol

Henry, her twin, weighed nearly double Annie’s weight when he was born (Photo: Wales Online)

But at three pounds, Baby Annie was too small to operate on

Kirsty Coles, 37, Annie’s mother, and her partner, Tom Steven, 47, were with her for her last moments.

She said: “I think she had just got tired of fighting. Me and Tom were with her at the end just as we were when she came into the world.

“All of Annie’s tubes and lines were removed, I held her close on my chest and Tom held us both.

“I hummed the song, Lazy Bones, to her – something I did every time she came out of the incubator for a cuddle.

“I wanted to make sure that Annie knew it was me and she was loved so very much and she was safe in my arms.

“We had around five minutes with her before she drifted off to her forever sleep. It was a very special moment for us.”

Her family now want to use the money raised on an online fundraising page to try and help another premature baby in intensive care on the neonatal ward at the University Hospital of Wales by buying an incubator.

Kirsty’s aunt, Brenda Bruford, set up the page to try and help the family through the difficult time – and asked for donations to the fund instead of presents for herself and her husband’s birthdays, which were both in December.

Annie was born with two holes in her heart and needed life-saving surgery in Bristol (Photo: Wales Online)

She managed to help raise over £1,500 which will now help their family – and hopefully the family of another baby too.

Baby Annie also needed three blood transfusions to stay alive – and her family asked everyone to donate blood

Kirsty added that fundraising efforts for next year are already underway.

Memories that will last forever: Parents’ heartbreaking photos with 1lb daughter moments after she passed away

She said: “We have been fundraising for Annie but we are going to continue into the new year.

“We will initially be raising money for the Tiny Lives campaign to buy much needed equipment for the ward Annie was in. We will then continue fundraising for those who find themselves in a similar situation to myself and Tom and want to help them as everyone has helped us.

Annie was extremely premature (Photo: Wales Online)

“It’s important to us that we thank everyone that helped Annie; doctors, nurses, medical staff at the hospital as well as all of the friends, family and complete strangers who have donated to Annie’s fund, given blood and sent messages of support.

“Our continued fundraisers will all be under #anniesrainbows.”

“My sister’s friend, Lianne Davies, along with others, ran a cake sale in Barry and the support was amazing. They are currently running a raffle and once again the communities have been more supportive than we ever could have wished for.

“My sister, Stacey, has organised a team to run the Cardiff 10k in April, all for #anniesrainbows, and lots have already signed up to run with her, myself included.

“It’s so important to us that people keep supporting through different ways – yes, great if you can make donations, please do, but we also want to ensure that people keep giving blood and pass the message on as to how important that is.

She died in her mother’s arms (Photo: Wales Online)

“When Annie was first born we found the experience quite isolating as well as traumatic – because we were spending every day in the hospital we weren’t getting to see our family and friends to celebrate the twins’ arrival like a normal family would.

“But the people who have taken the time and effort to send us thoughts and wishes have made us feel part of a new community. It’s heart-warming and a great comfort.

“We will be planning a party in the new year to celebrate Annie and will be inviting everyone who has followed Annie’s journey. I’d like to meet and say thank you to everyone that has supported us.”

And Kirsty will now pass on a special edition of Annie’s favourite book, The Velveteen Rabbit, to her brother, Henry.

She said: “I made sure I read it to her and it will be now passed on to her twin, Henry, so Annie can be with him all of the time.”