Despite spending countless years studying medicine along with decades of experience, sometimes doctors still have no way of explaining things. It’s not for a lack of trying or caring for the well-being of their patients. It’s simply that the human body and mind is complex and able to push beyond limitations.She came into the world at 29 weeks of gestation, weighing just two pounds.
When she went home to her parents Stephen, 34, and Amy, 31. Poppy also has older sister Elisha and big brother Alfie.
Moebius syndrome is a rare neurological condition affecting facial muscles. The inability to smile, frown, pucker up the lips, or the inability to raise the eyebrows are common traits.
The severity of this syndrome varies from patient to patient.
A lot of these kids have a difficult time eating and breathing.
“They said that she might not walk or talk, but she started walking at 15 months, which is quite average for a premature baby. It was amazing to see her doing all those things,” Stephen reveals.
“We managed to get her off her feeding tube around her first birthday and throughout 2016, she was just getting better every day,” Stephen says.
Days before Poppy turned two, her mom noticed something was off.
“We could feel her heartbeat, but she was unresponsive. We knew there was something seriously wrong,” Stephen recalls. “She was breathing but she was sort of gasping for air.”
Within two days, she seemed to be improving, prompting doctors to take her off the ventilator.
“Her eyes were starting to roll to the back of her head. A chest x-ray showed that her lungs were full of fluid and she had another respiratory arrest,” Stephen says.
But after an MRI, Stephen and Amy were given the devastating news. “When she came back from the scan, doctors took us into a side room and said she had severe hypoxic brain damage,” Stephen shares. “I asked if she was going to walk or talk again, but they said they didn’t even know if she was going to survive. When it started to sink it, it was heartbreaking.” Poppy was again transferred to the The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.
“We held her, but she was just staring right through us. I’ve never felt pain like that in my life. The heartache was unreal,” he admits.
Dads Orlando Mason, James Ingham, and Martin White got into talking and playing music one night when the idea popped up. “At first when Orlando suggested recording a festive CD I assumed he meant in time for Christmas next year,” James says. But time was of the essence and they wanted to help the family immediately.
James says, “he suggested getting the entire primary school to sing on one of the tracks too, just to keep things challenging.”
On Christmas Day, Elisha, 12, leaned over her sister and did something silly and unexpected. “That was the amazing moment when she laughed, as Macey blew a raspberry on her belly,” Stephen shares.
Poppy didn’t just laugh, she also responded in other ways. “Then there were little twitches on her arms and legs,” Stephen says. “Doctors said it could be spinal reflexes, but I felt like it was so much more.”
She re-learned to speak to the shock of doctors.
“We couldn’t believe it. It’s been just eight weeks. It’s incredible. She’s progressed so much,” Stephen admits.
The family is trying to raise money to fly Poppy to the Cosmosuit Rehabilitation Unit in Italy. “We want to get more physio for her earlier rather than later, because we think the sooner we do, the more of her mobility we can save,” her dad says. “She is still a little bit shaky, but I think she will be able to walk on her own and she’s already come so far. We just want to raise money to try and get her a bit more help and we don’t want to waste any time.”