A BABY, who became Britain's youngest-ever person to have open heart surgery just minutes after being born, is recovering after a series of life saving operations.
Doctors feared little Chanel Murrish, from Seaham, County Durham, was unlikely to survive and twice offered her parents a termination.
But mum and dad Fay and Micheal Murrish refused to give up on their daughter after an ultrasound scan during the pregnancy showed their baby giving a thumbs-up.
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Chanel had her first operation to place a stent in her heart minutes after she was born weighing 7lb at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
She underwent a second operation at just seven days and is now aged five weeks.
Mrs Murrish, 24, said: “Chanel has proved she is determined to live. I’m so proud of her. The doctors say one-in-three-million babies are at risk of the same condition.
“I know she wanted to live because she was giving a huge thumbs-up at her scan. It was like she was telling us everything would be OK.”
The first operation kept her alive long enough to have the first operation for a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which meant only one half of her heart was beating.
Mrs Murrish had a straightforward pregnancy until her 20-week scan at Sunderland Hospital when she was told of her baby’s condition.
When the couple were referred to a specialist at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary they were offered their first termination.
Mrs Murrish said: “We were told Chanel could have operations but would only have a 50/50 chance of surviving the first and would need two more.
“Even then her life expectancy would only be to young adulthood and she would eventually need a heart transplant.
"But Chanel started kicking. There was no way I could have a termination.”
Later in the pregnancy doctors also found problems with the baby’s heart’s blood flow.
Mrs Murrish said: “The options were putting Chanel through the operations with a 20 per cent chance of survival, a termination or I could give birth to her and let her slip away peacefully.”
But Chanel survived her first surgery as well as a seven-hour operation seven days later.
Soon after, the couple’s sons, Chase, four, and Cole, 22 months, were able to meet their sister for the first time.
Mrs Murrish said: “For now we’re living in the moment and enjoying our beautiful baby daughter.”
The family has raised £2,000 for Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
To donate go to justgiving.com/user/36686711