In The Stars
The story of a little girl who has inspired so many to help Great Ormond Street Hospital.
The day we met
Eva was born at Ipswich hospital on the 31st May 2017 at 6:44am after a very quick labour, the labour was in-fact so quick that the team at Ipswich Hospital didn’t get a chance to give me an epidural & I managed on a few breaths of gas & air.
Although Eva arrived ahead of schedule & a bit on the petite side, she was a gorgeous little girl. For Dan & I, Eva was the perfect addition to our family & we looked forward to introducing Eva to her big brother. Dan & I had spent the months prior to Eva’s birth reading our little boy books to help him understand that he would soon be a big brother & have a little brother or sister. In the days after Eva was born, family & friends came to visit and presents & cards filled our family home.
Due to complications in the last couple of months of the pregnancy, once Eva was born she was quickly moved from the Maternity Ward at Ipswich Hospital to the Special Care Baby Unit to be kept an eye on.
I stayed with Eva during the next few days having cuddles & feeds, however on the morning of 6th June 2017 it became noticeable that Eva was becoming unwell. During that day Ipswich Hospital was receiving medical advice from Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, however as the day went on Eva’s condition became more serious.
The decision was then made to transfer Eva via the Acute Neonatal Transfer Service to Norfolk & Norwich Hospital. The team had struggled for a few hours to stabilise Eva enough to move her, however eventually managed to create an hour window in which to go. Dan accompanied Eva in the ambulance as they raced to Norwich on the blue light.
Eva spent the next 9 days in Norwich with Dan & I by her side. I spent the days & nights reading & singing to Eva to comfort & reassure her.
Eva was a fighter, she managed to overcome a serious illness while at Norwich hospital, however it had also become apparent to the medical team during this time that she also had what they believed to be an incurable kidney disease.
Our home, Great Ormond Street Hospital
The decision was then made to transfer Eva once again with Dan, this time to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Eva, Dan & I called Eagle Ward home for the next 26 weeks, whilst Eva’s big brother was looked after back home by his Nanny & Granddad.
The days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months. But we kept going. We made a promise that one of us would always be with Eva, we never broke that promise.
Eva only ever got to leave hospital & venture outside a few times in her short life, however these are some of our most cherished memories. The second of these occasions is one of Dan’s favourite memories. They walked to the park not far from the hospital on a lovely sunny afternoon & just sat peacefully. Dan has said that he sat watching Eva’s concentration & the amazement on her face as she watched the leaves blowing in the trees. It had dawned on Dan that Eva had been watching this intently for twenty minutes & that he had been watching her with wonder for the same amount of time. Eva had up to this point always been staring at the white ceiling tiles in the hospital, so the beautiful blue sky with the green & brown leaves blowing in the wind, with the sun beaming through, must have seemed magical to her.
A memory that I hold dear was of an evening when Eva had had a particularly hard day. A harpist who donated his time came into our room and played a beautiful bedtime lullaby of children’s nursery rhymes all merged together, (including twinkle twinkle little star). The melody was beautiful, and so calming that she fell asleep in my arms. I will never forget that cuddle.
Our little fighter
While at Great Ormond Street Eva underwent a number of procedures and battled not only against her kidney disease but against what sometimes seemed like endless infections & complicated situations. Eva was an incredible fighter overcoming every obstacle that was put in front of her.
We truly started to believe that Eva could overcome anything & felt confident she would get better & be able to come home. However Eva’s beautiful little face & body masked the battles that were going on inside her.
On Saturday 9th December Eva’s heart stopped unexpectedly, which threw us into a panic, as the situation was chaotic, we weren’t all together & the fear that no one had got to say goodbye. The doctors & nurses managed to revive Eva & she was moved to intensive care. During the next few days it became apparent that Eva’s beautiful little body was failing her.
When we came to terms with the fact that Eva probably wasn’t going to pull through her stay in intensive care we used the time to tell Eva everything that people normally get a lifetime to say to one another.
Great Ormond Street offered to help us take Eva home, however we knew that she probably would not survive the journey & it only seemed fitting that we therefore return to our second home on Eagle Ward.
On the 15th December 2017 Eva passed away peacefully in Dan’s arms, whilst holding our hands. Dan & I spent the last moments talking to our beautiful daughter as she gently drifted off.
Eva was always surrounded by people who loved her; be it the wonderful nurses that had become family to her, Dan, Eva’s big brother & I. It was always joked that Eva probably believed that she had grown up in a big house in London with her mum, dad & twenty aunties (the nurses).
Dan and I have always said that if love and effort alone-healed people, Eva would have spent next to no time in hospital.
We counted every minute we had with our beautiful daughter Eva as a blessing. Eva was only with us all for a very short period of time but touched people’s lives so deeply.
In the Stars
Dan & I would like to thank our friends & family, the lovely people that we met on this journey, those that have helped us all in so many ways & in particular the wonderful staff at Great Ormond Street.
We don’t know how to explain or describe the kindness, love & support that Eva & our family received from this amazing hospital, but we feel compelled to help them in any way that we can. This is why we started the Eva Tucker Brighter Future Fund, to participate in regular fundraisers and organise the ‘In the Stars’ Charity Ball. To give something back to the people who gave us the most important thing in the world, time with our beautiful daughter.
We hope that Eva’s story will inspire you to help support the ‘In the Stars’ Charity Ball in any way that you can, be it becoming a sponsor, donating to the raffle or auction or buying a ticket for the night.
Thank you for reading Eva’s Story.