From one “little miracle” to another – that was the reaction of a proud Lowestoft family.

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Back in 1996, Steve and Elaine Hopkins endured months of trauma as their 10-week-old daughter Amy underwent open-heart surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London. But, more than 17 years on, the family are celebrating another very special new arrival. Last month, after years of hospital visits, Amy delivered her own child, a baby son Darcy. And remarkably he arrived on January 3 – the same date Amy had her life-saving operation all those years ago.

Mrs Hopkins said Amy’s birth on October 19, 1995 was the start of a traumatic period for the family. She said: “In the first few weeks she was diagnosed at the James Paget hospital with a slight heart murmur and was sent to Great Ormond Street for what we thought would be a day – but it turned out we were there for seven weeks until Amy had the open-heart surgery.”

Amy needed surgery to untangle her two twisted main arteries, but during the operation it was also found she had two holes in her heart. The surgery went well, but she developed bronchiolitis and remained in intensive care for two weeks. Mrs Hopkins said: “Back then the surgery was relatively new. Knowing that your baby was in theatre was not nice. But she was fine after coming home and is our little miracle. Amy has had problems in the last 17 years but she’s got over it and has just delivered a beautiful baby boy.”

After returning to GOSH for a series of tests and check-ups, once Amy turned 16 her care and treatment transferred to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. She was assessed by Dr Leisa Freeman at the N&N to see how her heart was coping during her pregnancy and was told that Darcy would not have the same heart condition as her, but concern for Amy’s health meant Darcy was born early at 37 weeks on January 3, weighing 6lb 15oz.

Now the centre of attention at the Hopkins’ home in Long Road, Darcy Brown is being looked after by Amy, with help from Elaine and Steve. Amy said she and Darcy’s dad, Matt Brown, from Lakenham, were “very happy” and she was hoping to get her own place in the future.

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