Mistresses star Sarah Parish and her husband James Murray have been speaking to The Sun about the tragic death of her baby girl, Ella-Jayen who died in January.
Ella-Jayne was born with a hole in her heart and despite this being a condition that can often be treated successfully, Ella failed to recover fully from two emergency operations. She died aged just eight months.
Sarah, who’s 41, told the newspaper, “It is terrifying when you have a baby and she is taken away ill.
“You were expecting cards and balloons and suddenly you are dropped into a nightmare…”
Doctors told the beauty and actor hubby James Murray that their first child had the defect while Sarah was still pregnant.
Ella-Jayne was born five weeks early after her heart condition was diagnosed in the womb. She spent her first four months of life in the paediatric intensive care unit of Southampton General Hospital before being allowed to spend her last few months with her family at home.
Sarah said, “She really had a very normal four months at home. It is very easy to treat them with kid gloves and not to take them outside and do things. But we thought, ‘We don’t know how long we have her for’ and wanted to have the best time possible.
“We took her to see my family in Yeovil and James’s family up north. She had a great Christmas and was very happy. This was something that the hospital gave us that was so precious.”
Sarah and her husband James are now dedicated to raising money for the hospital that treated their daughter and they hope to raise £100,000 to pay for a clinical psychologist who will counsel families of children who are in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Sarah told the paper that there’s a real need for parents and other family members to have someone to talk to when they have a seriously ill child in the unit.
“Being in hospital with a very sick child is a very frightening and stressful time. There needs to be someone on hand to take the families aside and answer practical questions and offer emotional support.
“Having a counsellor would definitely have helped us.”
The couple also revealed that they’d taken “comfort” from the messages left for them on Ella-Jayne’s page on charity website Justgiving.
James said, “In really dark moments, if we click on and see that Sally from Scarborough has donated £4, it brightens us up.
“It restores our faith in humanity and we are humbled by people’s kindness.”