Baby Rowan is ‘a little fighter’

Rowan Mason is now 10 months old.
Rowan Mason is now 10 months old.

It was December 2015 when Rebecca Shaw and Richard Mason were dealt the devastating blow that their unborn baby had a complex heart defect.

The couple, of Castleford, were told their boy had Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries, meaning his heart was not beating properly.

The remaining 20 weeks of pregnancy were anxious ones, with Miss Shaw, 23, fearing she would have a still birth.

And when little Rowan Mason was born on April 6, 2016, he was rushed to a specialist neonatal unit at Leeds General Infirmary for urgent care, as he could not breathe for himself. He was there for five weeks.

Miss Shaw said: “On day two, we went to go see him but we got taken to the bereavement room and were told he needed a temporary pace maker and he had to be sedated.

“He had that in for a week. After that, we were told we could go see him. But again, we were taken straight into the bereavement room and were told they didn’t think he would make it through the night.”

The couple called family and friends to the hospital, afraid they would lose Rowan.

“We didn’t know what his chances were,” Miss Shaw said.

“I found out what real heartbreak was that day. I felt like my whole world had crashed and there was nothing I could do about it.

“We were sitting down with him and he opened his eyes for us. It was the first time we had seen that since he was born. I believed that was him telling me he was going to get through it.”

Rowan, who is now 10 months old, started to pick up over the next few days. But his parents are uncertain about what the future holds. He is likely to need open heart surgery or a heart transplant but at the moment, he isn’t strong enough.

Miss Shaw said: “He has been my little fighter. Every single thing that has been stacked against him, he keeps laughing and smiling. We didn’t think he would even make it through that night let alone get to where he is now. But everything is uncertain and it’s really scary knowing that every day.”

The family are speaking out as part of Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) awareness week, which runs until February 14.

“More children die of CHD every year than they do of childhood cancers,” Miss Shaw said.

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