BETHANY Tait and Paul Evans should be celebrating the news that a pioneering operation to help their baby hear went well.
But instead, the Hartlepool couple are coming to terms with the devastating bombshell that their seven-month-old daughter has cerebral palsy.
The Mail has been following the progress of little Paige Evans since it was announced that she may be one of the youngest people ever to undergo a revolutionary cochlear implant.
She had the operation at Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital on October 20, and the procedure went well.
But Bethany - certain that Paige was not developing as she should - asked doctors to take a look at her daughter after looking up Paige’s symptoms online.
She had been concerned at things like the youngster arching her back and her muscles stiffening.
Tests have since confirmed that the youngster has cerebral palsy, a condition in which impairment to the brain affects movement, posture and co-ordination.
The family were told just days after Paige had the implant on October 20.
Brave Bethany, 20, from West View, said: “It was a shock.
“But in a way I’m glad because we spent seven full months trying to find out what was wrong with her.
“I’ve cried about this but we can’t really sit down and be depressed about things - we just need to concentrate on Paige and getting her stronger and getting the right medication for her.”
The Mail previously reported that Paige was born profoundly deaf and she battled back from meningitis at just two weeks old.
The illnesses had been linked to Bethany contracting group B streptococcus, a bacteria which causes severe infections in newborns.
Full-time mum Bethany and unemployed factory worker Paul, 28, had told of their joy when they were given a date for Paige to undergo a cochlear implant.
But the day before the operation, Bethany said she had been researching symptoms shown by Paige ever since she was born. “The doctors noticed she was crying a lot,” said Bethany.
“I said she’s always been like that since she was born, she’s always been hard to handle and no one can look after her apart from us.”
She said doctors also noticed other symptoms, including Paige arching her back a lot, and Bethany added that Paige can’t hold her head up unaided or hold things.
Bethany added: “She’s like a newborn, really.
“I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t think it was this serious. I know children with cerebral palsy can get physiotherapy and other treatment, she might be alright.
“We won’t be able to tell until she’s older.”
Doctors have put Paige on muscle relaxers and she is now under the care of specialists at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.
They are trying to determine the best treatment for her.
Meanwhile, Paige’s cochlear implant will be switched on on November 12. Bethany and Paul hope that if she can hear, it will aid her development.
“We haven’t been able to be excited about it, with the other news.
“But hopefully it will help.”