A heartbroken mum and dad paid a touching tribute to their brave baby girl who died after just 21 days of life.
Ayda Faith Murphy touched thousands of hearts after she was born prematurely at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle.
Born on March 31 weighing just 4lbs, t he tiny fighterunderwent three operations as she battled to overcome the effects of three extremely rare birth defects.
Doctors said little Ayda was probably the ‘poorliest baby in the north east’ when an almost unique variant of gastroschisis, estimated to affect no more than ten babies worldwide, left her intestines pushing up into her chest.
Meanwhile, her heart appeared to have flipped over and was lying on the wrong side of her chest, while she was put onto an oxygen machine due to her underdeveloped lungs.
Parents Carly Walker, 33, and Ryan Murphy spent every minute by their daughter’s side and introduced her to her eight-year-old big sister Olivia.
Thousands of well wishers from the family’s home town of Bedlington, Northumberland, and beyond hoped for a miracle for little Ayda.
However, Carly and Ryan had to make the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye to their daughter who died in her father’s arms during the early hours of April 20.
Carly said: ” We were with her all the way. She died in Ryan’s arms and I was sitting beside her.
“She had had enough. After the third operation, she deteriorated over five days and you could tell it was enough.
“We’ve just been to see her in the chapel of rest, and she just looks like she’s sleeping comfortably.”
The family said they gave Ayda everything they could and there was nothing more that doctors could do.
Carly said: ” She fought really hard and gave it her best shot. Even with all the sedation she’d still try to open her eye or suck on the cotton bud.
“It was too much in the end but I am pleased we went through with it and tried everything for her. We were by her side 24-7 by the end.
“We gave her the best chance we could, and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do to say goodbye. No parent should have to go through planning their daughter’s funeral.
“We will never forget Ayda. We love her so much and she is an inspiration.”
Hundreds of people rallied behind the family while the couple were in hospital alongside their little girl, donating cash towards their expenses and sending heartfelt messages of support.
Carly said: “It was a massive support. People were calling her ‘Bedlington’s Warrior.’
” There were so many people saying they’d never met her but she’d touched their hearts.”
The couple also thanked the RVI staff, especially the nurses, who did everything they could for their little girl.
Carly said: “It was such a complex condition and they were run off their feet – she needed constant attention and they gave it to her, you couldn’t fault them.”