Popular children’s entertainer Jimmy Rees was about to make the hour-long trip home to Sydney’s Central Coast from Dancing with the Stars rehearsals when he realised he’d missed several calls from his wife.
While the host of the ABC’s Giggle and Hoot who is also known as Jimmy Giggle was training to make the reality TV dancing competition finale, Tori Rees was at a clinic for their twin baby son Mack’s routine tongue-tie surgery.
On the guidance of “three different professional opinions”, the seven-week-old was undergoing the procedure known as a ‘frenectomy‘ to assist with the restriction of a baby’s tongue that can affect feeding and speech.
By the time Jimmy called Tori back, Mack’s condition had deteriorated from mild to critical.
A “main blood vessel” was cut during the routine procedure, and the infant was taken to Gosford hospital where a team of 20 doctors and nurses took the baby straight into an emergency theatre.
Two months on from the nightmarish health scare that prompted Jimmy to withdraw from Dancing with the Stars to be with his family – the couple have two other children, Mack’s twin brother Vinny and older son Lenny – both Jimmy and Tori have spoken to Stellar magazine about the days and weeks during which they thought they might lose their son.
“[What happened to Mack] is something they rarely see – that age and that amount of blood loss. His heart rate had dipped below a threshold so they actually started administering CPR to him,” the 31-year-old father-of-three told the publication.
“[The surgeon] got him in and managed to put the stitch in and stabilise him. [He] had to have a blood transfusion. I was still at home. Tori was thinking the worst. When we debriefed weeks later, we both just burst into tears and said, ‘I thought he was gone.’
“It was a surreal position to be in, just thinking he wasn’t going to come home.”