A brave young mum overcame her crippling fear of surgery to save the life of her dying baby by listening to Justin Bieber on the operating table.

Autumn Cayzer, 21, stepped in at the last minute to donate a slice of her liver to daughter Aria. Without the operation, the infant wouldn’t have made it to her first birthday on Wednesday.

And Autumn beat her lifelong fear of waking up in the middle of surgery after nurses played the Canadian superstar’s hits before she went under the scalpel.

Autumn was at home in Clydebank with her two-year-old son Edan when she got the call to say her partner Ryan Gowran wasn’t a suitable donor.

The family's first photograph together

She jumped on the next train to Leeds, where Aria was in hospital.

Autumn said: “I left Edan with my parents. It was urgent. We were told our little girl needed the transplant in a hurry. She had no more than a few weeks left.”

She added: “I’ve always had this fear of having surgery and waking and nobody realising.

“The nurses had to play me Justin Bieber to calm me down as they put me to sleep.”

Aria was born in January last year, four weeks early. She was jaundiced at birth and was kept in hospital for light therapy treatment.

When her condition didn’t improve, she was diagnosed with biliary atresia – a condition that stops the passage of bile through the liver, which can lead to serious damage.

At 19 days old, little Aria was put on a plane from Glasgow to Leeds for emergency surgery known as a Kasai. The procedure can be enough to prevent a transplant being needed but Aria fell unwell again when she was eight months old.

Ryan, 29, who had been made redundant as a chef just before the pandemic, flew with Aria to Leeds.

He said: “She was very poorly. When we got there, the liver team told me she only had a few weeks to live without a transplant.

"Only part of her liver was working because of a problem with its blood supply.

“I was with her at the time so I volunteered to be her donor. They rushed through tests very quickly and I told Autumn they had gone well and I was going to be Aria’s donor.

"Then they came back and I was told that my liver was too big for Aria and that the slice they needed wouldn’t fit inside.

“Aria was only eight months old and still quite small because of all her problems.

“I called Autumn. She was in shock – not because she wouldn’t want to be a donor but because she thought it had all been sorted for me to donate.”

On the day of surgery, Ryan stayed with Autumn at St James’s Hospital in Leeds until 8am before racing two miles across the city to Leeds Children’s Hospital to be with Aria. At 11am – after news that Autumn’s liver was going to be suitable to use – Ryan gave Aria one final hug before she was taken into surgery.

Autumn said: “When I woke up, I wasn’t sure the operation was over but a nurse said it was.

“Aria was still in the operating theatre and I was getting regular updates from Ryan.”

Aria finally came out of surgery at 8pm but it was another four days until Autumn was discharged and could be reunited with her daughter.

Edan with sister Aria

After 15 days, Aria finally woke up following the operation and on December 14 she was transported back to Glasgow Children’s Hospital.

But she had to be flown back to Leeds a week later for more emergency surgery to insert a stent after scans showed the vein supplying her liver had started to close.

The couple then faced a heartbreaking decision to return home to Edan for Christmas, leaving Aria in the care of medics in Leeds.

Autumn said: “The hardest wrench was being separated from Aria at Christmas.

“It was a difficult decision but we needed to be with our little boy, who would have missed us more because he’s older and more aware.

“But we know Aria was spoiled rotten by the nurses in Leeds.”

It was the end of an extraordinarily difficult 12 months for the family, who also faced homelessness after being forced from their housing association flat by anti-social neighbours.

Ryan said: “This last year has been a massive kick in the teeth. I feel like I have post-traumatic stress. So much has gone wrong.

Autumn Cayzer gave Aria part of her liver

“I got made redundant from my chef’s job of two years not long before the start of the pandemic.

“Then, not long after Aria was born, we lost our flat because of bad neighbours who were noisy and abusive.

“We went to live with Autumn’s parents for a while and then were put into temporary accommodation.

“All this was happening at a time when we were having to deal with Aria being unwell.

“We finally got into our new council flat in the middle of November.

“But we have spent most of the year in hospital accommodation because Aria has spent so much time in hospital.”

Aria returned home in the New Year but was back in hospital last week and spent her first birthday on Wednesday in the operating theatre for a minor procedure to fit another stent.

She is now waiting for another trip to Leeds for an operation to repair her bowel after it became blocked.

The little fighter might need a bowel transplant if surgery doesn’t work.

Ryan said: “She’s our brave little girl who wouldn’t be here now but for her mum giving her the gift of life.

“Hats off to the wonderful doctors in Leeds and Glasgow who have cared for her.

“We also want to thank the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation for so much support and information, the Sick Children’s Trust, Leeds Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House in Glasgow, who gave us accommodation.

“We had hundreds of pounds in expenses going backwards and forwards to Leeds so we’d like to thank the React charity in Leeds and the Emergency Family Fund.”

Naved Alizai, the Leeds Children’s Hospital paediatric liver surgeon, said: “We still have some hurdles to overcome with Aria. She’s one of the most complicated cases I have had in 30 years. Hopefully we will successfully treat her bowel.

“We all hope it won’t be long before Aria can go home to her family.”