When I fell pregnant after 12 years I had no idea that my baby’s struggle had only just begun…
By Donna Blair, 36, from West Lothian, Scotland
My face fell as I gazed at the single blue line. Negative again.
‘We can’t keep putting ourselves through this,’ I told my husband Kevin, 39. ‘We’ll keep trying until December and if we haven’t conceived by then, we’ll give up.’
It was July 2012, and this had been the umpteenth pregnancy test that had confirmed we weren’t expecting.
I already had two beautiful children Chantelle, now 17, and Daniel, now 15, but I missed the pitter patter of tiny feet.
I’d always wanted three kids but after medics discovered pre-cancerous cells during a routine smear, I was forced to have part of my cervix removed.
‘We’d advise against having any more children,’ the doctor announced solemnly. ‘You are now at high risk of miscarrying or having a stillborn baby.’
I was devastated and for 10 years accepted that we were fine as a family of four.
But as the years progressed I couldn’t help feeling that something was missing.
‘Maybe we should just go for it?’ I said to Kevin in July 2010.
‘Let’s give it our best shot,’ he replied, to my delight.
But month after month came disappointment.
We were at the end of our tether… That was until we hit the jackpot in December 2012, my cut-off date.
‘I’m pregnant!’ I shouted with joy.
‘That’s amazing!” Kevin said, taking me into his arms.
We were over the moon. She was our little miracle.
Everything was going well until 20 weeks into my pregnancy when my friend Michelle, 42, was driving me to the shops at 50mph when the car in front slammed on its brakes for no reason.
We went careering into the back of it, completely writing off the car.
It was terrifying.
My airbag failed to go off and I felt a jolt of pain rush up my spine as metal twisted with metal.
I don’t remember much apart from screaming on impact and a passerby helping me out of the car before calling 999.
We were blue-lighted to hospital where a medical team was waiting.
‘Please just make sure my baby is OK,’ I pleaded with them, as they carried out their checks.
‘We’ve got to make sure you’re OK first before we focus on the baby,’ a doctor said, examining my neck.
Luckily my friend was fine and my baby seemed unmoved by the high speed crash.
I suffered whiplash and was left with chronic back problems but I breathed a sigh of relief when I learned my little one had survived the traumatic ordeal.
But our troubles were far from over.
At 24 weeks, a routine scan revealed that our unborn baby was abnormally small and when doctors found little change four weeks later, I braced myself for the worst.
Within a week my baby had stopped moving and I scrambled to the hospital in a panic.
Tests revealed that not only did I have life-threatening pre-eclampsia – I was in early labour!
I was distraught. It was far too early for Lacey-Marie to make her entrance into the world.
I was administered medication to cease the labour and thankfully the contractions stopped. But not for long.
‘I have a bad headache,’ I told the doctor as she carried out her rounds a few days later. She immediately took my blood pressure.
‘It’s sky high,’ she told me. ‘We have to get you to theatre.’
I was rushed for a C-section and Lacey-Marie made her early arrival.
Weighing just 2lbs 7oz, she was so tiny we could fit Kevin’s wedding band around her wrist. She looked like a little raw chicken.
‘You’re lucky you mentioned your headache,’ the doctor said later. ‘We nearly lost both of you.’
Experts were amazed that she was breathing on her own but three weeks later, our little fighter took a turn for the worse.
Lacey-Marie had lung disease and a hole in the heart.
The odds were against her, but she’d already overcome so many obstacles to be here, she wasn’t about to give up.
She fought for her life and incredibly was allowed home two days before her due date – August 11.
At first we were so scared we would harm her because she looked so frail – but we needn’t have worried.
She’s still small for her age, but Lacey-Marie is as strong as an ox. She beat astonishing odds before she was even born!