One baby, two miracles

My little girl was a real lifesaver...

Published by: Laura Hinton and Ryan Pilot
Published on: 24 May 2012

More than anything in the world, I wanted a baby. But me and my partner Wayne, 43, weren't having much luck. As always, my head was throbbing with the stress of it all. Since the age of 17, I'd suffered from terrible headaches.
‘Come here,' Wayne said. ‘Let me give you a massage.'
Moments later, he'd gently eased the tension away. ‘You always make me feel better,' I smiled.
When I'd met Wayne a couple of years before, I'd known straight away this pipe fitter was the one for me.
I'd tried to fall pregnant naturally for a year before turning to IVF on the NHS. But not one of the 13 eggs they'd taken had fertilised. That's when we'd decided to pay for ICSI treatment, where a single sperm is injected directly into an egg.
‘It's £3,500 a go,' Wayne had reasoned. ‘But it'll be worth it.'
After the first attempt, one embryo was created... but that hadn't resulted in a pregnancy. I'd been devastated.
It had been tough emotionally as well because the treatment made my hormones go all over the place. I'd super-ovulate before they took the eggs, and then go through a type of a mini-menopause. ‘Just leave me alone!' I'd raged when Wayne had tried to give me a cuddle one day. ‘I have a headache again.'
‘Fine,' he'd sighed.
Two weeks after going through the third attempt at ICSI, I'd got a terrible sensation in my tummy. I knew I'd lost another baby.
‘We've had three treatments now, put thousands on to the mortgage to fund it all,' I sobbed to Wayne later. ‘I'm worried the stress will push us apart.'
‘Never,' Wayne soothed, hugging me tight. ‘But, let's have a break from it - book a holiday and concentrate on us.'
So, we spent two wonderful weeks together in Malaysia. It was perfect. Back home, I felt so refreshed. Well, apart from those headaches!
A few weeks on, I realised I'd missed my period. I wouldn't be pregnant, but did a test anyway. But then I had to do three more...
‘You've conceived naturally?' Wayne kept repeating. ‘I can't believe it.'
I just sat there stunned. It was a miracle! After seven years of trying, we'd done it. For the next nine months, I blossomed in pregnancy.
‘The only thing I'm suffering with is my headaches,' I told the nurse one day.
‘It's just the extra hormones,' she reassured me.
Before I knew it, the day of my caesarean had arrived. ‘I'm so excited!' I giggled to Wayne.
‘Are you sure you're all right?' he fretted. ‘The side of your face is swollen.'
‘I'm fine,' I laughed, ignoring the pain in my head. Soon, we were gazing down at our newborn baby. ‘Daisy Boo,' I cooed, wiggling her little finger. ‘You're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen.'
Soon, I was busy feeding and changing nappies. But my headaches were getting worse. The pain had spread to my mouth and jaw.
When Daisy was six weeks old, I was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy, a form of facial paralysis. I was given steroids but, after 10 days, the excruciating headaches had returned.
I went back again, and the doctor prescribed more pills. ‘One other thing,' I said, before leaving. ‘When will I get the sight back in my left eye?'
He froze. ‘Bell's Palsy doesn't cause vision problems. I think we'd better send you for a CT scan,' he said, looking serious.
Later, I left Daisy with a nurse while I went in for the results. ‘You'd better be quick,' I joked. ‘I need to go shopping after this.' But the doctor wasn't smiling...
‘We've found two tumours,' he told me. ‘But they're benign.'
I sat there in total disbelief.
He explained that one tumour was so big it went from behind my left ear right down to the bottom of my jaw. The other one was smaller. It was on the right side of my head. Both had probably been there a long time.
So that was why I'd suffered from headaches for years.
‘Being pregnant made the hormones in your body increase,' the doctor continued. ‘And they made the tumours grow faster.'
That's why I'd struggled to fall pregnant. The big tumour had been pushing up against my pituitary gland, which controls hormones in the body. ‘So if I hadn't fallen pregnant with Daisy...' I started.
‘The tumours would have continued growing,' he finished. ‘And no one would have spotted it until it was too late.'
I sat there shocked. My miracle baby had saved my life.
‘We'll get through this,' Wayne promised me later. ‘You've got something to fight for now.' He was right. I'd have to be around to see Daisy Boo grow up.
When Daisy was six months old, I went in for an op where surgeons managed to remove 30 per cent of the tumour. And, once I'd recovered, me and Wayne married in Thailand! Daisy was the flower girl. After all we'd been through together, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
I'll need further operations in the future but, at my last check, the tumours have stopped growing. My memory gets a bit jumbled sometimes, though, so I have a childminder to help.
I'm just spending as much time as I can with my little Daisy Boo who's now two and a half. She's what I live for each day - the miracle who saved my life.
Melanie Hennessy, 40, Redcar, North Yorkshire