By Dave Andrusko
When first-time mother Kimberley James said, “We had a very rocky start to our pregnancy,” it might qualify as the understatement of the year. Four times she was told abortion would be the best option. Mrs. James told Ellen Scott. Each time Mrs. James and her husband, Nick, said no, and now they are the parents of “our miracle baby.”
Why the lethal advice? Kimberly’s unborn baby girl was diagnosed with two potentially lethal conditions: hydrops fetalis (severe swelling due to an abnormal level of fluids) and cystic hygroma (a fluid-filled sac, usually found in the area of the baby’s neck).
The doctors’ counsel came when these conditions were first diagnosed, Kimberly told Scott. After she was diagnosed with hydrops (at 12 weeks), “I was offered a termination by two doctors but I refused.”
When she was diagnosed with cystic hygroma a month later, “I was again told I could abort the baby but I just trusted that she would survive.” Kimberley added, ‘It must have been three or four people I was told, quite forcibly, that a termination was the best option.”
They said no “because it was absolutely not what we wanted to do.”
Instead they decided to pay to have private scans and blood tests, saying, “We were determined to go ahead with the pregnancy.”
On May 9, Kimberley and Nick welcomed 7lb 6oz Penelope at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Scott wrote. “Penelope stunned doctors by arriving in perfect health, with both her life-threatening conditions disappearing by the time her mum went into labour.”
Doctors were and are mystified (“gobsmacked,” as Kimberley colorfully described their reaction).
“Penelope defied all odds and the hydrops disappeared at 16 weeks and the cystic hygroma also disappeared after 20 weeks,” Kimberley told Scott. “The doctors all said it was unheard of for the hydrops to disappear and we still to this day don’t know what caused it or why it went away.”
As for little Penelope, Mrs. James said, ‘We are so in love with her and so thankful that we continued with the pregnancy despite the extremely poor prognosis at the start. “
“She really is a little miracle.”