Real Life: "Miracle" Boy for Mum who Lost 20 Babies
Like millions of newlyweds, Kelly Moseley was eager to start a family. And when she fell pregnant a few months later she and her husband Alan were overjoyed. But the couple were devastated when she miscarried eight weeks into her pregnancy. Doctors reassured Kelly that one in four pregnancies ends this way and encouraged her to try again. But then, horrifically, the British housewife went on to lose 19 more babies over the next 11 years. “So many people were saying ‘It’s time to stop. You’ve lost too many’,” she says. “But I just couldn’t. The thought ‘just one more try’ was all that kept me going.”
By her mid-thirties, Kelly had endured 18 miscarriages and delivered two stillborn baby boys, each at five months into pregnancy. With each conception came a glimmer of hope, followed by yet more agony as she and Alan returned home from hospital empty-handed. Yet despite well-meaning advice to stop ‘trying’ from friends, family and even her doctor, Kelly couldn’t accept that she and Alan would never have a child.
“The thought ‘just one more try’ was all that kept me going”
Doctor Spotted on TV by chance
Determined to have “just one more go”, Kelly turned a corner when she turned to doctor Hassan Shehata, an expert in miscarriages, after seeing him on a TV chat show. “I saw Mr Shehata, who specialises in recurrent miscarriages, talking on This Morning explaining how he’d helped women to stop miscarrying,” she recalls. “I prayed he’d be able to help me.” Mr Shehata, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, had pioneered a technique in which women take a widely used medicine to reduce the risk of miscarriage. Called hydroxychloroquine, it’s often used to treat malaria, but the doctor discovered its effect of suppressing the immune system could stop the body attacking an unborn baby. Kelly took the pills, which cost as little as 25p (Dhs1.50) each, for a year before finding out she was pregnant in September 2012. Too scared to tell anyone in case she lost the baby, she and Alan kept the pregnancy secret until the following January. Tyler was born three months later, 11 weeks early and weighing under 3lb. “I just refused to give up hope, and I hope our story encourages other women out there too,” says Kelly. “I will never forget the babies I’ve lost and the hurt never goes away, but having Tyler makes it all worthwhile and our lives are now complete.”
INFO: SANDS Dubai helps parents who have experienced stillbirth or newborn death and can also support women who have had miscarriages: www.dubai-sands.org. The UK’s Miscarriage Association accepts enquiries from women living elsewhere: 12noon-7pm Mon-Fri, +44 1924 200799, www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk
Mr Hassan Shehata has spent the past decade researching recurrent miscarriages and helping women who have them. He’s currently joint clinical director of women’s and children’s services at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust in England, where he and a colleague, immunologist Dr Amolak Bansal, made a startling medical breakthrough.
“We found that some women’s natural killer cells [a type of white blood cell] are so aggressive they attack the pregnancy, thinking the foetus is a foreign body, and that’s what was happening to Kelly,” he says. “Natural killer cells can be lowered by giving some women steroids, but for Kelly this didn’t work, so we tried an antimalarial treatment which also lowers the immune system. Kelly is the first patient who received this treatment and it has worked well for about 10 to 15 other women since then. It’s an amazing medical breakthrough and I am delighted it worked for Kelly.” He adds: “It is hard not to go on an emotional rollercoaster with patients, but she was a model patient and put her complete trust in me, and what a gift Tyler is. I’m so happy for them.”
What Causes Miscarriage
● One in four women loses a baby after getting pregnant, but most never find out the cause of their loss. It’s very unlikely to happen because of anything a woman has or hasn’t done.
● Most miscarriages happen in the first three months of pregnancy, with only 1 to 2 per cent occurring after 12 weeks. Baby loss after 24 weeks is called stillbirth.
● About half of all early miscarriages happen when the baby hasn’t developed normally and could never survive, causing the body to reject it.
● Problems with the blood vessels that supply the placenta can lead to miscarriage, especially if the blood clots more than it should.
● Women with very irregular periods may find it harder to conceive and, when they do, are more likely to miscarry.
● Minor infections such as coughs and colds are not harmful, but a very high temperature and some illnesses, such as German measles, may cause miscarriage. This rarely happens later on in a pregnancy.
● If a woman’s uterus is an irregular shape, there may not be enough room for a baby to grow. If the cervix (the bottom of the uterus) is weak, it may start to open as the uterus becomes heavier in later pregnancy and this may lead to miscarriage.
● Large fibroids (harmless growths) in the uterus may cause a miscarriage later on in a pregnancy.
Stars Open Up About their Miscarriages
The troubled actress recently revealed she’d suffered a miscarriage while filming her documentary series, Lindsay, making the outburst when grilled by Oprah Winfrey over a two-week absence from the production. She said: “No one knows this – I had a miscarriage for those two weeks that I took off. It’s a very long story. That’s why on the show, when it says ‘she doesn’t want to come down, she doesn’t want to come down’, I couldn’t move. I was sick. And mentally that messes with you. Watching this series, I just know how I felt at that moment and I can relate to that girl, which sounds kind of crazy but I’m like ‘this is really sad. Who’s helping her?’”
Lily says she felt “numb” when her baby was stillborn at six months. The Sheezus singer, who almost died due to complications including blood poisoning, told The Sun on Sunday: “It was horrendous and something I would not wish on my worst enemy. It’s something that I still haven’t dealt with. But it’s not something that you get over.” The 29-year-old added: “I held my child and it was really horrific and painful – one of the hardest things that can happen to a person… I nearly died. But I was numb and I didn’t care. I’d just lost my baby and that is a reflection of how numb I was.” The Sheezus singer, who also had a miscarriage in 2008, went on to have daughters Ethel, two, and one-year-old Marnie with husband Sam Cooper.