My baby saved my life: Mother's deadly bone marrow disease is cured by pregnancyBy Lucy Laing
Last updated at 12:26 AM on 10th April 2011
- Mother-of-three was told people with her condition only had a life expectancy of two to five years
She had been diagnosed with a deadly bone marrow defect, which doctors said couldn’t be cured.
Then she unexpectedly fell pregnant and doctors warned that giving birth could kill her - but she was determined to carry on with the pregnancy.
It was a decision that has miraculously ended up saving her life - as her baby son Jason has CURED her of the condition.
It has baffled doctors - but in Februrary, Anna was finally given the all clear from the disease and can now live a normal life.
‘Jason really has been my miracle cure,’ said Anna, who lives with partner Tony Harman, 41, a kitchen fitter.
‘Even the doctors couldn’t explain it - it really is a miracle - and that's what I call him.
There was no medicine to treat me - but my own baby cured me.’
Anna, 39, who lives in Rhu, near Glasgow, was diagnosed in February 2009 with myelofibrosis, a bone marrow defect that affects the body’s ability to produce red blood cells.
She had been suffering from unexplained bruising for several months before, which she at first put down to helping out on her local farm.
‘The slightest knock would turn me black and blue. I couldn’t really understand why it was happening, as I never remembered knocking myself.
‘At first I thought it was my outdoors lifestyle - I ride horses and help out on the local farm, so there is plenty of opportunity for knocks and bangs doing all that outdoors work. But then my gums started bleeding and I notcied cuts and bruises weren’t healing properly, so I thought that something might be wrong, and I was feeling exhausted all the time too.
‘I had the tests done at the haematology department of the local hospital so they could take a bone marrow sample.
'Tony came with me to get my results. It was the day before my 37th birthday and as soon as I saw the consultant’s face I knew immediately that it wasn’t good news.'
‘I was absolutely devastated,’ admitted Anna, who has two other children Arran, 18, and Annabel, 13.
‘It just seemed so surreal and I couldn’t really take anything in. It was only when I left the hospital that the reality of what the consultant had said hit me and I just burst into tears. I just kept thinking that I wouldn’t see my children grow up. I just couldn’t stop crying.’
She said: ‘The whole family had to have flu jabs and keep away from me if they had a cold or infection as my immune system was so low.
'Without a cure for this disease, even the slightest knock or cut could lead to me having to go to hospital. I was terrified. I couldn’t go riding any more in case I fell. And every time my gums started bleeding I worried that I would bleed to death.
‘I had to spend most of my time indoors so that I didn’t come into contact with anyone.’
Then in April 2009 she may the most remarkable discovery that she was pregnant.
‘I had missed a period and I put it down to my illness. I went to see the doctor and he agreed that it was probably due to depression and stress about my diagnosis,’ she said.
‘But something just kept nagging me in the back of my mind and a week later I went to buy a pregnancy test. I didn’t tell Tony about it because I was so sure that it was going to be negative.
'But then I did the test and up came two blue lines on the stick. I just kept staring at it, I couldn’t believe that it was actually positive. I had to do another test before I was actually convinced I was pregnant. I told Tony and the children and they were all thrilled.’
‘At first I thought there was no hope and that I was doomed, said Anna.
‘But then one of the doctors at the hospital said they would do everything they could to support me and they could give me drugs during the labour to try and stop any bleeding.
‘I just had to put my trust in the doctors and hope for the best.’
Anna’s pregnancy progressed smoothly and at each scan she could see her baby was thriving.
‘He kicked a lot and moved around, which was so reassurring,’ she said.
‘And at each scan I could see him growing well which was a relief.’
Baby Jason was born in November 2009, weighing a healthy 6Ib2, after just three hours labour.
‘As soon as I’d given birth and he was in my arms I looked down at him and it was hard to think that I probably wouldn’t live to see him grow up. it was just devastating to think that he wouldn’t remember me.’
But unbelievably, in her case, it had provided a complete cure.
‘My baby healed me - and to me, that's a miracle - and when he’s old enough I will tell him how he saved my life.’