When Donna Hewetson found out she was pregnant in late 2008, she was thrilled.
Donna and her now-husband Matt had been trying for months to get pregnant, and had suffered through a difficult miscarriage only two months prior.
But things started going wrong at around 12 weeks. "I got admitted to hospital with excruciating left-sided pain," recounts Donna, according to the Lichfield Mercury. "The doctors couldn't understand what it was, but they knew it wasn't pregnancy-related."
After some tests doctors discovered that Donna had a ruptured kidney, and were forced to perform emergency surgery to remove the affected organ.
"I woke up the next day in intensive care and I didn't know what had happened," said Donna.
"It was so scary, but I just wanted to know if my baby was okay and why I had such a massive scar on my stomach."
But even this was just the beginning of Donna's troubles. Shortly after the operation one of her lungs collapsed, and then, after that lung was treated, the other collapsed as well.
Ultimately the young mother was diagnosed with two extremely rare conditions: Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), a condition affecting the lungs, and tuberous sclerosis, which leads to the growth of tumors on the patient's vital organs.
According to The Mirror, doctors told Donna that without an abortion, she could die as a result of the pregnancy – but Donna wouldn't hear any of it.
"I'd always dreamed about becoming a mum and when I finally got pregnant, there was no way I was giving up on my baby."
'It was a really frightening time," she recalls. "We both knew that the longer I was pregnant, the more tumours I had growing inside me - but my maternal instinct was too strong to even contemplate a termination."
While the pregnancy progressed, Donna was under close supervision, due to growing tumors on her remaining kidney that could lead that organ to hemorrhage as well. Finally, at 28 weeks the doctors decided to perform a C-section.
A healthy baby Lily was born, weighing just two-and-a-half pounds. Lily is now nearly two years old, and doing well.
As for Donna, she is receiving an experimental treatment for LAM, but the long-term prognosis is unclear.
"We don't know what the future holds – that's the most worrying thing," says Donna.
"I might be okay now but I dread getting to the stage where I'll need a lung transplant."
Donna, however, praised her husband and her family for getting her through such a difficult period of her life.
"My family and Matt in particular has been incredible through it all. I couldn't have had a more caring, supportive partner."
Source: Lifesite News