Mother tells of the astonishing battle inside her womb between her baby and contraceptive coil
Baby girl was delivered at 25 weeks after mother developed septicaemia
15:11 GMT, 18 April 2012
A woman who fell pregnant with a contraceptive coil in place has told of her baby's astonishing battle for survival.
Baby Misty weighed only 1lb 10oz when she was born by emergency section at 25 weeks after the coil turned septic and almost claimed the life of her mother as well.
Alice McLoughlin, 22, from Ruthin, in north Wales, had initially been told her surprise pregnancy was doomed when three attempts to remove the coil had failed.
Survivor: Misty is healthy and happy although small for her age, after she was born 15 weeks premature
But her daughter proved them all wrong despite being born 15 weeks premature.
Ms McLoughlin, a chef, said: ‘For the duration of my pregnancy it was like there was a war being waged in my tummy, my baby versus my coil.
‘It could have pierced her amniotic sac killing her at any moment and I feared every day would be the last. The coil was a constant threat but they just couldn’t get it out.
‘Everyone thought the coil would win and we would lose our baby to it. But my little girl was a fighter and kept battling.’
Doctors only managed to retrieve the contraceptive device after baby Misty was delivered after the coil triggered potentially deadly septicemia in Alice.
She said: 'I was told every day the coil would probably kill my baby but in the end it nearly took me too. When they rushed me into theatre I thought that was it. Another two hours later I would have been dead.'
Misty Rose was born weighing only 1lb 10oz
Alice says the ‘war of her womb,’ started when she discovered she was pregnant in January 2011 and assumed the copper coil she’d had fitted 18 months previously must have fallen out. Although surprised she said she was delighted to be expecting.
Her GP arranged a scan just to make sure the coil had become dislodged, but while she was waiting for the appointment Alice started bleeding and rushed to hospital fearing a miscarriage.
An ultra sound revealed the cause of the bleeding. The coil was still in place and dangerously close to her growing baby. The bleeding had been caused by it irritating the neck of the womb.
‘They told me they needed to get it out immediately before it killed my baby but there was a 50 per cent chance removing it would cause a miscarriage', she said.
'It was a no win situation because they told me if I left it in the complications would most likely kill my baby anyway.’
Only the threads that usually hang outside the womb had tucked themselves in meaning doctors couldn’t reach it and Alice was sent home to let nature take it’s course.
An arrow points to the coil (IUCD) in an ultrasound scan taken in January 2011
Alice's baby was delivered early after she contracted septicaemia from the coil
She suffered regular bleeding – a
constant reminder of the battle being waged in her womb between the coil
and the baby – but scans showed she had not miscarried.
Doctors tried to remove the coil once more but with no success.
Alice reached 12 weeks she hoped it meant her baby was safe, but
instead the risk of miscarriage became a risk of early labour, again
with little hope of survival.
was terrified because my partner and I desperately wanted our baby yet
there was nothing I could do to protect her from the danger inside me.
The one place she was supposed to be safe had become a minefield,' Ms
weeks Alice learned she was carrying a girl and picked a name. But just
five weeks later on May 13 2011 her waters went and she was rushed back
Standing tall: At 10 months old Misty Rose is developing well
medics thought they had halted the labour and she was admitted to a ward
for bed rest. But three days later routine blood tests revealed Alice
was suffering with a serious blood infection caused by the coil, which
had turned septic.
‘They told me if they didn’t deliver the baby straight away I might be dead within two hours. I signed the paperwork in a daze. I couldn’t believe that after all that I might not ever see my baby. I begged mum to help my partner look after her if anything happened to me.’
Misty was born weighing just 1lb 10oz and moments later doctors finally retrieved the coil.
‘They showed me it and I told them to throw it straight into the bin. I hated it for the months of hell it had put me through.’
Misty was rushed to special care as Alice was pumped with antibiotics to fight the sepsis infection.
The treatment was successful and four hours later she got to see her daughter for the first time.
‘She looked so tiny and frail but I already knew she was a fighter from what she had been through during the pregnancy. Against all odds she head beaten the coil and I prayed she would win this fight too but at 25 weeks, I was warned not to get my hopes up.’
But within weeks the tot started breathing unaided and three months later Alice and partner Dean took her home.
Now she’s ten months old and her parents are so proud of their little fighter.
'She’s small for her age and still wears clothes for three months old babies but she’s perfect,' Ms McLoughlin said.