Pick Me Up! - - REAL LIFE STRONG - Ash­leigh Bai­ley, 20, Bury St Ed­munds

iwas preg­nant, in an on-and­off re­la­tion­ship. And only 16 years old. ‘You could con­sider a ter­mi­na­tion,’ the nurse said when I went for an early checkup.

‘I’m keep­ing this baby,’ I replied.

A new path

It was the same when I told my mum, Louise, 43.

I’d grown up in foster care be­cause Mum had strug­gled to cope.

We were still re­ally close, but life had been tough.

I’d played up at school and started hang­ing about with a bad crowd.

This preg­nancy wasn’t planned, but it was a chance for me to take a dif­fer­ent path.

I didn’t feel scared, even when I broke up with my boyfriend.

It’d be me and my baby against the world.

Then, at my 12-week scan, there was con­cern about fluid on the baby’s neck.

‘Your baby could have Ed­wards’ syn­drome,’ the doc­tor said.

A se­ri­ous ge­netic con­di­tion. Of those ba­bies who sur­vive to birth, only around one in five will live to three months. My heart broke.

I had ex­tra tests, pray­ing that the doc­tors were wrong. They were.

‘It’s not Ed­wards’ af­ter all,’ the spe­cial­ist told me. ‘Your baby has Down’s syn­drome.’

My first re­ac­tion? A huge

Ri­ley: my lit­tle ray of sun­shine

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