Alive And Kicking
Brave Lynette fought back from death to have a baby…
Adding another bauble to the Christmas tree, I stepped back and admired my work. ‘Not bad,’ my mum Diane, 54, smiled, impressed.
It was December 2012 and I was looking forward to all the festivities.
Mince pies, turkey, lots of presents – I couldn’t wait!
And the big day certainly didn’t disappoint.
I spent it with Mum, my dad Robert, 58, and my brother Robert Jnr, 24.
Spending quality family time together during the festive season was lovely.
But like every year, it was over too quickly.
Before I knew it, it was 2013 already.
A few months into the year, I started to feel a bit run down.
I thought it might be a touch of flu.
But my symptoms got more severe.
Fever, headache, chesty cough…
‘You’ve got swine flu,’ a doctor diagnosed.
I was immediately admitted to hospital.
See, as a baby, I’d been born with cystic fibrosis (CF) – a condition in which the lungs and digestive system become clogged with thick, sticky mucus.
Any kind of flu could lead to a serious lung infection.
Unluckily, over the next few months my condition declined. The flu damaged my lungs.
All a blur
I ended up on a breathing machine, as my lungs were struggling to cope.
I was so sick and weak, it was all a bit of a blur.
But I kept hearing whispers about a lung transplant.
‘It might be her only hope,’ a doctor told Mum and Dad.
I’d always known I faced a lung transplant in the future, due to the CF.
But I’d always assumed it was a long way off.
Hearing it discussed now brought home just how sick I was.
So I was put on the transplant list.
Six months on, though, I was still in hospital.
So I asked to be treated at home.
It’d been adapted for my needs, with a walk-in shower and breathing machine.
Doctors agreed – but, with each passing day,
I got sicker and weaker.
I couldn’t breathe by myself, my lungs were giving up on me.
I was convinced my time was almost up.
‘For my funeral, I want everyone to wear bright colours,’ I told Mum.
She and Dad were in bits. Before we knew it, Christmas was approaching again.
Usually I looked forward to it. But this year was different.
‘All I want for Christmas is a new set of lungs,’ I told Mum and Dad.
Then at 5am on 5 December 2013, Mum came rushing into my room.
‘Lynette!’ she cried, waking me. ‘Doctors have some lungs for you.’
With no time to waste, I was rushed by ambulance to hospital.
And, later that day, I was taken into theatre.
When I came round after the op, I took a deep breath. My first words?
‘I can breathe!’ I smiled.
I just couldn’t believe
I was convinced that my time was almost up...
how different I felt.
For the first time in months I could breathe by myself and I instantly felt stronger.
It was like I’d been given a fresh burst of life.
After four weeks in hospital, I was well enough to go home.
And able to spend Christmas with my family.
It was an emotional day. ‘My lungs are the best gift I could’ve been given,’ I said, beyond thankful.
Within weeks, I was even back at the gym, working out.
I felt like a completely different person.
Then in August 2014, I realised my period was late.
I can’t be pregnant, though, I thought.
I’d always been told that, with CF, I’d struggle to conceive.
But I did a pregnancy test, anyway. Positive. Surely it’s wrong, I thought, convinced there must be a mistake.
It hadn’t been long since I’d broken up with my ex.
We’d always used a condom, but it obviously hadn’t worked.
Then another test confirmed the pregnancy.
I was having a baby! And I was over the moon. ‘It’s a miracle,’ I laughed, unable to believe it.
But when I told my doctors, they were concerned.
They weren’t sure how a pregnancy would affect my new lungs.
‘Going through with it could damage them,’ a doctor warned me.
They advised me to terminate the pregnancy for my own safety.
‘No chance!’ I said, without thinking twice.
I didn’t care how risky it was for me, I simply refused to abort my miracle baby.
Mum and Dad were worried sick, but they supported me.
I continued with the pregnancy, despite the warnings, and doctors monitored me closely.
And as my bump grew, so did my excitement.
Luckily, the pregnancy didn’t seem to affect my lungs or my breathing.
In fact, everything was going well.
But then, in February 2015, when I was 28 weeks pregnant, I went into premature labour.
Ariana arrived, weighing a 2lb 2oz. Remarkably, though, other than her size she was OK.
‘Hello, beautiful girl,’ I cried when I had my first hold.
I loved Ariana more than anything in the world.
‘I’ll be the best mum,’ I beamed, proudly.
She was kept in hospital for three months to build
I still have to pinch myself to believe she’s here!
NEW LUNGS and a NEW Life as a mummy!
up her strength.
When she was allowed home, I couldn’t stop admiring just how perfect she was.
She’ll be 3 next February and thankfully she doesn’t have cystic fibrosis.
I still have to pinch myself to believe she’s here.
Receiving life-saving lungs in time for Christmas was an unbelievable gift.
And now that I have Ariana too – well, it’s nothing short of a Christmas miracle!
Rushed in for my transplant...
Now 3, excited for Xmas!
Tiny Ariana weighed just over 2lb
Lynette Armitage, 26,