A mum who had stillborn twins and fell into a coma because of a rare liver condition was given a new organ – and now has a new baby.
Louise Prashad, 25, suffered the tragic double blow after being struck down with an often fatal condition during her first pregnancy.
Her ‘acute fatty liver of pregnancy’ saw her wake from a coma to be told her twins had been stillborn.
Mia and Leo were stillborn at 37 weeks – something Louise did not know about until she woke up three weeks later.
Louise thought she would never have another child – and only survived thanks to a liver transplant donated by a woman in her 50s.
It was found by medics in eight hours after Louise was escalated to number one on the European organ register.
Louise was wracked with grief following the death of the twins and practically gave up all hope of ever being a mother again.
Her reluctance was down to the one in four chance of the ‘acute fatty liver’ condition reoccurring during another pregnancy.
But after making the brave decision to try for another baby with her now husband Max, 30, who works in a restaurant, she fell pregnant with Ava following a year wait.
Louise wasn’t convinced little Ava, who is now one, would be born alive until being welcomed into the world on March 20, 2018.
She said: “I never thought I would have another child. When I decided I wanted to try again, I had to wait over a year because the medication I was on was really harmful.
“We started trying and it took a year and a half. I finally fell pregnant with Ava but it was the most nerve-wracking pregnancy. I really struggled to enjoy it.
“When you are pregnant, the slightest little thing can set your nerves going but I was on tenterhooks constantly.
“I didn’t believe she was going to be here alive until I gave birth. I wasn’t allowed a natural birth, I had to have a planned cesarean to make sure she was here safely.
“The minute I saw her and heard her cry I thought ‘she is actually here and I can stop doubting myself’.
“She is the spitting image of Mia and Leo, the similarities are so strange – the dark hair, same colour eyes, olive skin, cute button nose.”
After the birth of Ava, Louise’s first thoughts were of her son and daughter and of the woman who had donated the organ.
She wrote a letter to the donor’s family to let them know where their mum’s organ had gone and what Louise had achieved thanks to the woman in her 50s.
Louise fell pregnant with twins Mia and Leo in August 2015 aged 21 while taking a degree in law and having only been with her then-boyfriend, Max for six months.
She had a difficult pregnancy and then began to suffer from extreme fatigue, sickness and abdominal pain in the months before her due date.
Louise was rushed to hospital after vomiting two pints of blood before slipping into unconsciousness following complications with her pregnancy.
Medics later discovered Louise had been struck down with potentially fatal ‘acute fatty liver of pregnancy’ which affects one woman in 10,000 and meant Mia and Leo were ‘born sleeping’.
She bears a scar across her stomach from the emergency transplant and caesarean. Louise sees these scars as a stark reminder of her survival and gift of life but also the devastation that she experienced.
Louise underwent a liver transplant while she was unconscious and had a very slim chance of survival
After waking up she could not remember the months leading up to her illness due to delirium.
Whilst recovering in the hospital, Lousie had to be told the devastating news that her twins had passed away.
Louise, who works for City of York Council, said: “Mum came in and broke the news that Mia and Leo weren’t here anymore. I screamed the place down.
“That’s when it all felt real and my brain came round to the idea they weren’t there anymore.
“It was the most traumatic experience of my life. I somehow found this inner strength that I needed to get better to ensure they had the best send off possible. They deserved so much more than the hand they were dealt.
“It was all about them and trying to celebrate what little life they had. I was numb.”
Louise had to learn to walk and write again, but once she left intensive care, managed to visit the chapel of rest and spend some time with Mia and Leo before the funeral.
Louise and her husband Max, of Holgate, York, have since raised £800 for a remembrance bench in Rowntree Park in honour of Mia and Leo and other families who have experienced child loss.
She said: “April 25 will be Mia and Leo’s birthday, so we’re hoping to get the bench in place by then. I was trying to think of something positive I could do.
“The last few years have been a whirlwind of emotion and grief, that never really stops.
“I wanted something in our home city we could visit with Ava on special occasions when we need some time out to think about them, or having a hard day.
“Somewhere we could go that’s a memorial and not a grave.
“I cannot even begin to explain how perfect my children were, I still think about them everyday. The pain never fades.”
Louise is still undergoing counselling and physiotherapy to improve her mobility but is determined to make her children proud by raise awareness of organ donation and liver conditions in pregnancy.
She said: “Awareness of liver conditions in pregnancy is very low key. More needs to be done to educate the general public.
“Itchy skin, abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin, excessive thirst, tiredness, bleeding gums are all symptoms.
“I think if you are willing to receive an organ, then you should be willing to donate.
“I was on the organ donor register before but I didn’t give it a moment’s thought, it was just something I ticked on my driving application but it is so much more than that. You are saving someone’s child, someone’s mother, the love of someone’s life.”
“It was through no fault of my own that I found myself in that situation and if there had not have been a donor available I wouldn’t be here and my husband would have lost three people that day.”
In the last three years, Louise has continued to exude strength and is now trying to use her experiences to benefit other families.
Friends and family are running York 10K in memory of Mia, Leo and organ donors and all funds raised will be donated to local organ donation charities.
To donate towards the memorial fund, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/miaandleoyork10k.