A brave mum who delayed chemotherapy to give her unborn child a fighting chance has given birth to a baby girl 12 weeks early so she can start treatment.
Metropolitan police officer Heidi Loughlin, 32, was three months pregnant when she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive inflammatory breast cancer.
She was offered an abortion by doctors who told Heidi she should start life-saving treatment immediately, which would have been harmful to her unborn baby.
Heidi put her own life at risk and delayed the super-strong chemotherapy in favour of a less effective treatment which would not harm the baby.
But last week she received the news that the medicine was not working and she needed to start stronger drugs, so had a c-section on Friday.
Little Ally Louise Smith was born 12 weeks early weighing just 2lb 5oz, and both mum and baby are doing well, with Heidi to start treatment imminently.
Heidi, from Portishead, near Bristol, who also has sons Noah, two, and Tait, one, with partner Keith, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to announce the safe arrival of our daughter formally known as chocolate mousse.
“She was born on Friday via c section at 12.37. She came out foot first and is breathing on her own. She weighs 2lb 5ozs.
“She has a Loughlin nose and she has more hair than me!!! Ally has had two very good nights and is breathing unaided.
“We would really like to thank everyone for the overwhelming messages of support and well wishes for us all.”
Heidi was breastfeeding her son Tait when she first noticed a rash in February, but was told she had mastitis – a common condition for new mums where breast tissue becomes painful and inflamed.
She thought nothing more of it, and was overjoyed to learn she had fallen pregnant with her third child months later.
But in September she was left devastated when tests revealed she had inflammatory breast cancer, a rare form of the disease with a typical prognosis of two to five years.
Doctors said to give her the best chance, Heidi would need to undertake an intensive form of chemotherapy which would harm the child.
But she put the treatment on hold for as long as she could, before giving birth on December 11.
Writing on her blog before the birth, she said: “Babies and Herceptin don’t mix. This means the baby will be 12 weeks early.
“This is absolutely terrifying.
“Also what is terrifying is that if I stay pregnant until New Year’s Eve, as originally planned then there’s a pretty good chance I’ve missed my window of potential cure.”
“Realistically I’ve got to make a decision that encompasses everyone. I absolutely need to be here for my children.
“But I’m scared to my core about a baby born so early. I am also scared that I may not get through this. Mostly I’m scared of doing the wrong thing.”
Ally’s arrival means Heidi can begin a course of treatment with the powerful drug Herceptin.