Cradling her impressive bump, Connie Yates is ‘nervous but excited’ about becoming a parent for a second time with her partner Chris Gard.
Tomorrow will be exactly four years since their son Charlie was born – only for them to lose him before his first birthday.
Charlie’s tragic fight gripped the world after he was born with a rare condition. He died in July 2017 aged 11 months after his parents lost an extraordinary court battle against the medical system to keep him alive.
Now, his baby brother is expected to arrive any day soon. Already the unborn infant is estimated to weigh a bouncing 9lb, according to a recent scan.
Miss Yates, 34, said: ‘He’s certainly ready to come out.
‘Charlie was our first child, so like any new parents, we didn’t really know what to expect. This time we are more aware of the things that can go wrong, and so it is hard not to worry.
‘I’m definitely more nervous and excited than before. I was determined not to be a worrier, and to enjoy the pregnancy, and I have, but of course it is impossible not to be scared sometimes.’
Care worker Miss Yates, of Bedfont, south-west London, added: ‘Right now, he’s safe, in my tummy. I’ll be terrified when he comes out, and takes his first breath, until I know everything is OK.’
During Charlie’s short life, there were interventions by the Pope and US President Donald Trump, but eventually his life support was switched off and he succumbed to mitochondrial depletion syndrome – a rare genetic condition which saps energy from the organs.
Agonisingly, Baby Gard No 2 – so far unnamed – stood a one in four chance of being born with the same devastating illness.
But he was tested inside the womb and, to the enormous relief of his parents, was declared free of the syndrome.
Postman Mr Gard, 36, said: ‘The day Charlie was born was the best day of my life. I was, and am, so proud of him.’
He added: ‘It may sound silly but I can’t help worry about what will happen when his brother comes along – will I feel guilty to imagine Charlie looking down on us, being a happy family, so in love with his little sibling?
‘I know how that sounds, but until I meet the new baby, I do struggle with this thought. I know it’s all in my own head, and I’m sure as soon as I see him it will all be fine.’
Miss Yates said: ‘He talks to the baby bump all the time, telling him the things we’re looking forward to – just the simple things people take for granted, like birthdays and going on a family holiday.’
Mr Gard added: ‘Sometimes I forget he’s only just behind a thin wall of skin, and speak a bit loudly – he jumped once.
‘We know we are very lucky. We lost a baby, but we have been given a second chance, and not everybody gets that.
‘We’re really excited, but obviously anxious too. It’s a scary time. We just know how incredibly loved this baby will be.’