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Woman with two wombs whose chances of conceiving were halved defies odds to welcome a miracle baby

A woman with two wombs who was told by doctors her chances of falling pregnant naturally ‘were halved’ is looking forward to celebrating the first birthday of her miracle baby – conceived just a month after coming off the Pill.

When Emma Johns, 27, from Goole, East Yorkshire, was diagnosed with uterus didelphys – when the womb fails to fuse properly during gestation and forms two chambers – nearly a decade ago, she feared she would never conceive naturally.

Wanting to become a mum before she turned 30, she and her HGV driver fiancé Marc Kirkby, 29, started trying for a baby at the start of 2019, to give them time to consider alternatives like IVF if they failed – but fell pregnant just a month after they stopped using contraception.

Giving birth to 7lb 2oz baby Olive at Hull Royal Infirmary on 1 November last year, property consultant Emma said: ‘I really do see her as a miracle. I never thought I’d have a baby after the diagnosis.

‘It sounds cheesy but every time I made a wish, blowing out my candles or seeing a shooting star, I’d always ask for the same thing – to have a baby naturally.

‘Now here she is and she’s completely perfect.’

Emma was 17 when, plagued with vomiting and diarrhoea for two to three days every month, she thought she had a recurring bug until she realised that her problems always coincided with her period – making her think they must be connected to her menstrual cycle.

‘It was about a year before I realised the sickness would come on around the same time as my period,’ she explained.

‘I’d come down with the sweats and shakes. If it fell on a school day, I’d have to go home.’

Seeing her doctor in mid-2011, she agreed that Emma’s symptoms could be linked to her cycle and prescribed the Pill, hoping this would reduce their impact.

Given an internal examination at the same time to rule out any other causes, Emma was left shell shocked when the doctor announced she had found not one cervix – the cylinder connecting the womb to the vagina – but two, meaning she could face problems having children in the future.

Emma said: ‘I’d never had an internal examination before, so that in itself was daunting.

‘Then the GP said, “I think I can see two cervices.” I don’t even think I knew what a cervix was at the time, let alone what it meant to have two.

‘She told me she couldn’t be sure but it could be a lot harder for me to fall pregnant, to carry a baby full-term and it might increase my chances of miscarrying.

‘I was absolutely gutted when she told me – it was devastating.

‘Ever since I was a little girl I’d wanted to have babies, so it was hard to hear.’

Referred to Goole and District Hospital a week later, an ultrasound confirmed that Emma had two cervices and two wombs.

A month later the then teenager was sent to nearby Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby for an MRI scan and doctors confirmed she had uterus didelphys – a condition affecting around one in 3,000 women globally, according to miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth charity Tommy’s.

‘It was such a confusing time and all these words I didn’t understand were being thrown around,’ said Emma.

‘A big question I had was why I didn’t have two periods, but the doctors explained that each month the different ovaries alternate, releasing an egg.

‘As a result, I was told it would be a lot harder to fall pregnant.

‘If one month the egg was released into the right womb, the sperm would need to go and find it there and the reverse, if it was released into the left.

‘Doctors told me my chances of conceiving were halved.’

Still only 18 then, starting a family felt a million miles away and Emma was more intent on having adventures – so saved up for 12 months and headed to Melbourne, Australia, in 2013, to work as an au pair for a year.

Signing up to dating app Plenty of Fish after returning home in 2017, she matched with Marc.

Three months into their relationship, after broaching the subject of having children, Emma told Marc she had uterus didelphys.

‘I didn’t want to spring it on him right away,’ she said. ‘Instead, we were talking about whether we wanted children and I explained it could be difficult for me.

‘He laughed and said we’d just have to try harder.’

Moving in together in September 2018, initially they were going to leave it for at least a year to start trying for a baby – thinking that would leave plenty of time to become parents before they turned 30.

But, realising the odds could be against her, the couple then decided to start earlier, so they had more time in case they had to look into other options, like IVF.

Coming off the Pill in January 2019, just a month later, when she missed a period, Emma’s pregnancy test turned positive.

She said: ‘My period was late so I bought a pregnancy test on the way home work.

‘I told Marc I was running a hot bath, as I didn’t want to disappoint him if it was negative.

‘Then I came downstairs holding the stick saying, ‘I’ve got a surprise for you.”

At Hull Royal Infirmary for the 12-week scan in April, doctors confirmed the baby was growing in her right womb, saying that, because of the her uterus didelphys, Emma would need regular check-ups with a consultant every four weeks to keep an eye on the pregnancy.

‘The consultant felt my stomach and told me it would most likely look a bit wonky, because the baby was growing on the right hand side,’ she recalled.

‘He was quite positive but told me to keep my sights on reaching 24 weeks – when a baby is viable.’

Alarmingly, on the day she turned 24 weeks, she noticed she was bleeding.

Driven to Hull Royal Infirmary by Marc, she said: ‘I was so happy to have made it up to that point then it all came crashing down.

‘I was weeping and panicking. The doctors got me an ultrasound right away and the midwife found the baby’s heartbeat. It was such a relief.’

While she was there, Emma became the talk of the ward, with a consultant and registrar asking if they could conduct an internal examination as they had never seen a case of uterus didelphys in person before.

She continued: ‘I heard the consultant say, “You’ll never guess what I’ve just seen.”

‘Then, before I knew it, I was being asked if I could be examined by another doctor.

‘Obviously, it’s not the most comfortable experience but I was happy to oblige in case it helped any women in the future.’

Continuing to have regular check-ups, doctors planned to induce Emma on November 3 – a week before her due date – to avoid any potential complications.

But, two days beforehand, she woke up in the early hours of the morning having contractions.

She said: ‘I woke up in the middle of the night with some stomach pains and noticed a slight trickle of water.

‘I thought it could be a false alarm, so sat downstairs for a while.

‘After 20 minutes, I was certain my waters had broken, so I woke Marc and asked him to take me to Hull Royal Infirmary.

‘He’d brought his work keys home with him, so had initially planned on making a detour to the office to drop them off.

‘I made it clear that wasn’t going to happen. I’m not sure where his head was at but luckily it was the only problem we had all day!’

Arriving at the hospital at 3am on November 1, seven hours later, Emma delivered baby Olive naturally.

‘We were so lucky,’ she said. ‘I had a small episiotomy – a surgical cut between the vagina and anus – to help Olive come out, but that was it.’

Discharged the next day, Emma says the last nine months as a mum have been like ‘a dream come true.’

‘For the most part, my pregnancy experience felt entirely normal – something I thought I’d never have,’ she said.

‘The past nine months have been brilliant – Olive is perfect.

‘From my own experience, it became clear a lot of professionals – be they midwives, nurses or doctors – have never heard about my condition, or seen it themselves.

‘Now I want other women with uterus didelphys to know that it doesn’t stop you falling pregnant.

‘Your dreams of becoming a family can still come true.’

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