Mum who woke from coma to be told 'perfect' twins were stillborn welcomes healthy daughter after life-saving liver transplant
JUST three years ago, Louise Prashad woke from a coma to be told her "perfect" twins had been stillborn.
The 25-year-old was delivered the tragic double blow after being struck down with an often fatal liver condition during her first pregnancy.
The council worker, from Holgate, York, developed "acute fatty liver of pregnancy", which affects one in 10,000 mums-to-be.
Twins Mia and Leo were stillborn at 37 weeks in April 2016 but Louise was only told the news when she woke three weeks later, describing it as "the most traumatic experience of my life".
Louise 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."
She and now-husband Max, 30, had only been together for six months when they fell pregnant in August 2015, when Louise was mid-way through a law degree.
She began to suffer from extreme fatigue, sickness and abdominal pain as the pregnancy progressed, with Louise eventually vomiting two pints of blood before passing out.
She woke with two scar across her stomach, from the emergency transplant and C-section, describing them as a stark reminder of survival and death.
Louise only survived herself thanks to a liver transplant from a woman in her 50s, which was found by doctors eight hours after she was escalated to the top of the European organ register.
She also had to learn to walk and write again – and has no memory of the months prior to collapsing.
Devastated by the loss of her twins, Louise gave up all hope of becoming a mum – and was told she had a one in four chance of the fatty liver condition recurring in another pregnancy.
She and restaurant worker Max eventually decided to try for another baby, and their daughter Ava was born in March last year.
Louise 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.
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
"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 Ava's birth, Louise's thoughts turned to the son and daughter she lost, as well as the woman who saved her life.
She wrote to her donor's family to let them know how much she owed their mum.
Louise and Max also raised £800 for a remembrance bench in Rowntree Park in honour of their twins – and any other families who've experience 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 that's 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 keen to raise awareness of organ donation and liver conditions in pregnancy.
She said: "Itchy skin, abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin, excessive thirst, tiredness, bleeding gums are all symptoms of liver conditions.
"I think if you are willing to receive an organ, then you should be willing to donate.
"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."
Louise and Max's friends and family are running the York 10k in memory of Mia and Leo – with the money raised going to local organ donation charities. You can donate here.
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