A young Gainsborough mum had to make the heartbreaking decision of whether to keep her unborn baby after she was told the child had not developed kidneys.
Sharni Wileman, 22, went for a scan to find out if she was going to be having a boy or a girl - but due to there not being enough fluid around her baby doctors referred Sharni for a specialist consultant scan at Lincoln Maternity Unit a few days later.
Sharni said: “I remember the consultant doing the scan and then sitting me down and telling me my baby had something called Potters Syndrome, which means the foetus develops without the kidneys and without the kidneys there was ‘no hope’.
“I was absolutely heartbroken. I left the room crying and was taken by a midwife into a quiet room who explained to me that I could have a termination under medical grounds.
“Or if I went full term my baby would only survive a few hours because I also had severe oligohydramnis, which is severely low fluid levels, which a baby needs to survive.”
Sharni went for a second opinion at Queen’s Medical Centre the very next day, on October 11 2014. Doctors did another scan and confirmed the same diagnosis.
Potters Syndrome is an incredibly rare condition, and according to www.potterssyndrome.org the likelihood of a baby having the condition is between one in 2,000 and one and 5,000. And the average is approximately one in 4,000 births.
Sharni said: “I went home and I cried and I grieved a lot. I even started planning a funeral.
“From that day on I wrote in a diary, I made a memory box, I took loads of photos, I did everything I could to make the pregnancy feel ‘normal’.
“I remember telling my son, who was four at the time, that his baby brother or sister would be going to a special place called heaven and his response was “can we visit in grandad’s car”, bless him, he didn’t understand.”
After weeks of agnonising over what to do, Sharni decided to keep her baby.
She said: “It only felt right that I’d carry on my pregnancy until my baby chose it was time to let go himself or herself.”
Sharni was monitored closely throughout the rest of her pregnancy. At one of her scans she was told by her midwife that there was a normal level of fluid and she thought it was a girl.
Another scan was scheduled for 25 weeks and six days, five days after her last scan.
Sharni said: “I laid down and the sonographer started to scan me, he was moving around in all different areas of my tummy trying to get a good picture, then he stopped, he stared at the screen for a few minutes, zoomed in and then he started typing.
“I said “what’s that?” and he said “well Miss Wileman, that’s your baby’s kidney”.
“He repeated this process on the other side and showed me two kidneys inside my baby.
“The overwhelming feeling of relief the moment he said that, was tremendous. He then went on to tell me that my baby would survive and how she was a miracle.”
Sharni went on to give birth to Maddison on Friday, February 13, 2015.
She said: “I’m so lucky and Maddison is so beautiful.
“She spent a couple of weeks in the NICU unit and she has had a couple of follow up appointments back at the Queen’s Medical Centre as she was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease a few days after she was born.
“But they are so so pleased with her progress and how far she has come, as are me and the rest of us.
“Everyone’s so grateful that she’s here. We appreciate every day we have with her and we are so blessed.”