Francesca’s Story – Research Gives Hope to Families at Christmas

Thanks to innovative research she’s enjoying her first Christmas with two miracle babies, Zak and Mia.

Premature baby with wires and adult hand on their head

After suffering multiple miscarriages and a stillbirth, Francesca thought her dream of having a family was over. Now, thanks to pioneering research, she’s enjoying her first Christmas with two miracle babies, Zak and Mia.

Francesca fell pregnant for the fourth time in 2015 but devastatingly lost her daughter at 22 weeks and was diagnosed with a pregnancy complication that causes recurrent miscarriages and stillbirths. She said: “I was grieving the baby we lost, and I was grieving the fact we’d never have a family. It was like a getting a death sentence.” 

However, Francesca became pregnant again in 2016 and on the 5th November, at just 27 weeks, Zak was born. On Christmas Day, Zak was taken off life support and after five months in hospital, Francesca and her husband Alex, were finally able to bring their son home.

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Three photos one of a baby sleeping, one a little boy with her sister and another of a little boy with a paper crown
From Left to Right: Baby Mia sleeping, Baby Mia with Zak and Zak on his own

Francesca said: “I look back now and realise what a miracle he is. Even the doctors called it a miracle.”

Francesca became pregnant again in 2018 and contacted Wellbeing of Women researchers Dr Emily Cornish and Dr David Williams. They diagnosed a rare disease during pregnancy where the mother’s immune system attacks the baby and womb. Francesca was given treatment allowing her to have a happy, healthy pregnancy.

But tragically, baby Luca was stillborn at 35 weeks due to unknown causes. Knowing her treatment could allow her to carry a baby to term, Francesca became pregnant again three months later. Putting her faith in Dr Cornish and Dr Williams, she was induced at 34 weeks and gave birth to a beautiful daughter, Mia. 

Francesca said: “There will always be a void in our lives. When you bury two children, the reality is a bit of you dies with them. But thanks to the treatment I have Mia. This treatment gives hope to other women with [the same condition].

Thanks to innovative research she’s enjoying her first Christmas with two miracle babies, Zak and Mia.

Wellbeing of Women is currently funding 16 of the UK’s leading experts to prevent miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, so no mother or family has to suffer like Francesca. 

Wellbeing of Women is the UK’s leading women’s health charity dedicated to saving and changing lives through research. Our pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment across the breadth of female reproductive and gynaecological health has helped save thousands of lives and ensure a better start for many babies.

Five people standing in row and one woman holding a baby
Francesca with baby Mia meeting researchers at UCL

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Wellbeing of Women is currently funding 16 of the UK’s leading experts to prevent miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, so no mother or family has to suffer like Francesca. 

Wellbeing of Women is the UK’s leading women’s health charity dedicated to saving and changing lives through research. Our pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment across the breadth of female reproductive and gynaecological health has helped save thousands of lives and ensure a better start for many babies.

This Christmas we’re asking for your help to support our vital research to find new treatments to prevent premature birth, miscarriage and stillbirth.

  • In the UK 1 in 4 pregnancies still ends in the loss of the baby
  • 15 babies are stillborn every day or die within a month of birth
  • 60,000 babies are born prematurely each year

We want to change this to help mother’s like Francesca.

We want to ensure that no family has to live with the overwhelming grief and distress of repeated miscarriage and stillbirth or watch helpless as the life of their tiny baby, born too soon, hangs in the balance.