Phil & Pat

We were a young married couple with a 12-month-old baby daughter, living in Birmingham in the 1970s, when my wife fell pregnant with what would have been our second child. She had the usual tests, but I soon realized that the doctors at Goodhope Hospital Sutton Coldfield had begun to show concern. It was explained to me that the baby had ceased to grow, but that that to which the baby was attached was growing at a terrific rate. The doctors stated that my wife was to be given a scrape to remove the contents of the womb. She underwent the scrape and was monitored by blood and urine tests. The doctors then informed us that the tests were giving “pregnant” readings although she was no longer pregnant, and that she should undergo a further scrape. Afterward, the tests continued, but so did the pregnancy readings.

After a third D&C, with the readings continuing to rise, Pat was referred to the Birmingham Women’s Hospital and placed under the care of Professor Hugh McClaren and a Doctor Newshome (to whom we shall be forever grateful). Although Pat was not fully aware of the implications of her condition, the doctors explained the situation to me. She was kept in isolation at the Women’s Hospital and treated with the drug methatrexine, and after so many hours was injected with an antidote. This was done many times over the next few weeks, with periods of rest in between. We were told that she may lose some or all of her hair, but fortunately she did not.

After a number of weeks, the doctors informed me that she was not responding to the treatment, and that her urine count was continuing to rise. I remember starting to feel a sense of panic, and even asked about a hysterectomy as a solution. It was explained to me that in addition to the womb problem, large areas of her lungs were showing dark areas. The Professor explained to me that they were going to have a case conference as to the next steps to be taken. He informed me that there were stronger drugs they could use, but bearing in mind my wife’s age (23 years), they were loathe to use the stronger drugs because of the potential for adverse effects on my wife’s future childbearing ability. My wife was allowed home for a few days to recover from the effects of the methatrexine and antidote, but I had to collect 24-hour specimens of urine and take them daily to the hospital laboratory for analysis. Each day, when the results were known, the figure had increased alarmingly, with no sign of any slowing down of the rate of increase.

I continued taking the urine to the lab, and Pat continued to recover from the effects of the drugs. After about a week Pat had recovered sufficiently for my father to suggest that she accompany him to a Pentecostal church service, where a Christian Evangelist would be praying for the sick. I could not attend, because I was working night duty as a police officer. My wife was not a churchgoer, neither was she fully aware of her condition, but because my father was quite persuasive, she decided to go along. Suffice it to say that at the church, Pat allowed herself to be prayed for, and apart from a feeling of weakness during the course of the prayer, she encountered no other feelings. She returned home to be looked after by my parents. (My older sister had taken on the task of caring for our baby daughter.) I continued with the 24 hour specimens to the lab.

Within a few days Pat had to return as an inpatient at the Women’s Hospital. I saw the doctor, who informed me they had just seen the results of the latest urine specimens, and after a continuing period of the readings rising, the reading on one of the latest specimens had read the same as the test preceding, and the following specimen had shown a slight drop. When I asked the date of the “frozen” reading, it was the 24-hour specimen directly following the evangelist’s prayer. From that date, the readings over the next 6 to 8 weeks continued daily to reduce, finally reducing to zero, and when Pat was X-rayed, the dark areas gradually reduced and also finally disappeared from her lungs. She was eventually discharged and reduced to weekly visits, then biweekly, then monthly. Eventually, when all had been shown to be clear for many months, Professor McClaren told us there was no reason why we shouldn’t go in for another child.

Ten months later, on September 9, 1972, our son was born. Professor McClaren came to see him and said, “and this is our miracle baby.”

In all the years since 1970 Pat has had no signs or symptoms or any recurring problems relating to the hydatidiform mole she suffered, and we are both now enjoying the perfect grandchildren of our miracle baby born 30 years ago.

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