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Last Updated: Monday, 20 June, 2005, 08:38 GMT 09:38 UK
'I thank the steroid for my baby'
Harry Hirst
Ruth now has a healthy baby boy
Ruth Hirst, 42, gave birth to a healthy baby boy just over a fortnight ago after trying a new approach to prevent recurrent miscarriages.

Ruth, who is a midwife from Huddersfield, went to see Dr Siobhan Quenby and her team in Liverpool University, who have been testing a new steroid treatment.

Ruth has three older children, aged 11, nine and six. But two-and-a-half years ago, she and her husband decided that they wanted to try for more.

She conceived quite quickly, but after being pregnant for only six weeks she miscarried.

I feel complete and right again
Ruth Hirst

"I remained quite positive. I thought it was just a fluke and I was unlucky."

Her and her husband tried again. They went on to conceive another three times, but each time Ruth lost the baby at around six weeks.

"I was completely devastated after the fourth because I then thought something was wrong.

"The only explanation I seemed to get was that it was down to my age. But I did not think it was, because I could get pregnant."

She then saw a TV report about researchers in Liverpool looking at the role of immune cells called NK cells in recurrent miscarriage.

The researchers were suggesting that some women might be miscarrying because they had too many NK cells in their womb, but that this might be treatable with a steroid drug called prednisolone.

Ruth went to see Dr Siobhan Quenby, who was doing the research, to see if she might be able to help.

She had a biopsy taken which showed that she did have abnormally high numbers of NK cells in her womb lining.

Ruth began taking daily prednisolone. A month later, tests showed the prednisolone had worked - her NK cell levels had gone down.

She continued taking the treatment while trying to get pregnant. She conceived again quickly and stopped taking the prednisolone as recommended, but unfortunately miscarried.

This time a cause was found, which was unrelated to the NK cells.

Ruth waited a month and then began the steroid treatment again. She fell pregnant and this time the pregnancy continued normally, ending with the birth of her new baby boy Harry at 40 weeks.

"I needed an awful lot of support because it was very hard to get through the first few weeks. I did not think anything could live inside me any more.

"I had spent so much time grieving the loss of my other babies. It affected my relationships with other children and my husband.

"Every day of waiting felt like a week. But as every week went by I felt better.

"I'm so glad I tried the steroids. I'm just ecstatic. I didn't really believe that this would end and I would have a healthy baby after two-and-a-half years of trying.

"We are just delighted. He is everything we have wanted and everything we have tried for. I feel complete and right again."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Ruth Hirst talks about her treatment



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