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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The grandma who's a mum again at 53... despite the fact she was still taking the Pill just in case

-'I love looking after my granddaughters - I never thought that I would be looking after another baby of my own'
-Odds of conceiving naturally and giving birth to healthy baby at 53 same as winning the lottery

By James Tozer and Lucy Laing

At the age of 53, Debbie Hughes imagined the only babies she would be looking after would be her granddaughters.

Instead, despite taking the contraceptive Pill, she has become one of Britain's oldest ever naturally conceiving mothers – giving birth to a healthy baby boy named Kyle.

Surprise delivery: Debbie Hughes with her new son Kyle who came despite his mother taking the pill

Miss Hughes took a pregnancy test after her family teased her about putting on weight, expecting the notion that she was having another child to be swiftly ruled out. But after putting on her reading glasses to decipher the result, the astonishing news began to sink in.

Now she is nursing the unexpected addition to her family, who is 26 years younger than his elder brother.

As fertility experts described her achievement as 'remarkable', Miss Hughes was yesterday relearning the ropes of motherhood.

'I'd already given birth to three children, and thought that those days were definitely over,' she said. 'I was on the contraceptive Pill just to make sure, but I never imagined I could ever have fallen pregnant at my age.

'I'm a grandmother and I love looking after my granddaughters – I never thought that I would be looking after another baby of my own.'

Miss Hughes, a jewellery assistant, who lives with her partner Paul Clarke, 45, a heavy goods vehicle driver, wasn't planning any additions to her family.

Debbie and her daughter, Hayley, in 1980 (above) and in 1997 (below). Hayley tragically died a week before her 18th birthday

She already has two sons Mark, 26, and Brandon, 11. Her daughter Hayley died tragically just a week before her 18th birthday. She is also grandmother to Mark's daughters – Lydia, two, and Nicole, three.

Her suspicions began last March, by which time she was already five months' pregnant.

'Mark noticed my stomach was slightly protruding and he started teasing me that I was putting on a bit of weight,' she said. 'He joked that I could be pregnant, which seemed impossible, as I was still having my periods.

'I thought I was throwing my money away doing a test as I couldn't possibly be pregnant, but when it showed positive I couldn't believe it.

'I'd had to put my reading glasses on to read the result, and I was so incredibly shocked. I went out and bought another three tests to make sure.'

A decade apart: Debbie Hughes with son Kyle today (left) and son Brandon in 2001 (right)

After informing her GP – who 'nearly fell off his chair' – she was booked to see a midwife. Despite being worried about her age, Miss Hughes, of Daventry in Northamptonshire, had a textbook pregnancy, with only a small amount of morning sickness in the first few months.

She said: 'I had been so worried because of my age about whether I was even going to be able to carry the pregnancy to full term because I knew there was a high chance of me losing the baby or giving birth prematurely. But I felt incredibly healthy all the way through.'

She went into labour last June and gave birth naturally to Kyle at Northampton General Hospital, weighing 7lb 11lb.

Pictured with her partner, Paul Clarke, she said her GP 'nearly fell of his chair' when he found out she was pregnant

Despite more than a decade's gap, the magic of motherhood didn't take long to rediscover. She said: 'It was amazing to hold him in my arms afterwards, and I felt the same rush of love that I had felt with my other children.

'I do get more tired than I did before, especially getting up to do the night feeds. But I do love being a mum again.'

Dawn Brooke, from Guernsey, became the world's oldest mother through natural conception at the age of 59, in 1997.

Mark Sedler, a consultant gynaecologist at CARE Fertility, said: 'Falling pregnant at this age without any form of fertility treatment and for the baby to be born healthy and well is remarkable.

'The odds are about the same as winning the lottery.'



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