Pregnancy after lung surgery


My journey into motherhood was not quite what one would call typical. In fact, my life has not been particularly typical! I have experienced extreme highs and fairly dramatic lows with limited time in the middle for normality. To go into every nook and cranny of these wild events would require an entire book (one day!)


so for now I will highlight the current event. When I was nineteen my lung collapsed during a bike ride with my friend. I experienced chest pain and as most invincible teenagers would, I continued on my ride. Later that evening I would be taken to the hospital and told I needed lung surgery to save my life due to blebs on both lungs and a pneumothorax on the left. After minimal recovery from major surgery, I started university in Brighton at the uni of Sussex and went on to spend five and a half years studying psychology, and then psychological interventions with a view to becoming a clinical psychologist.


All through these degrees, mixed in with the best times swimming in the sea, making wonderful friendships, and nannying for the best families; my body was in sabotage mode. I had multiple hospital admissions to intensive care with pneumonia, sepsis, adrenal crises, seizures, and worsening asthma symptoms. Juggling severe ill health with upholding a lifestyle of postgraduate study, having fun, and trying to spend time on Brighton Beach, ideally swimming and cycling, was, looking back, fairly exhausting and probably verging on insanity.


In March 2022 my health took a nosedive after I caught covid-19. I spent time in hospital and then was discharged on home nursing care with oxygen and nebulisers to use around the clock. I could hardly eat, walk or breathe and I don’t think I was alone in thinking that my life was creeping towards its end. At this point, I felt like a helpless, useless failure who was no longer studying properly, wasn’t working and spent most days in bed, breathless and exhausted. The silver lining and in fact the life saving element to all of this difficulty was, and remains, my support network. I am so unbelievably lucky to have friends & family who stuck with me through a time in my life when I wasn’t at my best. They saved my life, I know that for certain. Tom and I have been together for five or so years and he is a huge part of my reason to keep going when times feel impossibly hard.


We had always talked about having a family; I absolutely adore children and Tom said early on that he wanted to be with someone who loved and wanted children – it was a dealbreaker for both of us ! However, when my health declined so suddenly we feared that our dreams would never be fulfilled and that it wouldn’t happen for us. Well, not only did I get pregnant, I also carried the baby for seven months and had a c-section which resulted in his safe arrival, eight weeks early. It wasn’t a simple pregnancy, of course ! I spent weeks in hospital and experienced two bouts of sepsis, a pneumonia resulting in intensive care treatment and multiple adrenal crises due to my uncontrolled adrenal insufficiency.

We had many consultants’ involvement and several long drives to a specialist hospital for detailed scans and close monitoring… but the most incredible part of this was that not only did growing a baby in my weak, broken body not kill me, but it actually began to heal me. My oxygen saturations which had been very low, started to increase, in turn boosting my exercise tolerance and my mood. I could actually take clear breaths without feeling like a wet paper straw was lodged in my airways.


The adventure we are embarking upon is going to be full of highs and lows just as life was before our baby was born. I have had hospital admissions since, my health is still rocky and I still need oxygen to support my lungs and help my breathing. Nothing is simple, and everything is beyond exhausting and there is an insurmountable level of ball juggling going on – oh and we are trying to buy a house before August when Tom starts his new anaesthetics reg job! However I wouldn’t exchange all the sleep and comfort in the world for our healthy baby.


I have been following her photography journey since day one, having known her since I was six years old and she used to babysit for my brother and me. I knew Jess was amazing with children as we used to get very excited ahead of our evenings with her when we were little. I then saw her with her own babies years later and the warmth and love was palpable. What I hadn’t ever experienced was Jess’ photography – but that was not to disappoint! Her images are soft and filled with affability and smooth energy, showing families relaxed and happy cuddling new bundled up babies with gorgeous tiny toes. We were sooo excited to take our four month old to visit and for him to have photos, but more importantly cuddles, with our very special friend Jess! The shoot was fun, calm and relaxed – to be honest I was more worried about my partner Tom than the baby, but even he was relaxed and photogenic under Jess’ magical spell!