Abby Beats The Odds To Thrill Her Parents
When Abby Louise cried in the delivery room, parents Margaretanne and David Tombs were ecstatic as she was the baby they had so desperately been longing for.
Doctors warned the couple that their daughter may not cry, because she was being delivered by Caesarean section 12 weeks early.
But as Abby came into the world, she let out a hearty scream, a poignant signal to her my mum and dad that she had arrived - and she was alive.
Sadly, Margaretanne and David know the agony of hearing silence in the delivery room, having lost a stillborn daughter and a son before.
Margaretanne has also suffered a number of miscarriages.
The birth of every child is a happy occasion, but given the couple's past heartache, Abby's arrival was particularly special for them. She was the little girl they had prayed for, and that is why they call her their 'miracle baby'.
Margaretanne, 30, said: "When she cried that day it was amazing. She was born on December 18, but was not due until March 17.
"David and I had been trying for a baby for years. I was determined to have my baby.
"When I went down to have the C-section, I was scared, but I couldn't wait to get to see her and hold her. They told me I would have to wait.
"The first day I actually got to hold her was Christmas Eve and that was the best Christmas present anyone could give me."
The following day, David and Margaretanne celebrated their first Christmas as parents, but the New Year brought bad news.
"It was January 10, the anniversary of my gran's death, and I will never forget it," said Margaretanne, fighting back the tears.
"Abby got her Last Rites. A minister came up to the hospital, he was her Godfather, and one of the nurses was her Godmother.
"She stopped breathing and was clinically dead for a few seconds before they brought her back.
"I believe that my Gran was there with her and told her to come back.
"We 'lost' her on the Saturday and by Tuesday, Abby was breathing again on her own. Abby really was a miracle baby."
Today, schoolgirl Abby, from Mount Florida in Glasgow, makes an impression on everyone she meets with her smile, good nature and her fighting spirit.
But even after her battle for survival at birth, little Abby had another fight on her hands.
Last December she was diagnosed with a disease of the immune system, called systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE - in the same week she celebrated her ninth birthday.
SLE, which is not linked to her premature birth, can damage any organ or system in the human body. For Abby it has caused a hole in her kidneys, or lupus nephritis.
In a bid to treat the disease, doctors at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill in Glasgow put her on an intense seven-month course, a chemotherapy, treatment more commonly administered to children and adults battling cancer.
Every day she takes nine tablets to keep the condition at bay, and must wear suncream at school to protect her delicate skin from breaking out in lupus rashes when exposed to fluorescent light.
Margaretanne said: "She can't run about as much as her friends and she gets tired a lot. Sometimes she can be in a lot of pain, and because her immune system is so weak, she is prone to infections.
"When she is not well, I get frightened. At her school I have to know what infections are going around, because Abby is open to everything and it puts her in danger. Her school has been fantastic, the teachers there are so understanding.
"When David and I found out Abby had SLE, we felt we were back at square one.
"Visiting the hospital again brought it all back, all the emotions we went through when she was a baby came back to haunt us.
"We're coping okay, but sometimes I get bubbly. People say I shouldn't cry in front of Abby, but I can't help it when I look at her at times.
"She is such a loving child and when I am down she comes over to me to cuddle me and tells me not to worry.
"Hospital is going to be a big part of her life. She is okay when she goes into Yorkhill hospital, and the staff there are excellent, so I can't complain.
"She is my only child and I can't have any more kids. She is my world.
"We will do anything we can for her, because we love her so much."
And by doing "anything", they really mean it.
They may have climbed many mountains over the last few years, but in October, David and Margaretanne are scaled the dizzy heights of the highest mountain in the UK as a tribute to their only child.
They joined walkers on a five-hour climb to the summit of Ben Nevis.
Because Abby was not strong enough to take part in the Ben Nevis Challenge, she was invited to launch the event, which generated thousands of pounds for Kidney Research UK.
The family has also walked the Forth Road Bridge, and hold regular charity events to raise money to fund research into kidney diseases.
David, a bus driver, and his colleagues at City Sprinter also got on board and collected for Yorkhill, where Abby is still receiving treatment.
Dressed as Santa for the day, the bus drivers raised a staggering £3500.
Given that three million people in the UK suffer chronic kidney disease, Kidney Research UK - the key funding body for renal research - relies on the generosity and support from members of the public. If you would like to make a difference to others by making a donation, call 08456 12 12 26 or visit www.kidneyresearchuk.org
'Abby stopped breathing and was clinically dead for a few seconds'
I look normal, as I have an "Invisible Illness". You can not catch it, you can not see it. It's called Lupus.My body is attacking itself on the inside.www.LupusMCTD.com
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