Louise Warneford doesn’t have any pregnancy pictures to share.
After 18 miscarriages, she couldn't bear it.
“I never allowed photos when I was pregnant because I assumed I would lose the baby and I didn’t want that sad memory,” Warneford told TODAY Parents. "Each loss left me devastated. All my hopes, all my dreams... my whole world would just fall apart. It never got easier."
Then, at age 48, it happened.
After 16 years of devastating losses, Warneford gave birth to her son, William, just shy of her 49th birthday. The UK-based writer and her husband, Mark, 59, used a donor embryo as they had done several times before.
“When William was placed in my arms I felt like I’d won the lottery. I was absolutely euphoric," Warneford, now 53, recalled. “All the doctors and nurses were in tears because they knew my story.”
Warneford wants others to know her story, too.
Last year, Warneford released the book “Baby Dreams,” which details her heartbreaking journey to motherhood. In the book, Warneford reveals that she was about to give up when Dr. Hassan Shehata, an OBGYN in England, diagnosed her with elevated "natural killer" cells or NK cells. NK cells are part of the immune system and help the body fight infection. Shehata believes they can cause recurrent miscarriages.
“The NK cells think you’re carrying cancer or a virus and kill off the pregnancy,” Warneford explained.
Warneford said that Shehata treated Warneford with a combination of steroids, baby aspirin and blood thinners, and in June 2016, she delivered a healthy baby boy at 37 weeks gestation. It was the first time she had made it past the 14-week mark in a pregnancy.
Unfortunately, these therapies don't work for the majority of women, according to Dr. Lora Shahine, director of the Center for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss at PNWF in Seattle.
“For decades, doctors have been at a loss for ways to help women with multiple miscarriages and many of the treatments that focus on the immune system have left women still frustrated,” Shahine told TODAY Parents. “Scientific studies examining drastic immunosuppression treatment for women to prevent miscarriage have not proven beneficial, but women — and their doctors — desperate for an answer and an intervention, will often take the risks associated with these treatments.”
Despite all the heartache, Warneford says she would do it all over again.
"William is perfect," she gushed. "He's my miracle baby."