A mum-to-be spent five months confined to bed 24 hours a day – to save the lives of her unborn twins.
Lisa Copley spent so long lying down, her muscles wasted and her legs became too weak to walk on.
But after three cycles of IVF to become pregnant, it was a sacrifice the 31-year-old was prepared to take.
Lisa had a thin cervix that made her likely to miscarry. Surgery would have made no difference, so she was ordered to bed – and to stay there.
She was under strict instructions not to get up, not even for a wash or a snack, although brief toilet visits were allowed.
It was a long and uncomfortable ordeal – but a worthwhile one, for Lisa is now the proud mum to twins Lola and Lucas.
After two failed attempts at IVF with partner James Richardson, 40, a consultant at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, in Guildford, told Lisa the only hope of keeping her babies in the womb long enough to have any chance of surviving was to literally put her feet up.
She was admitted to hospital and told to lie as flat as possible. Washing, eating, reading and watching TV would all have to be done lying down.
She told the Mirror her days of confinement were tedious, but worse was the knowledge that it might all be for nothing.
"I knew my babies were in grave danger," she said.
They expected me to go into premature labour and I knew that if I did before 23 weeks they wouldn't have a chance.
As the weeks turned to months, Lisa stayed in the same bed, staring up at the hospital ceiling, counting the hours.
"I was literally ticking off the days as I imagine a prisoner would do in jail," she said.
"Most other patients were women in labour who'd go home after a day or two, but when someone stayed for longer I would call them a 'lifer' like me."
Lisa's first big goal was to get her babies to 24 weeks – the age when they would be entitled to medical care should they arrive early.
But a 20-week scan showed her cervix was now just 8mm thick.
"I was too scared to cough or sneeze, let alone stand up," she said.
"I just prayed we would get to 24 weeks."
That date came and went – and went, and went – and at 34 weeks doctors agreed Lisa was at last out of the danger zone and she was finally allowed home to wait for her twins to arrive.
"I compared it to how it must feel to be released from prison. Our house isn't huge but it felt like a palace," she said.
But one week later, Lisa developed the dangerous pregnancy condition pre-eclampsia and was told the twins needed to be delivered.
"I couldn't believe it when I was admitted and taken straight back to my old bed," she said.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, her babies arrived by Caesarean section on January 3 this year.
Daughter Lola was placed in Lisa's arms but, due to delivery complications, son Lucas was rushed to special care.
It was three days before he was well enough to join his mum and sister on the ward.
Now the four-month-old twins are thriving.
Apart from having physiotherapy to help back pain following her long stint in bed, Lisa is back to normal.
She said being confined to bed was worth every minute.
"When you know your babies' lives are on the line, being in hospital for that long is easier than you think," she said.
"At times I feared I wouldn't be a mum. Now I have the perfect family."
Congratulations to Lisa and her new family!
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