new arrival | 

Mum with cystic fibrosis has miracle baby giving hope to others

‘That fact that we have Colby now and he’s ours means that if anything bad happens to me in the future there is something there to shine a light on’

Nicole Adams and baby

Nicole with partner Ciaran in Dubai

Nicole Adams and partner Ciaran McVarnock

Nicole Adams and her baby

Roisin GormanSunday World

Nicole Adams’ miracle baby could give hope to other couples living with cystic fibrosis.

The campaigning mum welcomed son Colby McVarnock Adams recently after believing for years her health condition would stop her having children.

And the new arrival even waited until Nicole and partner Ciaran had seen Garth Brooks in Dublin.

“People said to me I was mad going to Dublin when I was due,” says Nicole.

“I told them I’d waited eight years for this man to come, I had my bags packed and if I went into labour that’s the way it is.”

It was less than three years ago in December 2019 that she was gravely ill in hospital with a lung function of just 20 per cent. When Ciaran shared pictures of Nicole struggling to breathe, they went viral and persuaded drug company Vertex to give her Kaftrio, a drug therapy which transformed her life.

Nicole with partner Ciaran in Dubai

Thanks to the couple’s campaign the drug is now available to CF sufferers in Northern Ireland over six, following its approval for the over-12s in 2020, the only part of the UK where it’s so widely offered.

Nicole, 31, who had been diagnosed with the condition at six weeks, now leads an almost normal life with CF, in which thick mucus builds up in the lungs and causes irreparable damage, but believed it would continue to affect her fertility until the pair conceived naturally earlier this year.

“I had said to Ciaran when I was ill that it broke my heart that I couldn’t leave him anything that belonged to us,” says Nicole.

“We didn’t have anything that was ours.

“That fact that we have Colby now and he’s ours means that if anything bad happens to me in the future there is something there to shine a light on.

“If I can do it with a low lung function and being told for years I couldn’t, I’d say if you know you’re healthy and you’re mentally strong, go for it.

“A thousand per cent I’d love to be able to give people hope.”

Nicole Adams and partner Ciaran McVarnock

Nicole had a normal pregnancy with regular check ups because of the risk of gestational diabetes for women with CF.

She needs only 20 minutes on a nebuliser a day to keep her lungs clear and kept up her daily walking routine.

Her only scare was during a scan when an error in the baby’s measurements suggested he’d lost weight, but he was born at just over 37 weeks weight 5lbs 15oz.

The worry for CF mums in labour is the necessity for a C-section, with any risk of infection and the restriction of movement during recovery.

Nicole put in over 13 hours in labour with an epidural for the final hours and sang through most of it.

“Ciaran was really worried about me breathing and struggling to push him out, but I was singing away to the radio. I pushed for two hours and they don’t like anyone pushing for more than that, so I had an episiotomy and they used suction to get the baby out,” she says.

Nicole Adams and her baby

“I was getting tired by the end, but they could have turned me upside down and I would have been happy enough just to get him out and safe.

“I knew I was coming out of the hospital with a baby instead of two blue bags of medication which is what I was used to.”

She says new dad Ciaran, a former boxer, has been amazing and little Colby has let his parents get some sleep.

“Ciaran has been a legend, getting up for the night feeds and letting me get to bed early or get a bath, and Colby is a wee darling.”

The pair have another hurdle ahead when they find out if their baby has cystic fibrosis. Following his birth in the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital staff took blood from his umbilical cord but it will be weeks before they have the results.

Ciaran also carries the CF gene, which means their children have a 75 per cent chance of having the condition but Nicole continued to take Kaftrio during her pregnancy which may have given their baby some protection.

The new mum has also taken heart from her own experience growing up when her parents encouraged her to take up activities like dancing and few people knew she had the condition until she became ill in her twenties.

The couple’s only indicator at the moment is Colby’s nappies as CF also affects the digestion of food, but they’re ready to face the future.

“It might take a couple of weeks to get the results back and we’re just enjoying not knowing until we know, and then we’ll deal with it.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” says Nicole.

roisin.gorman@sundayworld.com


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