‘I was told my daughter would die, now she’s 25 years old’

A mother who was told her unborn child would die has said she is “so thankful” she did not have an abortion, as she speaks out with her now adult daughter.

Seven months into pregnancy, Sandra Notman was told her baby girl was so sick she would be stillborn, or die shortly after birth.

Her child had been diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD), an inherited disease which can lead to renal failure.


Sandra’s consultant advised her to have an abortion, which would mean injecting the baby with a lethal substance before removing her by caesarean section. She refused.

Despite the heart breaking diagnosis, Sandra chose to induce the pregnancy and hoped that she could spend a few precious moments with her daughter.

Along with her husband Andrew, she organised a funeral, ordered a tiny coffin and chose a dress for their daughter to be buried in.

On the day Sandra went into labour they were prepared for the worst. But to their astonishment tiny Rachel was born alive, weighing just over 2lbs.

‘So thankful’

Sandra told the Daily Mail: “After the delivery, when the midwife said our daughter wasn’t dying, it was surreal. I was so thankful I’d not agreed to have the injection that would have ended my baby’s life.”

“Rachel was tiny. She looked like a fragile doll. It was very stressful, but it felt like a miracle.”

After weeks in an incubator, Rachel was able to go home. She gained weight very slowly and one doctor told her parents: “You’ll be lucky to get another year.”

“He said that every year for the first five years of Rachel’s life”, Sandra said.


Twenty five years on, after battling through kidney dialysis and a transplant operation, Rachel is fit and healthy. She has a degree in fashion textiles and is engaged to be married.

Rachel told the Mail: “I hope by telling my story we give others hope. I’m living proof that where there is life, there is hope. Always.”

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