An amazing young woman who survived horrific burns as a baby, only to be told she would never have children of her own, has announced she is now the proud mum of a bouncing baby boy.
Chantelle Ryan (19) was only 14 months old when a blaze ripped through her home – which led to her being treated for 24% burns and major lung damage, caused by burning ceiling tiles which fell into her cot.
Since then, Chantelle has undergone operations to minimise the scarring and was told by doctors when she was 13 she would be unable to have children because of the internal damage she had suffered.
Such was her disbelief at falling pregnant, the proud mum to baby Francis Benedict Joseph Ryan has revealed she took no less than 15 home pregnancy tests – and even then she couldn’t believe it.
Chantelle, who lives in Duke Bar, said: “It was my mum who first suspected I was pregnant. I certainly wasn’t planning anything because I’d resigned myself to the fact I couldn’t have children.
“Mum had noticed I’d been sleeping and eating more. I didn’t believe her but I took a home pregnancy test and it came back positive. I took 15 in total because I couldn’t believe it.
I’d always wanted to be a mum, but whenever I saw people with children I would think to myself that will never be meChantelle
“In fact, it was only when I went for my first scan at the hospital and saw Francis that it truly sank in. I just started crying.”
Chantelle, who attended Hameldon Community College, gave birth to Francis on September 7th, and despite a three-day labour, the new mum said there were no problems.
“It’s like a dream come true. Francis is a brilliant baby. He’s sleeping and eating well.
“I’d always wanted to be a mum, but whenever I saw people with children I would think to myself that will never be me.”
Chantelle says her next dream is to introduce baby Francis, named after her late grandfather, to two of her rescuers from that fateful day – firefighters Steve Cope and Neil Hardiman.
“I owe so much to Steve and Neil. I would love for them to meet Francis. It’s all been a dream come true.”