At just 28 weeks and one day, little Ally Louise Smith had to be born so her mum could start intensive cancer treatment.
Heidi Loughlin, 32, has inflammatory breast cancer, and was hoping to bring her baby girl to term before starting aggressive treatment to stop the disease.
But her body wasn’t responding to the more mild pregnancy-safe chemotherapy, and so doctors said Loughlin would have to deliver the baby early or risk the disease progressing too far for her to have any chance of beating the cancer.
With two young sons already at home, Loughlin said there was only one choice she could make.
“Realistically I’ve got to make a decision that encompasses everyone. I absolutely need to be here for my children… But I’m scared to my core about a baby born so early.
“I am also scared that I may not get through this. Mostly I’m scared of doing the wrong thing and I kick myself every day that I can’t pull a crystal ball out of my ass.”
So Ally, nicknamed chocolate mousse before she was born, was delivered on December 11. She was 12 weeks premature.
Loughlin was delighted, and announced her birth to the world.
“Keith and I are absolutely thrilled to announce the safe arrival of our daughter formally known as chocolate mousse,” she wrote.
“She was born today via c section at 1237. She came out foot first and is breathing on her own. She weighs 2lb 5ozs. She has a Loughlin nose and she has more hair than me!!!”
The little girl seemed to be doing well, and four days after her birth, Loughlin said she was “kicking arse”.
But on December 19, Ally died.
Loughlin wrote a tribute poem for her that she posted on her blog on the weekend.
Our beautiful girl
Yesterday afternoon our hearts broke in two.
For we had to say goodby to you.
Our love for you is a beautiful haze
Even though you lived for 8 short days
We kissed you, we cuddled you, we tickled your feet,
And I know again one day we’ll meet
Today brought a rainbow, the lightest of hue
And I wondered if it was sent from you?
Our beautiful daughter Ally Louise,
I whisper your name and it drifts on the breeze,
The pain in my body and heart and my soul
Feels it will consume me and leave me un-whole
Your brothers will honour you in all that they do,
We forever have 3 children, not just two,
I will try to heal for you, and my body unfurl.
You’ll be always beside me our beautiful girl.
Loughlin was first diagnosed with rare and aggressive inflammatory breast cancer in September of this year, when she was already pregnant with Ally.
A police officer from Somerset in England’s south-west, Loughlin was offered a termination so that she could proceed with treatment, but she wanted to try and bring Ally to term.
Unfortunately, Ally wasn’t able to survive.