herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Baby Faith's perfect, but I was terrified when she arrived early - Michelle

MICHELLE Heaton has revealed her fear that her unplanned labour could have triggered her heart condition.

The fitness fanatic was ordered by consultants to undergo a planned caesarean section due to the heart condition which she believes was triggered by her use of over-the-counter slimming pills she took while she was in pop band Liberty X.

However, her baby daughter Faith had other ideas and Michelle went into labour a week earlier than planned.

Michelle had to go through a natural labour, and feared this would put her life at risk due to her heart condition, commonly known as Mobitz Type 1. Consultants had previously told her the C-section was for her own safety.

"At the beginning of January I was told I had a high risk of going into Mobitz Type II if I gave birth naturally, because of the strain on your heart when pushing," she explained.

"The cardiologist decided I was going to have a C-section -- it wasn't even an option. I'd been practising hypno-birthing thinking it was all going to be natural, so every plan we had went out the window.

"Then a week before my C-section was booked, I woke up at two o'clock and gush -- my waters broke. It was like a tap. I couldn't move or cough without it gushing."

Her birthing plan was thrown into total disarray as she had to be rushed to hospital in the early hours of the morning as they scrambled to deal with the emergency.

"At 4 o'clock the doctor prepped me and said he didn't feel comfortable doing the C-section because he was too junior to deal with such a special case," she continued. "They said I had to wait until the day doctors came in at 8 o'clock."

Their little girl -- who they have named Faith Michelle Hanley -- obviously wasn't willing to wait and Michelle started getting contractions just a few minutes later. After a painful wait, Michelle was prepped for theatre and given an epidural, but they had problems getting it in.

"They tried again and she was out within five minutes," gushes Michelle. "She cried in a few seconds and she was perfect."

Shortly after, she confirmed news of the birth in a message that read: "Faith is even more amazing than I ever imagined. We are truly blessed."

Michelle's heart problems first came to light after she was stretchered away from the finishing line at the London Marathon in 2010. Shortly afterwards, it was revealed that she had been suffering from unexplained arrhythmia -- a term for problems with the heart rhythm -- for seven years.

In an interview she gave last year, Newcastle-born Michelle stated her belief that she brought the condition on herself -- by taking over-the-counter diet pills during her time with now-defunct pop band Liberty X.

"I never wanted to talk about this before -- I didn't even tell the other girls in the band -- but from the age of 18 to 24 I was basically addicted to these caffeine diet pills which, at that time, were widely available in high street chemists," she said.

"I had a boyfriend who was very much into fitness and he wanted me to be slimmer than I was. I tried dieting but wasn't losing weight. On the pills, having been ten-and-a-half stone, I managed to lose two stone." I would take a pill an hour before a meal to curb my appetite -- which it did. It was like drinking four cans of Red Bull."

mfinn@herald.ie

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