Double liver transplant survivor Paul Goodall and his wife Vicky – who lost 14 stone in a bid to get pregnant – are expecting their ‘miracle’ baby next month.
Four years ago the devoted Hemsworth couple were told they would probably never have children unless Vicky slimmed down.
She had gastric bypass surgery and shed the weight, but then in December 2012 doctors told 51-year-old Paul he had liver failure and would be dead within two years unless he had a transplant.
His first transplant, at St James’ Hospital in Leeds, was in June last year – but by October his body had rejected the new liver and he was put back on the transplant list.
Vicky, 29, said: “When Paul was in hospital in October I found out I was pregnant. It was fantastic news after all the heartache, but obviously I was worried about Paul. Then in February he had his second transplant, which has been successful.
“He will be on medication for life and will need regular hospital visits, but his life expectancy is the same as anyone else’s.
“We have been through so much in the past four years, it’s fantastic that we’ve reached this point. We are overjoyed about our baby, it’s a miracle that we’re going to be parents at last.”
Paul, a self-employed plasterer, said: “The past few years have been life-changing for us both.
“When you’re on the transplant list, you’re just waiting by the phone for the call to say there’s a donor. I wouldn’t go anywhere without my mobile phone.
“I would urge people to register to be a donor, if you are willing to receive an organ you should be willing to donate.
“The hospital has been fantastic. I would like to thank the surgeon who told me I had two years to live, then gave me two transplants to make sure I survived.
“I’m absolutely over the moon that we’re having a baby. It’s a miracle, it’s something I thought would never happen.”
Paul and Vicky met in 2006 and decided two or three years later that they wanted a family.
Vicky said: “We knew we wanted children, but doctors said I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant unless I lost weight. It took me two years after having the bypass to lose all the weight.
“We’ve been told since that it was probably the problems with Paul’s health that were stopping us conceiving. But we’re just glad it has all had a happy ending.”
Paul added: “If anything the baby has given me a goal and something to take my mind off my liver problems, it’s given me something to fight for.”
The couple, of Highfield Road, have now raised more than £1,500 for St James’ Hospital Liver Trust Fund by organising cake sales and raffles with the help of friends and family.
Vicky, a support worker, said: “The team at St James’ have been fantastic I can’t thank them enough. They saved Paul’s life. Without that first liver Paul wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t be having a baby.
“They have been fantastic, the support we received was amazing, it’s like being part of a family. When we found out I was pregnant the hospital staff kept telling me to concentrate on the baby and they would look after Paul.
“The fund is obviously extremely close to our hearts and we wanted to give a little bit back to show our support for the care Paul’s been given.”
Vicky added: “We’d also like to thank Nicola Norbury who made cakes for the sale, Lou’s Balloons, Hemsworth Farm Shop and Kinsley News and Booze for raffle donations.”