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My little china doll; Tiny Millie had 30 broken bones in the WOMB due to rare condition. Now she is...

Byline: EXCLUSIVE by Lucy Laing

FRAGILE Millie Simpson was born with fractured bones all over her body - but one thing that proved unbreakable was her will to live.

Tiny Millie's battle against severe brittle bone disease began before she was even born, as she broke 30 bones in the womb.

Doctors told her devastated parents Stevie and Tyler that Millie was unlikely to survive the birth and offered them a termination.

But Stevie was determined to give her baby a chance. And now, despite being born with broken ribs, two-year-old Millie is going from strength to strength - but she is unable stand as her feet would break under the weight.

Stevie said: "She is like a real-life china doll.

Her bones are so fragile they break with just the slightest touch.

"But she is getting stronger each day with her calcium treatment. And she has such a huge personality. We are so proud of her. She has defied the doctors to have survived - she is such a little fighter."

Mum-of-one Stevie, 23, was 34 weeks pregnant before doctors noticed a problem. Initially they thought Millie's small limbs meant she had dwarfism but a second scan revealed the multiple breaks - to her back, arms and legs.

Stevie said: "We were devastated when we were told what Millie had. It was such a severe case. The scan showed some of the breaks had healed and others hadn't. Some bones had several breaks at a time. It was so upsetting to know that every time she had moved in my womb, it broke her bones."

The doctors offered Stevie a termination at 37 weeks as Millie's case was so severe. They feared her broken ribs would mean she would be unable to breathe on her own. But her brave parents refused. Stevie said: "There was no way that we were going to end our daughter's life like that. We had to give her a chance."

Instead, Millie was born by caesarean in that same week. Stevie said: "She let out a cry when she was born and it was the most amazing thing. She came out fighting, we were just so relieved. There was no way that she was giving up."

Three weeks later battling Millie was well enough to be allowed home to Ellesmere Port in Cheshire. She had calcium treatments every few weeks and intensive physiotherapy to strengthen her bones.

She couldn't sit up until she was eight months old and, since birth, has broken her arms and legs several times as well as her jaw. She has fractured bones just by rolling over, or by someone lightly touching her.

Stevie said: "Her bones are extremely fragile and she can't stand up as she can't put her weight on her feet. It's a daunting task for her but we hope she'll walk one day.

Watching her im-prove is so rewarding. We're so proud of her." Stevie lets her older sister Lottie, nearly three, play with Millie but is very watchful.

She said: "We have to be very careful bathing and dressing Millie as she is so fragile. It has to be done slowly and carefully with no sudden movements.

"I let her explore by herself. It's daunting as I know she is so fragile and, as she gets older, she'll want to do more and more.

"But it's rewarding watching her enjoying herself. She uses a wheelchair to get around, and she's such a determined little girl. Her bones are so fragile - she sat on a waterbed once and broke her arm, that's how delicate she is. We couldn't hold her for two weeks after she was born or wind her in case we broke the bones in her back."

Chemical plant technician Tyler, 27, said: "We are so proud of Millie. She makes so many people light up, she's a real joy to be around.

"It was a terrifying when we were told about her condition and we wondered how she could possibly survive."

Brittle bone disease is caused by abnormalities to the genes that control collagen, a protein essential for bone strength. The amount of fractures can diminish during teenage years.

A spokeswoman for The Brittle Bone Society said: "Brittle bone disease differs in severity - there can be a few bones broken in the womb, or they can break within the first few months of life.

She added: "I've never before heard of a case so severe."

Stevie said: "Millie may be a real-life china doll but she has such a fighting spirit. She could have given up with all those broken bones in the womb but she didn't. She's our little miracle."

features@people.co.uk For more information visit www.brittle bone.org

She's so fragile she can't even stand up but she's a fighter

CAPTION(S):

TINY: Millie at three months

BRAVE: Tyler and Stevie refused termination

GENTLE TOUCH: Tyler and newborn Millie

HANDLE WITH CARE Brittle-boned battler Millie defied the odds and the doctors

BABY LOVE: Mum Stevie holds the tiny two-year-old

DETERMINED: Millie in her wheelchair with broken arm

Pictures: GARYROBERTSPHOTO.COM
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jan 27, 2013
Words:848
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