Proud Michelle Turner, who lost SEVEN babies in her desperate bid for motherhood, has told how she finally became a mum – after dropping 17 STONE.
Michelle, 35, suffered the agony of five miscarriages, an ectopic pregnancy and a still-birth after she ballooned to 30 stone.
She also had the heartbreak of two failed marriages and turned to comfort eating on a huge scale.
But as her weight increased her chances of a successful pregnancy grew slimmer.
Doctors eventually warned Michelle her weight could kill her and she was given a gastric bypass on the NHS.
She lost 17 stone – over half her bulk – and at a healthy 13-stone she fell pregnant for an eighth time and finally gave birth to daughter Mikayla.
Michelle has just celebrated her little girl’s first birthday – and because of her gastric band now eats less than her tot.
She said: “I just can’t believe I’ve finally got a little girl all of my own. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.
“When I was young I didn’t want to be a princess or popstar – I just wanted to be a mum.
“I gave up hope so many times and I never thought it was going to have a happy ending.
“I was so depressed and miserable because I just wanted to be a mum, so I just stopped caring and started eating. I was virtually housebound.
“It was horrible – I was at rock bottom. I had lost everything I ever wanted so many times.
“Many of my friends took pity on me and made me godmother to eight of their children to make me feel better.
“I even became godmother to the kids of an Australian couple I met online.
“But it didn’t help and in the end I nearly gave up hope completely.”
Michelle suffered her first miscarriage when she was just 17 and had another two in her early twenties after her marriage to her first husband, a bus driver, in 1999.
Devastated by her loss, she started gorging and became a virtual recluse and her marriage ended two years later.
She remarried in 2005 but then had two further miscarriages with her second husband, a warehouse worker, in 2006 and 2007.
It was then doctors warned Michelle her weight was making it harder to have a successful pregnancy.
The worried medics also warned her flab was putting strain on her heart and endangering her life.
She underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2008 and became pregnant for a sixth time but lost that baby to an ectopic pregnancy and split from her second husband shortly after.
A year later she married third husband Carl Turner, 29, and fell pregnant for a seventh time in 2011.
She went to full term but tragically little Jasmine was stillborn.
By now Michelle’s weight was down to a healthy 13 stone and she was determined to make it eighth time lucky.
Baby Mikayla arrived healthily in January last year and Michelle, of Crawley, Sussex, said: “Now she’s a healthy, happy one-year-old and I have to pinch myself every day.
“I still look at her when she’s asleep in my arms and think: Are you really here? I’m so happy.
“She was worth all the heartbreak – every tear I cried and every sobbing sleepless night. I’d go through it all again just to have Mikayla.”
Despite the joy of becoming a mum Michelle’s third marriage has also ended in failure.
Midwife Carol Richardson, who is specialising in maternal obesity for her PHD at Bournemouth University, said: “There is a higher miscarriage rate of 13.6 per cent with obese women, compared to 10.7 per cent of women with a normal weight.
“There is a link there and there is a number of working hypotheses as to why that is but at the moment no one can quite pinpoint it.
“It will be said that there are a number of factors but there is no doubt being a heavier weight will have an affect.
“It may well be to do with the fact obese women need a higher intake of folic acid and vitamin D but they are only advised to take the amount other women take.
“It may also be that obese women’s diets and metabolising food in a different way has an affect on the embryo.
“I would advise women who are obese and want to have to children to lose a bit of weight and try to look after their health.”