Cystic Fibrosis mom

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 12:51pm

Mary-Leigh Phillips is hardly suffering from Cystic Fibrosis, instead, she's living with it.

"I have about an hour to 3 hour treatment routine," said Phillips. "I'm really lucky I have the care that I have."

Her treatment includes using a vest which vibrates, helping to break up the mucus in her lungs.

It's all helped her to maintain healthy lifestyle, which includes running marathons and triathlons, yet doctors always told her she'd never be able to have a baby.

That's because cystic fibrosis not only makes it tough to breathe, it also causes nutritional deficiencies, diabetes and infertility.

"I always thought maybe in my 30s, if I'm still healthy, I'll think about adoption," said Phillips. "I never thought that I'd be able to carry my own kids."

But sure enough, at the age of 28, Phillips got pregnant.

"The biggest thing we were worried about was that the baby would not get enough nutritional support from the mother to grow adequately," said Dr. Healin J. Landy of Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Landy has been specializing in high-risk pregnancies for more than 20 years, but she's never had a patient like Phillips before.

Phillips started seeing a team of doctors including a cardiologist, a pulmonologist and a nutritionist.

She says between her own good health, newer technology and the team she had helping her, she beat the odds, becoming one of the first cystic fibrosis patients to have a healthy baby at Georgetown Hospital.

Jack was born six months ago.

"I couldn't be more thankful for anything in the world," said Phillips.

Right now there are only 100 successful pregnancies a year in cystic fibrosis women because of all the risks involved.

But with better care and newer advances in health care, doctors do expect that number to grow.

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