Having my son at 54 ‘gave our family hope’ after we lost Rosie | Books | Entertainment

A grieving mother who lost an 11-year-old daughter gave birth at the age of 54 thanks to a stranger.

Carolyn Mayling, now 68, used donor eggs from a stranger in Moldova to fall pregnant with son Dom, who is now 14.

Carolyn, who has just published a book about her experiences, said: “I didn’t give birth at 54 as a replacement for Rosie, but to help fill the void from losing her. I wanted to give our family a future.”

Rosie fell ill with a cough while rehearsing a Christmas panto in 2002. Carolyn said it got worse and eventually they found pulmonary embolisms in arteries to her lungs.

Rosie had surgery to remove the blood clots, but eventually she was diagnosed with vasculitis, an autoimmune disease affecting blood vessels.

The youngster was discharged in April 2003 and came home for six days. Carolyn, who lives in Maidenhead, said: “She then had a pulmonary haemorrhage at home and we had to rush her straight back to intensive care.”

Rosie had a huge cardiac arrest and spent nine days on life support before the family made the heartbreaking decision to switch the machine off.

Carolyn said: “There was no support telling us how to cope with the death of a child. My husband had a heart attack two days later and I told him that he had to live because we had another daughter to look after and he couldn’t leave us.

“Rosie’s sister Ellie was 14 and they had been so close. Our house was silent, it was so awful.”

After Rosie’s death, Carolyn decided that she wanted to have another child.

An IVF specialist told her at the age of 48 she needed an egg donor.

She said: “My sister offered us her eggs at first, and we tried twice with them at an IVF clinic in Cyprus as it was a shorter waiting time, but it didn’t work.

“I’d been to see several mediums who all told me I was going to have another child, so I knew it would happen eventually.”

When Carolyn was 54, IVF with donated eggs worked and she fell pregnant. She had her son Dom.

Carolyn, who is now divorced, said: “Dom is amazing and I love him to bits. Rosie was irreplaceable but it gave our family some hope again.

“I’ve told Dom about the egg donor, and he’s curious to find out more and I will support him in that.

“Rosie always said to me ‘Don’t talk about it, just do it,’ and that’s what I did, and I have no regrets. Being pregnant at 54 to me was the same as being pregnant before. I was looked after more carefully because of my age, but other than that it was a normal pregnancy.

“I wanted to write the book to help other people with the heartbreak of losing a child.”

● Carolyn’s book The Future Is Rosie is out now. For more information visit rosiesrainbowfund.co.uk

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