The world’s most diminutive mother is about to give birth for the third time.
Stacey Herald, who is only 2 feet 4 inches tall, was told that getting pregnant would kíll her, but she defied doctors and had two babies half her height. The 35-year-old from Dry Ridge, Kentucky, in the United States, has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a condition that causes brittle bones and underdeveloped lungs, as well as failure to grow. Despite these challenges, the mother and father, a trainee priest, say they want more children. Doctors warned Mrs. Herald that a baby would grow so large inside her tiny body that it would crush her organs and strangle her from the inside out.
Doctors performed a cesarean section after 28 weeks, and daughter Kateri was born weighing only 2lbs and 1oz. She grew well, but the family was heartbroken when they discovered Kateri had inherited Mrs. Herald’s condition and would never reach average height.
The doctors advised me that I was pushing my luck. But we just prayed to God to get us through it.’ This pregnancy, however, took its toll on the young mother. ‘It was hard; I got so much bigger so quickly,’ she said. I remember bursting into tears at my lowest point because I looked like a beach ball with a head and little feet. ‘I couldn’t do anything for myself for weeks because my stomach was so big.’ I dislocated my arm once while moving from my chair to bed because I wasn’t used to carrying so much weight on my arms. ‘I’ve always been able to do everything, but this time I just couldn’t, and having Will help me wash and go to the toilet was upsetting. ‘He was also trying to care for a 16-month-old, so it was difficult for both of us.’
Doctors attempted to keep the second baby in her body for as long as possible, allowing her pregnancy to progress to 34 weeks before wheeling her into surgery. Makaya, who was 18 inches long and more than half her mother’s body length when she was born, weighed 4 pounds and 7 ounces. Both girls are now more significant than their mother, 30 weeks pregnant with her first son. ‘It’s becoming increasingly difficult to move,’ she said. ‘Right now, because I’m getting huge again, I can’t hold my youngest daughter because my belly gets in the way, and I can’t get my arms around her,’ she says.
Mrs. Herald continued, ‘All my babies are miracles, but we haven’t decided whether we’ll have more because they’re a real handful right now.’ ‘We didn’t intend to have more than two children; we simply believe that they are a wonderful gift to the world, and when I look at them, I see Will, and I feel so full of love that it’s difficult not to want more.’