Doncaster mum tells of rare condition

Lydia Marshall with her mum, Laura, dad, Gavin, and big brother Rhys
Lydia Marshall with her mum, Laura, dad, Gavin, and big brother Rhys

A Doncaster couple have spoken of the rare condition which will affect their recently-born daughter forever.

Laura Marshall, of Hatfield, has a rare genetic condition called cloverleaf skull which causes an abnormally shaped skull.

Laura had no idea she could pass it on to her children when she became pregnant with her daughter, Lydia.

She and her husband Gavin, both aged 33, already had healthy son Rhys, now four, before Laura became pregnant with Lydia.

During Laura’s 20-week scan, doctors saw Lydia’s head shape was abnormal.

Laura said: “I realised I wasn’t as normal as I had thought I was. I felt terrible guilt.”

Laura was the only one in her family to have the condition, caused by the premature fusion of the skull. She had operations as a child to release pressure but never realised there was a chance of passing on the gene.

“Gavin and I considered a termination,” said Laura. “That was the lowest point for me. Finding out our baby had the condition and deciding what to do.

“Gavin is a really easy-going and happy bloke. He told me, ‘You are like this and I love you, why shouldn’t our daughter be like you?’. Once we had decided to go ahead with the pregnancy I was ready to cope.”

Lydia was born in 2012. She has had two operations and her parents can spot signs if pressure is building up in her skull.

“I feel closer to Lydia because of the bond we share,” said Laura. “Whether or not she will resent me in the future, time will tell. My role now is to be a good role model for her.”

Laura wants her daughter to have the choice of pre-implantation screening of embryos before starting a family.

The Marshalls are helping to raise awareness of genetic disorders for Jeans for Genes Day on September 20.