Teenager Jessica Papadimatos is a miracle, and appreciates that every day.

“I’ve always been aware of the story behind what happened in our family,’’ the 17-year-old said.

In the late 1990s, within months of her parents marrying, mum Lucia was pregnant. At the 19-week ultrasound, doctors told her something was wrong.

“I’ll never forget it,’’ Lucia said. “They told me there were alot of problems. That something was wrong with the baby’s head, it had some major abnormalities. He had half a heart, extra ribs, a lot of physical problems. It was early in our marriage, my husband and I were so young.’’

The baby did not survive and they soon discovered that Lucia had antiphospholipid syndrome, which is an autoimmune disease that can cause miscarriage and stillbirth.

“We didn’t get to enjoy that first year of marriage,’’ Lucia said. “They told me for every pregnancy I had, there was a 25 per cent chance that this would happen again. I was 26 at the time.

“I was scared. I never thought I’d have a genetic condition. I did all my research. I was worried I may never have any children.’’

Six months later she was pregnant with Jessica. “It was a major miracle. Everything was fine.’’

They had seven miscarriages in nine years but genetic screening assisted with what Lucia could do to support the pregnancies. They also had another two children: Madeline, now eight, and Adam, now six.

“We feel very blessed.’’

The whole family are now huge supporters of Children’s Medical Research Institute and always take part in Jeans for Genes Day.
 

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