As Robyn (Amanda Henderson) found out she’s pregnant in this evening’s episode of Casualty – which we advised on – knowing Glen (Owain Arthur) may not live to see their baby as he has a glioblastoma and only months to live, the storyline reflected Louise’s heartache.
Just after she found out she was pregnant, Louise became a widow when husband Mark lost his life to a brain tumour. Louise gave birth to twins Lydia and Amelia, 12, six months after his death.
Six years later, from embryos she had frozen during IVF treatment, Louise had another set of twins, Freddie and Emmeline, now six.
She is now married to Stuart and they have a two-year-old daughter Myrtle.
As Louise caught that first magical glimpse of her newborn twins, Freddie and Emmeline, she knew just how proud their daddy would have been. But Mark had lost his life to a brain tumour six years previously.
“Before he had chemotherapy, we had his sperm frozen to make our dream of having a family come true,” said Louise.
Sadly, Mark died just after Louise became pregnant. Six years later, after much soul searching, she gave birth to their second set of twins.
Back in November 2000, newly-engaged Louise got a call from Mark’s gym, saying he’d collapsed.
At hospital, he had a CT scan. Doctors said he’d had a haemorrhage on the brain. After an MRI scan at another hospital, they were told it was an aneurysm which would be monitored.
But after an MRI scan four months later, they were given the devastating news that Mark had an inoperable brain tumour.
He had five years to live.
Biopsy results showed the tumour was a grade two astrocytoma and Mark had radiotherapy to shrink it.
The couple brought their wedding forward to focus on something positive
After Mark finished his radiotherapy, he had his sperm banked before chemotherapy would have made him infertile.
In March 2003, Louise became pregnant after IVF treatment. Some embryos were also frozen.
Stuart and their children
“Stuart is the only father they’ve known, but I tell the twins all about Daddy Mark. I feel blessed to have been loved by two very special men. Part of me will always love Mark, but now I love Stuart. He’s my future – and I know Mark would give us his blessing.“
(Pictured L-R: Freddie, Amelia, Emmeline, Stuart with Myrtle and Lydia)
Louise’s emotions were in turmoil. “As our baby’s life was starting inside me, Mark’s life was coming to an end,” she said.
Just two weeks after they celebrated Louise’s pregnancy, Mark died in her arms.
“I told him that I loved him and that I’d tell our baby all about their daddy,” she said.
Two days later, a scan showed Louise was carrying twins.
“At 27, I was a widow, but I had to be strong for my babies,” said Louise. “I knew I’d always have part of Mark.”
Lydia and Amelia were born in October 2003.
Stuart, a family friend, was a huge support. Three years after Mark’s death, he and Louise became a couple.
“I felt guilty about moving on, but I know that’s what Mark would have wanted,” said Louise. “The girls called Stuart, Daddy and Mark was Daddy Mark.”
Over the years, she kept thinking about the embryos they’d had frozen. “I agonised whether it was right to have Mark’s baby six years after he’d died,” said Louise. “There were Stuart’s feelings to consider, too.”
But he was supportive and reassured her that the baby would be part of their family.
“It felt right,” said Louise.
She gave birth to Freddie and Emmeline in November 2009, with Stuart holding her hand. They got married in June 2012 and Myrtle completed their family.
Louise, who ran in last year’s London Marathon for us in Mark’s memory, now cherishes every day with her family.
“Stuart is the only father they’ve known, but I tell the twins all about Daddy Mark,” she said.
“I feel blessed to have been loved by two very special men. Part of me will always love Mark, but now I love Stuart. He’s my future – and I know Mark would give us his blessing.”