The tears well up in the eyes of 31-year-old Colleen West, but unlike the tears which flowed after her previous five miscarriages, these were tears of joy.

She looks down at tiny Willow in her arms and thanks God for the strength, perseverance and hope.

“Say hello to your daddy,” whispers Colleen.

As always, the proud Lowellan (33) is by her side.

“My Willow! My Willow!” exclaims Cohen (two), her baby brother.

The West family’s newest addition saw the light on 22 February at 14:00 in Goodwood’s Netcare N1 City Hospital, but it is what the Kuils River family had to go through for five years before she was born which makes her birth so inspiring.

Colleen explains: “Lowellan always used to joke by saying I was pregnant for the last five years.”

Five miscarriages in seven is, of course, no laughing matter, but the Wests had no option but to try to deal with the constant tragedy.

“We were high school sweethearts and tied the knot in 2004 – I was 24 and my husband 26. Two years later we made a decision to start a family. When I fell pregnant in 2007, we were extremely excited and immediately informed all our friends and family. We were even more surprised when the doctor informed us that we were expecting twins, both boys. However, our excitement was short-lived, because at 20 weeks I had a miscarriage and lost both babies,” she says.

Suffice it to say it was a very painful time for the family.

Lowellan says they very much depended on the support of family and friends during the difficult times, but above all they were there for one another.

“We were as tight as a mouse’s ears!” he laughs, before adding that nothing could ever come between them.

Colleen continues: “We decided to try again and I conceived for the second time and was informed that we were expecting another boy. Once again our joy was short-lived … This time I had a miscarriage at 16 weeks.”

After a brief period of devastation and hopelessness, they decided they were not going to give up on their dream of becoming parents.

Colleen fell pregnant for a third time – only to have another miscarriage at seven weeks.

She had an ectopic pregnancy when she was pregnant again, but the baby had to be terminated yet again.

“By then we did not know what to do any more,” remembers Colleen.

“The doctors did not really have any answers for us, so we decided to stop trying, as having a child had now become an obsession,” she says. Yet, soon thereafter without them even trying, she was pregnant again, and this time, she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Cohen.

“He is perfect in every way!”

Colleen was pregnant again nine months later, but sadly their hopes were dashed when the baby boy was still-born just four weeks before the due date.

As a result, Colleen had to spend seven weeks in Netcare N1 City Hospital before the birth of Willow.

Says Lowellan: “I was so anxious … It’s difficult to put it in words. Colleen was so afraid. We wouldn’t do normal things, such as camping, because she was worried something might happen to the baby. She wouldn’t even eat sushi!”

According to him they had different names for each of the babies.

“We can both write a book!” he exclaims.

“A book of hope to all those who have suffered the same way.”

While Colleen was in the hospital, Lowellan approached the Wiesenhof coffee shop at N1 City. He asked Wiesenhof’s owner, Louise Abrahams, to host a stork party for his wife, and Abrahams immediately felt compelled to help them. Says Abrahams: “He is such a wonderful person and I wanted Colleen to feel special. I decorated the place with flowers, banners and balloons!”

Some of Colleen’s friends came to the stork party to witness her pleasant surprise when Lowellan unveiled his present to her – a brand new 1 series BMW!

“I can’t wait to drive it,” says the sparkling mother of two. She is still recovering at home, but as soon as she is healthy enough she will experience “sheer driving pleasure”.

Netcare N1 City Hospital’s marketing manager, Chanel Lotz said: “We would like to congratulate the West family on the birth of their special baby girl and wish them all the very best for the future!”

***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE AND PHOTO WERE PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. NEITHER MAY BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***

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