When her newborn son was placed in her arms for the first time, Lucy Lintott shed tears of joy. It was the most natural of reactions after what was, undeniably, a remarkable pregnancy.
The 25-year-old was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in 2014, making her the youngest person in Scotland with the terminal disease.
The illness cast doubt over the very possibility of Lucy bearing children – and so when baby L J arrived earlier this year, she could not believe he was real.
“I had built it up so much in my head, I didn’t think it was going to happen,” said Lucy. “I was very emotional and I wouldn’t let anyone take him off me.”
MND gradually makes gripping, walking, talking and swallowing extremely difficult – and eventually impossible. It kills about a third of people within a year and more than half within two years.
Yet six years on from her diagnosis, Lucy, from Garmouth in Moray, says she is experiencing the “best feeling ever”, taking care of her “strong, cheeky bundle” – who has a “great set of lungs”.
Lucy says she has navigated early motherhood without much advice, given that MND usually affects people over the age of 40 and, as such, pregnancy among patients is incredibly rare.
She said: “I think there’s only five or six cases in the world of people who have given birth while having MND.
“They didn’t know how my body or lungs would deal with it so it was really up to me.
“But it went really well – the only thing I did was come off medication to give L J the best start in life.”
Just weeks ago, Lucy and her fiancé Tommy were planning a May wedding, which has now been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As one of the 400 people in Scotland with MND, Lucy has been advised to stay at home for 12 weeks.
Normally she would go about her daily life with assistance from three carers – however, she has had to move back to her parents’ home in order to protect her health and still receive the care she needs.
She said: “Because of isolation, I’m down to one carer and I can’t really go out.
“The coronavirus has had a massive impact, I’d normally be out shopping, at the gym or seeing friends.
“I’ll have to reorganise the wedding – and it’s hard enough preparing one wedding then to have to change it all. So I’m quite gutted.”
‘It’s crazy and surreal – but the best feeling ever’
In 2017, Lucy gave a stark account of how MND was like being “slowly paralysed” in the BBC documentary MND and the 22-year-old Me.
However, her strength, positivity and good humour were very much at the forefront of her story – she confessed most people knew her for her “weird-ass laugh”.
Such qualities have now carried her through not just the upheaval of lockdown, not just illness and not just the challenges of parenthood – but all three at once.
She says that living with her parents has been a “godsend”, and laughs as she admits the greatest challenge to her family – “probably dealing with me”.
She said: “I’m really looking forward to introducing LJ to friends and do what we’d normally do over the summer, like going swimming or taking him to the park. Just the little things.
“I’m staying away from the coronavirus and my MND is stable and hasn’t really changed.
“It’s very crazy and surreal that I’m a parent – I’m responsible for a little bundle. But honestly, it’s the best feeling ever.”