Wednesday 5 August 2015

'One Born Every Minute' - CF and Pregnancy

Channel 4's 'One Born Every Minute' tonight (9pm) features Rhiannon Dunn, a mother with CF having her third child. As people with CF live longer, having a family becomes more of a possibility, but it doesn't take away from the challenges that CF brings on top of parenting a child, let alone three!

Rhiannon tells us in her own words how she manages the balance of CF and parenthood.

The hours, days and weeks simply bleed into one another since becoming a mother to three beautiful, strong-willed and noisy children, but that's what I always dreamed of so I couldn't possibly complain… well maybe once in a while, when I realise I'm drowning but not from my cystic fibrosis!

I was born in 1988 and was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (double DF508) through a sweat test at eight months’ old due to “failure to thrive”. It was good to get the diagnosis as my mum couldn't take being called an over-protective mother by doctors and now I have learned myself that a mother’s intuition is real.

As a child I had both hospital admission and home IV therapy and I always had access to good nutrition even though I struggled gaining weight. Then I hit my teens, at 15 I met my husband and we have been childhood sweethearts ever since. We have been together 11 years this year and I'm lucky to have him as he is supportive and there right by my side through CF and the journey that is motherhood.

Being a mother to three young children (and don't forget the three cats!) and having cystic fibrosis along with diabetes is tough; I won't lie or sugar coat anything. The overwhelming loving motherly instinct I always feel is always tainted by guilt of deciding to bring a child into a world where I know I may not be here to help see and nuture them right through, due to the life expectancy of a CF patient, but then I have never been one to let CF get in the way.

I have always been bold, confident and wanting to prove people wrong, so we took the marriage and parenthood route & never looked back.

Our daily routines are more time consuming, demanding and nonstop, more than ever on top of my medical needs, and it takes good, sound management to juggle everything so it's home IVs through a portacath. Online groceries delivered to our front door and plenty of take away dinners have become the norm as something has to give, right?

Our home? How do I keep that clean? I don't: I had to admit defeat and bring in extra help and hire a cleaner otherwise I would be 10 feet under! I'm on the go 16 hours a day, juggling CF and three young children, the novelty of school runs has well and truly worn off, I can tell you that for a fact.

Believe when I say babies are easy but school-age children and driving across the city for extra-curricular activities, play dates and not to mention their own appointments when you have a child with their own disability, are things I didn't plan for. But I'm thankful all the same, I have the opportunity and privilege to have this life; I'm a very luck lady indeed.

We decided to agree to be filmed for Channel 4’s ‘One Born Every Minute’ series seven to raise awareness of CF, empower and offer reassurance to women who have the same genetic illness as me and to get that out to the public, so to do that, what better way to get people’s attention than to get naked on TV!

So I hope you all enjoy watching me losing my dignity on national TV because I know we had a fantastic experience recording it and would do it all over again.

Ps not really - my husband’s booked in for a vasectomy for two weeks’ time, ha! Three babies is more than enough!

Learn more about issues around cystic fibrosis and pregnancy, including fertility.


  1. We watched the programme because you were going to be on. My hubby is 58 on Sunday with CF. We both shed a few tears :) You and your hubby were great xx

  2. You are an inspiration, congratulations to you and your beautiful family. You have given hope to many.

  3. You are such an inspiration! Such a beautiful episode to watch, thank you for allowing us to share your special moment!
    I pray you have a long and beautiful future with your family.

  4. Just watched your episode in Australia, your story provided hope and courage. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Just watched your episode in Australia, your story provided hope and courage. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Yesterday ik watched the episode in Holland and i was in tears.You are such a positive,strong woman and your husband is the best,what a lovely couple you two are.I wish you and your family all the best and a long life together.

  7. I really like your writing style, great information, thankyou for posting. pregnant miracle