Inspirational mother and her two miracles
EXETER'S Pip Raud had already sailed the Atlantic when she was told at the age of 23 her chances of having children were "near non-existent".
Because of a serious and debilitating health condition she had battled since she was 17, she was given a year to try for a baby before needing a hysterectomy – the only thing which would give her quality of life back.
But she and her husband Oliver decided to try, and to their shock and amazement she gave birth to a fit and healthy son just before her 25th birthday. Two and a half years later she gave birth to a daughter.
"I was convinced it was not going to happen," she said. "We were in a bit of a dilemma and I had always maintained I wanted to sail around the world before having children. But being presented with this information it was a now or never situation and I thought I would regret it if I did not at least try. It was the best decision I ever made.
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"My consultants made it very clear I was highly unlikely to conceive. When my son arrived I was completely shocked that it had happened and it was a dream come true. It was the best feeling ever. I started grinning and haven't stopped since."
It was a similar situation the second time around, but having been through it before she did not have the same concern.
"I had proven them wrong before and somehow just knew I would do it again." she added.
While giving birth ranks as her greatest achievement, the 29 year old, of St Thomas, is not short of further accolades in a career that has seen her put her health worries aside.
She has now been recognised as "mumtrepreneur of the week" in a national newspaper after setting up a business in February selling luxury personalised bedding, towels and clothes.
"Since I was 17 I have been in and out of hospital and had numerous operations," she said."
While at Solent University in Southampton she had to defer the final part of her studies due to health concerns.
"When I graduated I was given a university-wide award for achievement in the face of adversity and was a total shock. I was really lucky I was able to become a professional sailor before I went to university.
"I was 18 when I sailed across the Atlantic, which was life-changing and terrifying due to a Force 12 storm.
"I have always been very determined and maintained that my illness would never stop me doing anything I want to do.
"The business has been going very well and has taken off brilliantly," she said. For more information visit www.pips garden.co.uk