Stacey Herald measures at just 2 feet and 4 inches tall, and is the smallest mother in the world. When she was 36 years old, she defied doctors around the world by having her third child.
Stacey suffers from a rare condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. The condition stunts her growth, resulting in underdeveloped lungs as well as extremely brittle and fragile bones.
Stacey had her third child in 2010. Here’s her incredible story.
Stacey hails from Kentucky and is currently married to Wil Herald. Wil is 5 feet 9 inches tall. They met at the supermarket they both worked at and got married in 2000.
The couple knew right away that they wanted to raise a family. Doctors told the couple that having a baby could put her life at risk.
Doctors warned the couple that Stacey’s small body would not be able to handle a pregnancy and that her organs could get crushed if a baby grew inside of her.
“It broke my heart that I couldn’t have kids. All my life my parents had told me that I could do anything. Then there were these doctors telling me that we couldn’t be a complete family. It really hurt,” Stacey said about finding out that she might not be able to have children.
When Stacey and her husband found out they were pregnant eight months later, the doctors begged them to reconsider their decision of going through with the pregnancy, telling her that she could die.
The couple decided to go ahead with the pregnancy and gave birth to their little girl Kateri. The family was heartbroken to find out that Kateri had inherited Stacey’s genetic condition.
One year later, Stacey became pregnant again. “The doctors told me I was pushing my luck. But we just prayed that God would bring us through it,” Stacey said.
The second pregnancy was much harder on Stacey than her first one. “It was hard, I got so much bigger faster. At my worst point I remember bursting into tears because I looked like a beach ball with a head and little feet,” she said in an interview with The Telegraph.
Stacey gave birth to her second daughter Makaya, who did not have any complications or health issues. Makaya was born 18 inches long — more than half of Stacey’s body length. After Makaya was born, the couple was not sure if they would have another child.
But they did. They had a son named Malachi, who, like Kateri, inherited his mother’s rare genetic condition.
“Malachi was born without any broken bones. People with our condition are often born with broken arms and legs because our bones are fragile and can be damaged by the birth,” Stacey said.
When Malachi was born, he was placed in an incubator in intensive care. At just 17 days old he contracted a virus, and two weeks later he suffered a hernia which almost killed him. He was rushed in for immediate surgery.
“At one point they told us his heart had stopped and we thought he might not survive, but thankfully the doctors managed to save him. It felt like a miracle to us,” Stacey said.
Thankfully, Malachi recovered quickly and was finally released from the hospital and allowed to go home with his parents.
Like any new parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herald struggle with the normal things all parents struggle with every day. “Three children would be a challenge for anyone – even normal sized people,” Stacey says.
Stacey has her husband to thank for helping her with the tasks she cannot complete because of her size. “I didn’t think it was possible to love him more. But since we’ve had our son I think I fall for Wil a bit more each day.”