Lila McDermid, of Spokane, Washington, says she barely had a chance to enjoy being pregnant in 2015 before she abruptly lost her baby.
“We found out about the pregnancy in December and then had the loss in January ,” she tells PEOPLE, noting that she had an ectopic pregnancy, in which the egg implanted in one of her fallopian tubes. “We knew around Christmas that we had a positive pregnancy test, but we found out within a week or two that it wasn’t going to be a full-term pregnancy.”
“It was incredibly sad,” says McDermid, her first shared her story with Love What Matters. “It’s very difficult because you’re praying for a miracle that somehow it will turn out to be a healthy pregnancy.”
Doctors regularly monitored McDermid after learning of the ectopic pregnancy, but the tube ruptured and the 32-year-old was rushed into emergency surgery to undergo tubal litigation on her right side.
“It was scary. I was in disbelief at how life-threatening the situation was,” she tells PEOPLE. “[My husband Timothy] was terrified he was going to lose his wife and mother to his children.”
Already a mom to two children, McDermid says the experience altered her view of pregnancy. She says the ordeal made her realize just how special and “delicate” pregnancy is.
After her recovery, McDermid says she was “both excited and scared” to try to conceive again. Her fear was still present when she became pregnant again in May 2016.
“I was nervous because I only had one fallopian tube and one ovary,” she tells PEOPLE. “I didn’t know if it was going to take a long time or were we going to be able to get pregnant again. But, fortunately, we were able to.”
On Dec. 30, 2016, McDermid gave birth to Audrey at MultiCare Valley Hospital. Photos of the delivery showed McDermid sobbing when she finally held the baby.
“It was a huge relief and a full-circle moment,” she says of holding Audrey for the first time. “It was healing and relieving to finally hold her and have her be here and healthy. I feel like all the way up until the moment I had that fear.”
More than a year later, the moving photos are now making their way around the Internet, and McDermid says she’s glad she can be a source of encouragement to hopeful parents in similar situations.
“It’s just wonderful that we’re able to share our story because it is one of hope and of healing,” she says. “It’s really amazing now that we can share our story and say, ‘Yes, you can have a loss and still carry a pregnancy to term and have a healthy baby. You are not broken and it’s not impossible.’ ”
With Audrey now 16 months old, McDermid says it’s been “beautiful” to have people reach out to her from all over with positive words.
“I have this beautiful little baby. God promised that he would bring healing and he did,” McDermid tells PEOPLE. “[Audrey] is so amazing. She’s a happy, happy baby and she’s our last baby. So there’s just a peace and a joy that she brings for our family.”