WHEN Lesley Motion woke up on January 18 2018, she knew that something was wrong.

The art teacher, then 40, was 28 weeks pregnant after years of trying for a longed-for baby, so when she got up to go to the bathroom and found blood gushing done her leg she feared her chance of becoming a mother was gone.

"At that point I thought 'this is it, it's done - over'," she said.

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But six months on from that terrible Saturday morning, Mrs Motion cradles her beloved - and healthy - son Jacob at the family's home in Dowanhill, Glasgow.

She credits the care she received at the city's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for saving her own and her son's lives.

"I normally go away at that time of year and before we were going to places like Morocco. So if I had been away, I don't think I would be alive. It's absolutely terrifying."

HeraldScotland: Lesley and Jacob shortly after his birth

Until that morning the pregnancy had been largely uneventful except for some blood spotting which was monitored at the QEUH's early pregnancy unit. The 12-week and 20-week scans were normal, but it would turn out that the cause of Mrs Motion's catastrophic haemorrhaging was a Grade Four placenta previa - a life-threatening form of the condition, which overall strikes around one in 200 pregnancies.

It means the placenta completely covers the cervix and causes heavy bleeding during pregnancy and birth. Although the majority of cases are the less serious grades one or two, a Grade Four patient who suffered an uncontrolled bleed could lose their entire blood volume in 10 minutes, resulting in death.

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By the time she and her husband, Neil, arrived by ambulance at the QUEH, Mrs Motion was "covered in blood".

She said: "They tried to give me an internal examination but there was too much blood coming out for them to see.

"With that condition there's no way they can stop the bleeding - they just have to monitor you. At that point they brought in a special scanner into the room and that's when they discovered that there was still a heartbeat. I thought 'how can somebody lose this amount of blood with no pain and everything's still okay?'.

"After that they moved me to the labour suite where they had to calculate how much blood I had lost. If I had over a litre of blood loss they would have to deliver, which at 28 weeks wasn't going to be a pretty sight."

Jacob was at the cusp where premature babies' survival improves, but medics were keen to extend gestation if possible. Once a baby makes it to the 30th week, the chances of survival are in excess of 90 per cent.

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After 24 hours in the the labour suite, Mrs Motion's bleeding eased and she was moved upstairs to Ward 47. Over the next five weeks she faced a see-saw of hope and despair as she counted off the days on her diary and prayed that the bleeding would hold off long enough to reach the doctors' target delivery date of at least 32 weeks - substantially improving Jacob's chances of survival and health.

HeraldScotland: The Motion family

She said: "I felt like a ticking time bomb, thinking 'one more week will be 29 weeks - what are the risks, what can go wrong?'. That's what I was literally sitting looking up: what happens to a baby if it's born at 29 weeks, and how as soon as you get past 30 weeks they have a much much better chance of survival without complications.

"I had had a lot of complications in the past. I had had an ectopic pregnancy, and different issues like that, and as I approached 40 I thought 'it's not going to happen', which makes Jacob even more special. I was so close to the finish line and I doubt I would have got another chance, because I was 41 in June."

In the end - after countless blood transfusions, scans, and emergency trips up and down to the labour suite - Mrs Motion's pregnancy reached 32 weeks and six days and Jacob was delivered on February 19 by planned C-section, weighing 4Ibs 2oz.

"He was just short of eight weeks early," she said. "He can hear, he can see, he's absolutely fine.

"It was their judgement call not to deliver him on on all of those previous occasions that probably saved him and saved me, because if you have a delivery under a controlled situation it's a lot better than an emergency situation."

Jacob was admitted to intensive care for one week before being transferred to the special care unit for another six weeks. Initially he was fed just one millilitre of breast milk per hour, administered by syringe. As Jacob had been born early his lungs - one of the last organs to develop - were weak, and he was ventilated to help strengthen them. Although he still needs home oxygen to support his breathing, doctors expect this can stop before his first birthday.

More than anything, Mrs Motion said she wants to express thanks to the staff who supported her - particularly her consultant Dr Marianne Leddingham, who delivered Jacob and helped Mrs Motion monitor her son's growth millimetre-by-millimetre on the hospital's 3D scanner, and her midwife Jane Scott, who supported her throughout the pregnancy and also attended the birth.

"They didn't just care for me, they went above and beyond. It's hard to explain when you're petrified how much these things mean to you."