Gallery: Leana, paralysed 12 years ago in car crash, gives birth to bouncing baby son Thomas
EXCLUSIVE By TOM JACKSON Photos: BRIAN PURDY TWELVE years ago Leana Rose was paralysed from the waist down in a car crash – but last week she celebrated the birth of her first child. The former Wimblington woman and her husband Sean – a Paralympic skier
EXCLUSIVE By TOM JACKSON Photos: BRIAN PURDY TWELVE years ago Leana Rose was paralysed from the waist down in a car crash - but last week she celebrated the birth of her first child. The former Wimblington woman and her husband Sean - a Paralympic skier and a world champion disabled water skier - welcomed their son Thomas Anthony Rose into the world last Wednesday (August 27). "It was a completely natural birth," said 30-year-old Mrs Rose, who now lives in Abbotsley near St Neots. "I was told after the accident that any baby I had would have to be born by caesarean section, but I was told during my pregnancy by a specialist that there should be no problems at all by giving birth naturally.
"The contractions started last Monday and Thomas was born at 11.10am last Wednesday. It was uncomfortable but not really painful."
Thomas was born at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon, and weighed exactly 5lb. He was four weeks premature and arrived home on Sunday.
He has been named after Mr Rose's uncle, who died of a heart attack in his thirties.
Mr Rose, 37, said: "When we were thinking of names Thomas popped up and it stuck with me. It was doubly poignant because August 27 is also my dad Bob's birthday.
"Leana wanted a baby, but I kept saying 'not until after the next Winter Paralympic Games (in 2010)'. But then Leana asked if I would like a two-year-old mascot at the games - and I thought it was a great idea."
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Mrs Rose is the oldest daughter of Sue and Phil Stewart, who live in Doddington Road, Wimblington.
She was just 18 when she suffered a broken back and broken ribs in a car smash near Snettisham on Good Friday in 1996. She was a back seat passenger in a Vauxhall Nova which rolled several times before ending in a ditch.
Mrs Rose was paralysed from the waist down and spent more than five months recovering at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn, and the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, which specialises in spinal cord injuries.
A Cambs Times campaign raised £3,734.67 for Mrs Rose following the smash, with people across Fenland holding fundraising events including sponsored head shaves and coffee mornings. That money went towards a wheelchair and hand controls for Mrs Rose's car.
Mr Rose, originally from Redcar, north Yorkshire, was a physical training instructor in the RAF and broke his back in a fall on ski slopes in 2000, when teaching a group of pilots.
But, after finding his way back to the slopes, he represented Great Britain at the 2006 Winter Paralympic Games and missed out on a skiing bronze medal by half a second.
Mr Rose also started disabled water skiing - and became world champion in 2005 and European champion a year later. He was also part of the Great Britain team which won the teams' world championships in 2005 and 2007.
The couple met for the first time at the Winter Park skiing resort in Colorado in 2002, on a trip organised by the Back Up Trust charity which organises activities and trips for people with spinal cord injuries.
But love didn't blossom until they met again at a charity ball 18 months later.
Mrs Rose said: "We had not spoken since the first meeting, but we got chatting, kept in touch afterwards and we went from there - and Sean moved down within six months."
Mr Rose added: "I told Leana I wanted to be a Paralympic ski racer and found out about a training programme for people with disabilities in Canada. I asked her if she fancied coming with me for the winter and she didn't need asking twice.
"We loved the place so much that we bought a house out there within five weeks. We still own a place in Canada and are there for nearly six months every year."
Mr and Mrs Rose got married in Canada in September 2006 and moved from Northampton to Abbotsley in October last year.
They hope to be living in Canada full-time within the next five years, before Thomas starts school.