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Couple quit the rat race to move to Inverness after medical crisis

By Neil MacPhail

David and Roberta Shayer with baby Sophia outside their Inverness guest house.
David and Roberta Shayer with baby Sophia outside their Inverness guest house.

A COUPLE have swapped their high-powered careers to run a guest house in Inverness after a life-threatening medical emergency made them rethink their future.

David Shayer was chief executive of a brokerage company in London and his wife Roberta was a busy accountant.

They were expecting their first child together 14 months ago and everything was going well until one morning Mrs Shayer suffered a slight twinge.

Not suspecting anything major was wrong but wanting to be on the safe side, Mr Shayer drove his then seven months pregnant wife to hospital, close to their Essex home.

He offered to drop her at the door before going to find a parking space but luckily decided against it as, once inside, the seriousness of the situation quickly became apparent.

After an ultrasound was carried out by a midwife a doctor was immediately summoned for a second opinion.

“Things then started to happen very fast,” Mrs Shayer said. “They said: ‘The baby’s got to come out right away.’”

It turned out that she had suffered a placental abruption, where the placenta becomes detached from the uterus, causing heavy bleeding and potentially depriving a baby in the womb of oxygen and nutrients.

Potentially fatal to both mother and baby, it affects less than one per cent of women.

“Someone hit a red button and within minutes I was in the operating theatre being prepared for surgery under general anaesthetic,” Mrs Shayer said. “Everything happened so quickly to save us both, there was not even time to take my jewellery off.

“The baby’s heartbeat was fading apparently, because she was basically drowning in my blood. I was bleeding heavily internally.

“My blood pressure was 30 over 40 – dangerously low – and I lost two of the five litres of blood we have and required a blood transfusion.”

Baby Sophia was delivered two-and-a-half months premature and remained under specialist care at Whipps Cross Hospital for six weeks.

While it all ended happily, the frightening experience caused the couple to look more closely at what they were doing with their lives.Mr Shayer said: “I could have lost my wife and baby that morning. It was just fortunate I had decided against going to Japan on a business trip at the time and we were seen so quickly at the hospital.

“What happened gave us both cause to rethink our lives so we packed in our careers and moved to Scotland. We decided life is too short.”

The couple now own the Aye Stay Inn in Bishop’s Road in Inverness and say they could not be happier, both with their new business and their thriving baby daughter.

“We love running the guest house and meeting people,” Mr Shayer said.

Mrs Shayer said: “Everyone is so happy up here. They are on holiday and having a good time.

“We have also been in contact with the hospital team and they all want to come and see Sophia. It is just an amazing job that they do.”

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