When Isla Rose Warner finally arrived, the tears of relief came fast for everyone in the birthing suite of the Lindo Wing at London's St Mary's Hospital. No one expected, least of all brave mum Candice, that her beloved baby daughter's precious life would hang in the balance.
"Everything was going to clockwork – until I knew something was very wrong. She didn't like the drugs they needed to give me to bring on the contractions – it was terrifying," Candice, 34, tells Woman's Day from her and cricketer husband David's rental property in central London.
"Each time I was contracting, her heart rate would drop dramatically. Dave did not leave my side. For the final eight hours of a 12-hour long labour, the drip was on its absolute lowest level of the hormones. She just kept fighting – she's definitely got the Warner gritty determination!"
At 10.30pm London time on June 30, tipping the scales at just under 2.6kg and measuring 48cm, baby Warner let out her first cry – a sweet sound for her relieved parents, who couldn't shake the memories of the two heartbreaking miscarriages they'd suffered over the past year.
When they took their first photos as a family of five – with big sisters Ivy, four, and Indi, three, proudly holding the newborn – for Candice, it was in that moment she realised no matter what, family is all that counts.
"Isn't she absolutely perfect... and she's already fitting right in," she says. "Dave has been amazing – and the girls are already fighting over her!"
The decision to have their third child in London was an easy one, and while Candice admits she has come under criticism for checking into the upmarket private hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge had her three children, she knows she made the right choice.
WATCH: What it's like to give birth in Kate Middleton's Lindo Wing. Post continues after video...
"I had both my girls in the public system in Australia because I know and trust it – we were advised to go private here in London, and while the cost of the Lindo Wing is excessive, it actually was the cheapest of the ones we considered," she explains.
"After the two miscarriages in such a short period of time, we weren't taking any chances. We had serious complications as it happened, and thankfully we were in the best possible hands, with an amazing medical team of men and women who we are eternally grateful to for bringing little Isla into our lives."
It's back to business for the Warners, with Candice determined to be at her 32-year-old husband's side over these next few months as the hard-hitting opener makes his comeback following his year-long ban from international cricket for the ball-tampering scandal.
"We, the Warner girls, are entirely independent of the team, so we're not a distraction – just a support," she says.
"We've rented our own place so Dave can visit us away from where he stays with the boys. We want the girls living a normal life – if they feel like a peanut butter sandwich, or a run around the garden, they can do that away from the spotlight."
The mum-of-three adds, "Our family is now complete – it's been a huge year and now it's all about Dave. Life could not be any more perfect if we tried. Actually, winning the World Cup and the Ashes would be the final chapter of the fairytale!"
Candice wanted to share her story of happiness after miscarriage in the hope of bringing some comfort to other families who have suffered the loss of a baby. For support, visit the Sands website here.
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