FOR as long as she could remember Debbie Smart longed to be a mother.
After 15 years of undergoing IVF treatments she got her miracle and became pregnant on her last attempt.
Twins Grace and Lochie were delivered early at the Mater Hospital at 29 weeks in June last year.
Mrs Smart said it had been a difficult pregnancy, with the 48-year-old hospitalised from 15 weeks onwards.
But all that was forgotten when she and husband of 16 years, Gary, got what they had long wished for.
“On the day they were born I was on cloud nine,” Mrs Smart said.
“To finally have what I had dreamed about all my life.”
But all did not go to plan, with her daughter Grace diagnosed with microtia and atresia in one ear, a congenital birth defect which causes an underdeveloped ear and the closure of the ear canal.
In Grace's case it meant she was born without her right ear.
According to research 30% of children with the hearing loss caused by the condition experience speech and language delays, and learning difficulties.
But the Minden resident said it was too soon to know how Grace would be affected long-term.
“It took me a bit of time to accept her condition,” Mrs Smart said.
“Even now when I think about it, I think why my daughter, but she is herself and she is beautiful no matter what.
“I'm more concerned about what will happen when she gets to school and how she will be treated.”
The little girl was recently fitted with a hearing aid and commenced speech classes with the Brisbane-based Hear and Say centre.
Through the centre children learn to hear, listen and speak using a combination of modern hearing technology and auditory-verbal therapy.
The organisation is asking the community to help raise vital funds to help deaf babies through its annual Butterfly Appeal, which runs until April 28.
To donate, people can visit the website www.butterflyappeal.com or contact 3870 2221.