Doctors told Rachel when she was just 17 that she had suffered an early menopause (casued by premature ovarian failure) which had left her infertile.
But then, after years of taking HRT, she began experiencing some bleeding and, amazingly, fell pregnant.
"It is something I never, ever expected," says Rachel, 36.
Baby Holly was born on 20 December 2013, and now Rachel and fiancé Jon Gatt, from Derby, are hoping to expand their family.
And proud dad Jon, 35, has had his hands full with the new arrival, telling MadeForMums "we have been pinching ourselves".
"It is amazing the changes in Holly each day," he explained. "She is smiling and giggling now."
The couple have been together for 4 years but never expected to conceive, so both their families are "ecstatic", added Jon.
"Holly was a total surprise so it has been a bit of a shock," he revealed. "We were over the moon."
In the UK, the average age of the menopause is 51 years, when women’s natural supply of oestrogen dwindles and ovaries run out of eggs.
But a study in 2011 by Imperial College London researchers found that 7.4% of women go through the menopause before the age of 40, while charity the Daisy Network – which supports those experiencing early menopause – estimates 1 in 10,000 women under 20 are affected.
Congrats Rachel and Jon!
Magda Ibrahim is a freelance writer who has written for publications including The Times and Sunday Times, The Sun, and the London Evening Standard, as well for MadeForMums.
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