A powerful story of a courageous Canadian Mama who gave birth after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
My birthing story…. It was a challenging time for us. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer one month before my due date.
I was the one who detected my breast mass. I don’t do self breast exams regularly but something within me sort of “whispered” and told me to check my breasts February last year. I think it was the second breast exam I had ever had in my whole life. The mass was just underneath the skin and had all the signs of being benign.
Two doctors told me it looked benign until I urged my surgeon to take it out because it was increasing in size as my pregnancy was progressing. They had planned to take it out after the delivery. So, I had the lump taken out.
They had to induce my delivery so I can undergo surgery and the rest of the treatment. Stella was 38 weeks then. We were told to go to the hospital on Jan 8. It was snowing that day and we went to the hospital as instructed. We did not tell anyone about the induction since we kept the cancer to ourselves until I started my chemo. As for the induction, they inserted a pill in my cervix and checked me after 12 hrs. I had the pill inserted at around 9 in the morning, then I had regular 5 min contractions by 2 in the afternoon.
I was determined to go through labor without any pain meds. Spenz was there the whole time, helping me breathe in and out, counting with me…this went on for 12 hours. Suddenly, I felt warm fluid gush into my lower body – my water broke and I started crying and panicking. The nurse said the fluid was clear and that everything was okay. That calmed me a bit but the pain was becoming unbearable and there was also some bleeding. They checked me and I was only 2 cm dilated!
Then I told the nurse that I was feeling something heavy inside, pressing down. She did an internal exam and gave me a frightened look. She just said that she was going to call the doctor. That made me worry and panic. When the doctor came and did another exam, she said – I just shook hands with your daughter. Stella put out her whole arm out of my cervix.
So after 12 hours of hard, painful labor – Stella couldn’t wait for me to dilate to 10 cm so she put her hand out through her mama’s cervix to wave and say hello. I was brought to the OR, had spinal anesthesia then delivered via C-section. It was an unforgettable and precious moment for Spenz and I.
I was able to breastfeed with just one breast for two months before I had my chemo. It was challenging at first but once you got used to it, latching on became easy. I was even close to tears when Stella wouldn’t latch. It can get frustrating but do persevere… and ask for help.
Stella will be turning 6 months tomorrow. All is well. She is getting more beautiful and lovely every day and it is truly a gift to have been given this chance – a chance to bring life into the world. There is so much to be thankful for.
I have gone through my breast surgery, chemotherapy and am presently going through radiation until August. We are thankful that the cancer was seen at an early stage. We’re doing all that we can to make sure that Spenz and I will be around to witness Stella’s birthing story… We are praying for that.
I haven’t really told people about the cancer. Only a few people know about it. I do have pictures on Facebook where I’m wearing a bandana. So maybe people know that I’m sick but are afraid to ask. I just don’t know how to tell people. I’d rather not give bad news. And I really don’t want to tell the story again and again.
I am okay right now and will be getting better. I am looking forward to wonderful years ahead with family and friends.