Cancer and Pregnant: How One Mom Fought for Two

Cancer and Pregnant: How One Mom Fought for Two

Cancer and Pregnant: How One Mom Fought for Two

Learning you have breast cancer is likely one of the worst moments of any woman’s life. Finding out you are pregnant a few days later must seem surreal. It’s an improbable scenario sure to stir a mix of conflicting emotions—joy, fear, amazement and a fierce protectiveness.

How can these two life-altering events happen simultaneously? That was a question Sarah D. found herself facing at the age of 34.

“I had no family history of breast cancer and absolutely no reason to think I would be at risk for developing it,” she says. “Yet, it happened anyway. Ten days after receiving the terrible news, I had something that encouraged me to fight even more. I found out I was pregnant.”

Facing the Storm

Terrified and not knowing what to expect – or what her options as a pregnant woman with breast cancer might be – Sarah saw her obstetrician the day after she learned she was pregnant.

“She put my worries at ease right away,” Sarah recalls. “My doctor assured me that I would be able to receive treatment and my baby would be fine. My oncologist confirmed her assessment. We just waited until after the second trimester to start my chemotherapy.”

Over the course of 12 weeks, Sarah underwent four rounds of chemo.

“As my belly grew, my hair fell out. I was certainly a sight to behold,” she admits. “I was always exhausted, which is a common side effect of both chemo and pregnancy. Luckily, that was the worst part of it for me. I didn’t get sick. I didn’t have pain. Of course, I was concerned for my child. We all were.”

“The biggest concern about chemotherapy during pregnancy is that it may affect the baby’s development. As a result, my son was constantly monitored. Thankfully, he grew right on schedule and looked healthy throughout my entire treatment.”

A Welcome Miracle

At 8:44 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2015, Sarah’s beautiful baby boy finally made his long-awaited appearance. His mother, who had been through so much to bring him safely into the world, was ecstatic.

“He was perfect!” Sarah boasts. “Today, I’m not only a breast cancer survivor, but my son is an incredibly smart, funny and loving child. He is truly our family’s miracle.”

Originally published 3/16/2018; Revised 2022