As a mum, one of the most exciting things to happen in your life is when you finally see those two lines on your pregnancy test.
You start to plan ahead, thinking of what things you're going to buy for the baby, and what his or her name will be. But what if you discover later in your pregnancy that your 'baby' was actually a cancerous tumour?
That's exactly what happened to mum Lauren Knowles after she discovered that she just 'gave birth' to a tumour she thought was her baby.
She had what's called a 'molar pregnancy'
Image source: iStock
27-year-old Lauren and her husband were both very excited when they saw that the pregnancy test showed that were going to have their second child. However, their joy was to be short-lived.
After seven-and-a-half weeks, Lauren experienced heavy spotting. Fearing the worst, she went to the doctor to have it checked and she was sent for a scan. Lauren was heartbroken when the scan found that she wasn't carrying a baby, but instead, she was carrying a cancerous tumour that was slowly growing inside her.
Lauren had been diagnosed with molar pregnancy which is an abnormal type of pregnancy wherein instead of a baby, a growth of abnormal cells grows inside the uterus. After some more tests, they discovered that the tumour was cancerous.
She 'gave birth' to the tumour
Lauren had to undergo chemotherapy which caused her hair to fall out
After the cancer diagnosis, Lauren had to undergo gruelling chemotherapy in order to treat her tumour. She also had to undergo surgery where most of the tumour was removed. Sadly, even after all of these treatments, Lauren's cancer came back and was growing at an extremely alarming rate.
She shares, "The tumour grew in my womb the same way a baby would, the same hormones were produced and my pregnancy tests always came back positive."
"There was no way I thought it was cancer, but after I started bleeding, I had further tests when I was seven weeks pregnant."
Five months into her 'pregnancy', Lauren suffered from extremely painful stomach cramps, and she suddenly had the urge to push.
"I lost all my hair and five months after starting treatment, I gave birth to the mass in the toilet." She goes on, "It was the same size as a baby at 17 weeks, so it was a big tumour to push out with no assistance. I was so relieved when I saw the tumour down the toilet as I knew my ordeal was finally over."
Despite the complete removal of the tumour, her doctors warned her that she and her husband might have problems having a child since the tumour has damaged her womb. But again, Lauren was about to defy the odds.
Lauren became pregnant with her second child about a year after her ordeal. She was terrified that she might have another molar pregnancy, thankfully this time she gave birth to a healthy child.
Are all mums at risk of a molar pregnancy?
Image source: iStock
What happened to Lauren is an extremely rare condition that only happens in one out of 1000 pregnancies. Regardless, it's still important for mums to know the signs and to be aware that it can be a possibility.
Here are some things to remember:
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding is a common sign of a molar pregnancy.
- Nausea and vomiting can also manifest.
- Developing thyroid disease is another possible sign.
- Symptoms of early preeclampsia or high blood pressure in pregnant women.
- Higher than normal levels of hCG or the hormone produced by mums during pregnancy.
- No fetal movement or heart tone, but your tummy grows larger.
The best way to know if you have a molar pregnancy or not is to get an ultrasound, since doctors will be able to clearly see if there's an abnormal lump of cells inside your uterus instead of a baby.
Sources: nypost.com, mayoclinic.org
Photos screen capped from nypost.com / Caters News Agency
READ: Cancer signs that can easily be mistaken for pregnancy symptoms