Singaporean cancer survivor's baby is a true miracle
"If I could advise anyone who is going through the same thing I did, I would tell them to have faith and not give up. Hannah is proof that miracles still exist in this world."
"You don't know how much you want a baby until somebody tells you that you can't have one." — Madam Siti Nurjannah Sapiee
These are sad yet beautiful words of truth spoken by a brave Singaporean mother.
Madam Siti Nurjannah Sapiee, 32, has an incredible story that will no doubt touch every parent's heart.
A double blow
In November 2009, according to The New Paper, Mdm Siti was preparing to celebrate the joyous occasion of her marriage. But she was dealt a double blow with the diagnoses of cancer and infertility.
She had synovial sarcoma of the thigh, which is "a rare cancer of the soft tissues that typically occurs near the large joints of the arms or legs."
Mdm Siti was also told that the chemotherapy would possibly result in infertility. She told The New Paper, "The most heartbreaking thing to me was remembering that my fiance wanted three kids and I felt I couldn't give him what he wanted."
Because she wanted to focus on battling the cancer and looking into a way of possibly retaining her fertility, Mdm Siti postponed her wedding to November 2010.
A first step in her quest to look for a way to preserve her fertility was to find a specialist who could help her.
So Mdm Siti was referred to Dr Anupriya Agarwal, a consultant at the National University Hospital (NUH) Women's Centre's Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, by her oncologist, Dr Andrea Wong.
As a potential way of letting her have babies even after chemotherapy, Mdm Siti's doctors suggested ovarian tissue cryopreservation.
This ground-breaking medical procedure involved "the removal of ovarian tissue from Madam Siti's body and keeping it in frozen storage until after her recovery."
Mdm Siti had the ovarian tissue cryopreservation procedure in December 2009, soon after which she started on chemotherapy.
And in March 2013, she was declared to be free of cancer and ready for her ovarian tissue to be reintroduced to her body.
Dream come true
Mdm Siti's menstrual cycle came back three months after the procedure was done, indicating that she and her husband were now ready to try for a baby.
Her husband Mr Raihan Haji Rajin told The New Paper that despite this positive sign, he was still concerned for his wife's health: "Even though she was cancer-free, I didn't want her to neglect her health just so that she could conceive my child. I wanted her to raise it with me."
In October 2014 the couple's dreams came true as they found out they were going to be parents.
Mr Raihan said:
"She woke me up one morning and showed me a pregnancy test that showed a positive result. I told her to try two more times and all three tests were positive.
"At that time, she was already excited, but I didn't want to raise our hopes, to be disappointed in the end. That's why I was still quite hesitant and wanted to wait until we received confirmation from a doctor."
And on May 21 this year, Madam Siti gave birth to Nur Hannah A'qiylah.
Weighing 2.7kg at birth, "baby Hannah is reportedly one of only 21 babies worldwide who was conceived naturally following ovarian tissue cryopreservation," according to NUH.
Also, her birth is reportedly the first in Asia.
Mdm Siti said: "If I could advise anyone who is going through the same thing I did, I would tell them to have faith and not give up. Hannah is proof that miracles still exist in this world."
We at theAsianparent wish this lovely family all the best!
Do drop your notes of well wishes to Mdm Siti and Mr Raihan in the comment box below.