A pregnant mum who refused an abortion when she was diagnosed with leukaemia says keeping her baby was the “best decision” she has ever made.
Victoria Webster was 21 weeks pregnant when she learned she had cancer of the blood. Doctors told her to have an abortion so she could start chemotherapy.
But she refused to have an abortion and now both she and her baby daughter, Jessica, are doing well.
Mrs Webster says she could not consider an abortion: “To me she was already a baby, already there and I just could not abort the baby at all”.
She explained that doctors “kept telling me to have a termination – but I had made up my mind, and my husband Martyn supported me”.
The mum, 33, who is also mother of four-year-old Lewis, said: “It’s the best decision I have ever made. I can’t imagine my life without my daughter.”
When Mrs Webster was 21 weeks pregnant she underwent a routine blood test, but the results showed she had chronic myeloid leukaemia, a rare condition for a 33-year-old.
Doctors told her that to be treated for the condition she would need chemotherapy – but that would kill her baby.
Medics at Birmingham’s Heartland’s Hospital therefore advised her to have an abortion. However she refused.
Instead of the chemotherapy Mrs Webster had a milder treatment, leukapheresis, in which her blood was drained out of her body and ‘washed’ in a machine, before being pumped back into her veins each week during the last three months of her pregnancy.
Mrs Webster responded well to this treatment and in April 2010 she gave birth to her healthy baby girl – Jessica.
After giving birth Mrs Webster started a course of chemotherapy tablets and she is now doing well.
Mrs Webster said of Jessica: “We bonded straight away – holding her in my arms was truly an amazing moment.
“Because I had to start treatment straight after the birth, I missed out on breast feeding, which I was a bit gutted about – but it’s a small price to pay.
“I do get some side effects from the drugs I’m taking – I get tired easily and I can’t run around in the park with my little boy just now.
“But things are going well, and hopefully before long, I’ll be in remission.”
Mrs Webster continued: “My doctors have warned me that 10 or 15 years in the future, I might need a bone marrow transplant, or further treatment. But now, I’m just grateful to be here.
“I’ll never regret keeping my little girl and delaying treatment. I might have risked my life for her, but she was worth it.”