Last year, Yvonne Exell did not know if she ever would have the chance to celebrate Christmas with her son.
Ruben Exell was diagnosed with a life-threatening lung condition while he was still in the womb, the Daily Mail reports. Rather than abort him, as doctors suggested, the Hull, England mother decided to give her son a chance at life. Now, because of her life-affirming choice, the family is celebrating their first Christmas together.
Exell said Ruben was diagnosed with congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation when she was 20 weeks pregnant. The disorder is a type of lesion or tumor on the lung, and it can be life-threatening. Doctors told her that the disorder was causing Ruben’s lung and heart to be squished into his back, and urged her to consider abortion.
“I was given the option to terminate the pregnancy as it was unlikely the baby would survive, but there was no doubt in my mind that I would carry on,” she said.
For the rest of the pregnancy, Yvonne said her doctors put her on “awful” steroids and watched her and Ruben closely.
Three weeks before her due date, doctors decided that Ruben needed to be born. They induced Exell on March 30, and her son came out alive and healthy, according to the report. Several hours later, however, Exell said Ruben began experiencing problems; but he fought through them and only needed to spend a few days in the neo-natal intensive care unit.
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This Christmas, Ruben is 9 months old. Eventually, he will need surgery, but for now, his parents are just happy that he is alive.
“He will keep having check-ups until he is well enough for surgery where he will have the bottom lobe of his lung taken off. It was repair itself after that,” Yvonne said. “He will be monitored as there’s no way we can tell how it may affect him in later life.”
The family is making the most of their first Christmas with their son.
“We’ll definitely have a big Christmas. It’s so exciting,” she said.