Mother Makes Courageous Decision to Save Unborn Baby’s Life

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 27, 2011   |   11:25AM   |   Toronto, Ontario

A fascinating and inspiring story is making its way around the Internet of a woman in Toronto, Canada who made a heart-wrenching decision to put the life of her nearly seven-month unborn child ahead of her own.

Sadie Stout had a tumor growing in her heart and doctors gave her 24 hours to make a quick decision about whether to remove the tumor immediately, which would give her the best chance at life but put her baby at risk, have an immediate Caesarian section which would put her life at risk but also birth her baby so prematurely that he could face medical problems, or wait and do nothing by protecting her child but potentially putting her life and health at risk.

Stout’s extraordinarily rare tumor growing inside her heart is something surgeons at Toronto General Hospital called a ticking time bomb because they feared a piece of it could break off at any time and work its way into her bloodstream and possibly to her brain. They called for an immediate operation.

Sadie chose the emergency c-section saying, “I decided I would have him before doing anything with me.  I wanted him to have a chance to survive before me.”

“There was no way I would be able to do the surgery while being pregnant knowing there was a chance he would die from it.  They were saying that I hadn’t met the baby yet, that I wasn’t attached. But even when I was pregnant, Bentley was my whole world. I would never choose myself over him,” she added. “I knew, in my heart, he would be okay.”

The surgery went well and now Sadie is out of the hospital while Bentley, her newborn son, is still in the health center.

Stout is one of only 17 women in the world to have confronted this situation, news reports indicate, and doctors were not sure her baby would survive the surgery.

Parent Central has more on this inspiring story:

Doctors could remove the tumour right away, but there was a 30 percent chance her baby would die during the operation. If he lived, her baby would likely have long-term physical and developmental disabilities.

Stout could choose to have an emergency C-section before undergoing heart surgery. Her baby, though, would be born 21/2 months premature, and doctors would have to closely monitor Stout to ensure the tumor didn’t break off while she was in the delivery room.

Or Stout could wait until her baby was more fully developed to have the two operations. Doctors warned her she could have a stroke — maybe even die — any moment during the delay.

Dr. Kellie Murphy, a high-risk obstetrician at Mount Sinai, said the team of doctors involved in Stout’s care believed each of the three options had equal merit.

“All of us were really not sure which way to go. I could have gone around and made good arguments for each one.”

One thing the team agreed on was that the deeply personal choice be left to Stout.

“Any decision she made would have been right because it would have been the right one for her,” Murphy said.

Stout said she made up her mind almost immediately.