Keith and Donielle Wilde have been married for 17 years and own a concrete business in North Carolina. They are also the parents to nine children under the age of 12. In April, the couple discovered that they were expecting their tenth child.
Although they were surprised by the pregnancy, they were very excited. However, shortly after Donielle became pregnant, doctors found that her breast cancer, which had been in remission for ten years, returned.
The beginning of this year was extremely difficult for Keith and me. The business, financial stressors, and 11 of us living under the same roof had us both feeling maxed out. In our minds, we were sure that God had given us all that we could handle.
However, God would soon reveal that He had other plans. Since we were using NFP (Natural Family Planning), we were more than a little surprised to find out we were pregnant with our 10th child. After sharing our feelings of joy and excitement, we began to wonder how God could think we were able to handle more. But He never let us down before. He always provided for us in the past, and we were confident this time would be no different.
So they accepted the unexpected pregnancy with joy and prepared to welcome their 10th child, a fifth daughter.
But when Donielle went to her OB-GYN for a routine ultrasound at nine weeks into her pregnancy, life took another unexpected turn. The ultrasound revealed a large mass on one of her ovaries – a discovery they would have never made if it weren’t for the new life growing right beside it.
Once again God had shown His light for all to see what was happening in the darkness.
Unfortunately, Donielle found out the tumor was cancerous and at 16 weeks into her pregnancy, doctors had to remove it. When tests were conducted on the tumor, they learned more bad news: the tumor was not ovarian cancer, but Stage IV breast cancer that had metastasized. That’s when both Donielle’s oncologist and ovarian specialist advised her to abort her unborn baby.
Keith explained how they responded to the doctor’s suggestion.
As a father it is very strange to sit across from someone, at arm’s length, and listen to that person tell you to kill your child. I know that is a very blunt description of what took place – but it is also accurate. I realized that he did not see it that way. The doctor is a good man, kind, a father. He is a competent professional and very dedicated to doing all he can to save Donielle’s life. But he simply did not see the child in her womb as a person. The pregnancy was a condition to be dealt with so that Donielle’s treatment could begin.
I honestly don’t think he was prepared for our response. There were no tears, no breakdowns, no anger. We calmly accepted the news, and calmly refused the abortion. He spoke with us at length to make sure we understood the seriousness of the diagnosis, sharing survival statistics and life expectancies for cases similar to ours.
We never wavered.
Donielle was also given the option to undergo aggressive chemotherapy throughout her pregnancy and risk a possible miscarriage. But Keith and Donielle decided that endangering their child was an unacceptable option. Instead, they agreed to focus on having a healthy pregnancy and then treat Donielle.
Keith said, “It is unknown what will happen with her cancer, none of the treatments offer any guarantee of success but only the possibility of prolonging her life by an unknown amount of time. But for their unborn daughter, only one option gives her the best chance to be born healthy and live out her natural life.”
Now, Donielle is expected to deliver her baby four weeks early via Caesarian section. After the delivery, her doctors plan to remove what’s remaining of the tumor. Donielle’s baby is growing normally and she will arrive in November.
Donielle said, “We feel very hopeful that our little girl will be healthy and strong. We’ve accepted in our hearts whatever it is God has willed for my life. Whether it be healing from cancer, strength in suffering or a peaceful death, my heart remains at peace knowing Christ and our Blessed Mother will give my family and me all the grace we need to live it out.”
She concluded, “We have told all our children I have cancer and have explained to them the importance of prayer for our unborn baby and my health. We have also found this as a great opportunity to educate them more deeply on the sacredness of life in every circumstance. We feel they are comforted by the example of peace and hope reflected in the way Keith and I are living out this unknown part of our life. Children often respond to crisis based on what they see others do.”