Aleks Patete simply could not abort her unborn son, despite her troubling cancer diagnosis.
The 28-year-old Ohio mom said her unborn baby boy saved her life, and there was no way she was going to destroy his.
“I think about the things that could have happened and what could have gone wrong and there’s no other reason than the grace of God that everything worked out and we are both alive,” she told People. “I truly think God was watching over us.”
The Blaze reports Patete was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after her seven-week pregnancy ultrasound revealed that she had a cyst on her ovary.
Doctors suggested that she have an abortion so that she could begin chemotherapy, but Patete refused. She said her unborn son is the reason why doctors found her cancer.
“He saved my life,” Patete said. “Now it was my turn to save his life.
“It’s a miracle,” she continued. “The cancer could have progressed a lot further, and we would have had no idea if I wasn’t for my pregnancy. God sent DJ to save my life.”
Later in her pregnancy, Patete underwent chemotherapy at the University Hospital Cleveland. All the time, she said she worried that her cancer treatments might hurt her son.
“It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” she said. “But we had to weigh our options — if I didn’t do anything, I put my life at risk, if I did something, was I putting the baby at risk? It was extremely difficult.”
The expecting mom went through chemotherapy and continued to work full-time as a nurse, according to the report. She said she felt exhausted and sick a lot, but updates from her doctors comforted her with the knowledge that she and her unborn baby were doing ok.
On April 24, Patete gave birth to her son DJ – just three days after finishing chemotherapy. She later had surgery to remove her right ovary and fallopian tube, according to the report. Now, she said she is in remission.
Patete is thrilled to be DJ’s mother, and she hopes she will be able to have more children someday.
“It was just beautiful,” she said. “And he’s the sweetest baby, always smiling and just a joy.”
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Research indicates that pregnant women who undergo cancer treatments later in their pregnancies do not put their unborn babies at significant risk. A 2015 study published in the highly reputable New England Journal of Medicine concluded, “Prenatal exposure to maternal cancer with or without treatment did not impair the cognitive, cardiac, or general development of children in early childhood.”
Lead researcher Professor Frédéric Amant said women should not abort their unborn babies based on fear that their cancer treatment could affect their child.
But doctors still suggest abortion frequently when pregnant moms are diagnosed with cancer.
British mom Chelsea Nally is another example. She was diagnosed with breast cancer early in her pregnancy. Nally said her doctors initially discussed abortion as an option for her unborn baby boy, Finley, but she refused. Later, when tests revealed that her cancer was limited to her left breast, the doctors did not push the idea, and Nally said she felt relieved.
She gave birth to a healthy baby boy on March 19. And like Patete, Nally also believes her son saved her life.
“Holding him in my arms for the first time I felt like my biggest battle was over,” she said. “I couldn’t believe we had both survived pregnancy and chemo. He is my hero, even before he was born he had saved my life.”