For new mom Leane, the delivery of her baby boy should have been a moment of pure joy. But her labour and the weeks following the birth were riddled with unexpected trauma.
And, as it turned out, the consequences of having a second unborn child in her womb may well have proved deadly. The then-38-year-old stay-at-home mom was set to deliver her son, Loue.
But when she gave birth to the newborn, the moment likely wasn’t as beautiful for her as it should have been. She had no idea she had been pregnant with twins until she was rushed to the hospital with heavy bleeding six weeks after baby Loue was born.
Loue arrived grey and lifeless and was whisked to the antenatal unit where he spent three weeks on life support, with devastated Leane. Then, six weeks after the birth, doctors found Louee had been “hiding” a second pregnancy.
His “twin” was not viable but had left behind a rare, fast-growing cancer — and the cells had spread to Leanne’s lungs. While she should have been home with her newborn, she spent a month in hospital undergoing 20 blood transfusions followed by five months of chemotherapy. Leane, a full-time mum, fell pregnant with Louee a few months after giving birth to daughter Francesca, now two, with long-term partner Andrew.
Her scans looked normal, but Loue was not breathing when he arrived. The baby spent more than three weeks in hospital, on life support, in a cooling machine and in an incubator. His organs had begun to shut down due to losing 80 per cent of his blood and he was put in an induced coma and given donor blood to bring him back to health.
But Leane says: “Two days after he came home, I was still bleeding heavily and was rushed to hospital where medics operated to remove what they thought was part of Loue’s placenta — but it was part of the molar pregnancy. It was terrifying. I had no idea what was going on.”
Doctors discovered she had been “hiding” a second pregnancy, which was then removed — but left behind a very rare fast-growing cancer. The cells spread to her lungs, Leane went on to have 15 hours of chemo a week and 20 blood transfusions. She nearly died when a blood clot travelled to her lung while in hospital. Just five weeks after Leanne started her chemo, she also lost her hair.
She says: “It was horrible, a constant reminder I had cancer. “When I woke up in the morning I would forget for a few seconds then I’d see myself in the mirror. Part of my identity had been taken away.” Leanne, now in remission, says she would do it all again ‘if it was a choice between me and Loue’.
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