When you’re trying to start a family, learning that you’re pregnant can be an exhilarating time for a woman. But what was supposed to be nine months of anticipation and excitement, turned into the biggest life challenge for one Scottish woman.
Lauren Knowles was a 27-year-old mom from the UK living with her fiance Trent and her son Charlie. The two had been trying to have another baby for quite some time, so when the pregnancy test indicated she was pregnant, they were so happy. They started preparing for their new bundle of joy, even thought it was still early, but a few weeks in, something went wrong.
Seven weeks into her pregnancy, Lauren noticed heavy spotting. But since this had happened while she was carrying Charlie, she didn’t feel like she had anything to worry about. But the bleeding continued for several days. So, Lauren decided to see a doctor because she was afraid there was something seriously wrong here. But she wasn’t prepared for what the doctor told her.
Several tests and scans were performed on Lauren at the hospital. But when the tests came back, doctors discovered she had a molar pregnancy. Lauren didn’t have a clue what that meant, but she assumed it was a complication with the baby. But then the doctor gave shared some facts with info on the odd condition, her heart practically stopped.
Gestational trophoblastic disease, or molar pregnancy, occurs when a tumor forms in the womb from a cluster of cells. The mass fools the body into producing pregnancy hormones, allowing the tumor to grow like a baby. That’s why the pregnancy tests kept giving off a positive indication. But it turns out that this wasn’t the worst news Lauren could have been told.
The doctors learned that the mass was cancerous, so they had to remove it from Lauren’s body surgically. Then they put her on low-grade chemotherapy to destroy any cancerous cells. Unfortunately, the pregnancy hormones kept resurrecting the tumor. So, the chemo treatment continued and Lauren hoped this would put an end to the tumor for good. But five months later, things took an interesting turn.
Lauren was pushing her son Charlie on a swing at the park. Then, she got some severe cramps out of the blue and rushed home. There, she noticed she was bleeding badly. Realizing something was wrong, she headed to the hospital and was rushed to the cancer ward immediately. But her condition had suddenly become very critical.
In one week, Lauren had gone completely bold after being given six high doses of chemotherapy. Her health continued to deteriorate, and she was in a lot of paint. Lauren got depressed, despite getting visited often by Trent and Charlie. She was afraid she would die since the tumor seemed unaffected by the chemo. Then, the oddest thing happened.
Again, Lauren began feeling extremely painful stomach cramps. She hoped they’d go away on their own, but the pain just got worse. Lauren went to the bathroom, hoping it would help. She pulled her IV along as she made her way to the restroom. Then, as she sat in the hospital toilet, she felt an urge to push.
Lauren was experiencing contractions and began to push the way she did when she had Charlie. While she wasn’t birthing a child, the strain was just as bad. “It was the same size as a baby at 17 weeks, so it was a big tumor to push out with no assistance,” claimed Lauren. Once it was over, she looked at the toilet and felt a great sense of relief.
Lauren cried when she saw the huge dark mass she just birthed. “A massive sense of relief came over me — I felt so thankful that the tumor was finally out of me.” The mass was the equivalent of a large pear. Eventually, her strength came back to her, and she was strong enough to return to her family. But doctors told her that her life might have changed forever.
Doctors told Lauren that her womb had been damaged by the tumor, so conceiving a child would be difficult. While the news made her heart sink, she decided to focus on her family and getting her life back to normal. Eventually, the family moved to Perth, Australia, and the warm, sunny weather was oh-so healing. Then Lauren’s fortune took another turn.
A year after birthing a tumor, Lauren learned she was pregnant. But she wasn’t happy, she was scared. She thought it could have been yet another tumor. She confessed, “I wasn’t able to enjoy the feeling.” So, she waited anxiously until she was far enough along for doctors to detect a fetal heartbeat.
Lauren’s eyes were flooded with tears as she lay in the doctor’s office, while the nurse scanned her womb. The scan found the fetal heartbeat and it was strong. Lauren was finally having a baby, for real this time. Her pregnancy continued without any hiccups, and earlier this year, she welcomed a new member to the family alongside Trent.
Indi was born through an emergency C-section five weeks early but was in excellent health. It seems like Lauren and Trent had been rewarded for their hardships. “After all my treatment, the light at the end of the tunnel was falling pregnant with Indi,” she added. But, Lauren will always remember the fear and the pain of the ordeal, and wouldn’t wish what she went through on any woman.
Lauren wanted women to know about the risks of molar pregnancy by sharing her story with the public. She feels that if women know about this illness, they can get the right treatment early on and prevent a tragic end. “I want to give people hope that even in the worst scenarios, what seems impossible is still possible while raising more awareness to molar pregnancy.”