Little Life Saver: Mum's Unborn Baby Alerted Her To Cervical Cancer

14/08/2014 16:48 | Updated 22 May 2015

Life saver: Mum's unborn baby alerted her to cervical cancer

The bond between any mother and baby is a special one, but there is a reason for it to be extraordinary between Jane Heffey and little Ciara.

For Jane, 28, says she owes her life to her little girl – while she was still in her womb.

Nurse Jane, from Croxteth Park, Liverpool, received the devastating diagnosis that she had cervical cancer when she was 20 weeks pregnant with Ciara last February.

She explained away her bleeding by saying: "At first I assumed it had something to do with being pregnant before, and that my body was re-adjusting.

"And if hadn't pregnant with Ciara, I might have brushed it off.

"I was worried that the bleeding meant was something wrong with Ciara. I never imagined it would be me."

After an initial check-up, Jane was given an examination at Liverpool Women's Hospital, where she received the devastating news that she had a 9cm tumour on her cervix.

As baby Ciara developed in her womb, she was putting pressure on her cervix, causing heavy bleeding. But there was more devastating news to come.

The cancer had already spread to Jane's lymph nodes and the medical staff were worried that it had reached her bladder, too.

Jane, who at that point already had a nine-month-old daughter, Niamh, with partner Stephen, 30, added: "It wasn't just my life hanging in the balance. Being pregnant with an eight-month- old baby, it was the worst news imaginable."

Jane was told she'd need chemotherapy and was even given the option to terminate Ciara - something she immediately dismissed.

She said: "Just one word could have ended Ciara's life, but there's no way on earth I would have done that. Not when she's the one who had saved my life."

Last March, while she was 24 weeks pregnant, she started her first cycle of chemotherapy at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Wirral.

And incredibly the tumour shrank by half.

The remainder of her treatment was put on hold until Ciara was born, as a second round of chemotherapy could potentially harm her.

At 32 weeks baby Ciara was delivered by Caesarean on April 12, 2012 at Liverpool's Women Hospital.

"When I woke up Stephen told me Ciara was fine. It was the best news in the world," she said.

"When I saw her for the first time she was curled up in an incubator. I just burst out crying. She was beautiful."

Three weeks after Ciara was born, Jane had to start intensive chemotherapy. Her next scan came in July, where she discovered the tumour had disappeared completely.

But she still needed 25 external sessions of radiotherapy across her pelvis, as well as more chemotherapy to blast the cancerous cells still left in her body.

"At times I felt vulnerable and ugly, but the nurses in the radiation unit were great. It's not always been easy, and there are times when Ciara, now 11 months old, and Niamh, now 22 months old, are at the dinner table and there are peas flying everywhere and both of them are crying," she said.

"At times like that, me and Stephen just look at each other and we burst out laughing. After the year we've been through, we're not about to moan."

This month Jane will be falling 10,000ft when she performs a sponsored charity skydive for The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre with Stephen.

She said: "Any other time and I would be having a heart attack at the thought of doing that. But now I feel like I can do anything."

To donate visit and more information about the work at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is available at

Suggest a correction