21/12/2011 12:05 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Little Lifesaver: Boy Saves Mum's Life Whilst Still In The Womb

 Little lifesaver: Boy saves mum's life whilst still in the womb WorldWide Features

This is the little lifesaver who managed to save his mum's life whilst he was still in the womb.

Layla Stephen didn't realise she had cancerous tumours in her stomach until her unborn son, Hadley pushed one of them into her appendix whilst he was moving around.

The tumour then caused agonising stomach pains for Layla when her son was just a few weeks old, and tests showed that she was suffering from an extremely rare form of cancer.

It is thanks to the cancer being discovered in time that Layla has been successfully treated and can look forward to spending Christmas with her family.

Layla, who lives with husband Andrew, 38, a builder, in Petersfield, said: "It is only thanks to Hadley that I'm alive today.

"When the cancer was discovered it had spread all around my body. I had tumours in my appendix, stomach, liver and neck. If it had been left much longer, I wouldn't be here today.


Being pregnant with Hadley saved my life


Layla and Andrew tried for a baby for four years, and went through several rounds of fertility treatment.

"We had started trying for a family immediately after we got married in 2003, but nothing happened so we went to see the GP," explains Layla, a business development manager.

 Little lifesaver: Boy saves mum's life whilst still in the womb WorldWide Features

"We had two years of fertility treatment and then finally in November 2007, I discovered I was pregnant. We were thrilled after so many years of trying."

The pregnancy went smoothly, and in August 2008, Layla gave birth to her son at St Mary's Hospital in Portsmouth.

She took her new arrival home, but eight weeks later she started to suffer from agonising pains in her stomach:

"I'd suffered from stomach pains intermittently for several years and I'd been to the doctors on a regular basis who gave me strong painkillers each time.


But this time, the pain was stronger and I couldn't keep any food down at all. My family thought I was becoming anorexic as I lost three stone in a matter of weeks.


Her family called the emergency doctor and she was taken to the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth were scans found a tumour on her appendix.

Further tests revealed she had multiple neuroendocrine tumours which had spread around her body. One tumour had been pushed into her intestine which had caused the intense pain.

 Little lifesaver: Boy saves mum's life whilst still in the womb WorldWide Features

"The doctors thought that it had been pushed into my intestine because I was carrying Hadley in my womb," explains Layla. "He had been moving around inside me and the movement had pushed the tumour into the intestine.

"It started causing the intense pain when he was born. I just couldn't believe it when I was diagnosed with cancer. I had an eight-week-old baby and I was being told this terrible news."

Initially doctors told her she only had several years to live as the cancer had spread so much:


All I could think about was that I wasn't going to see Hadley grow up. But I was determined that I was going to hang on. I wanted to see him take his first steps and start his first day at school.


Layla underwent four operations over the next ten months to remove the tumours and doctors put her on treatment to try and reduce the tumours on her liver.

In January last year, she was given some incredible news. The tumours had disappeared,
apart from just two in her stomach and one small one on her liver.

"It really was the most fantastic news," says Layla. "When I was first diagnosed I had multiple tumours all around my body, and the treatment has worked better than the doctors had hoped.

 Little lifesaver: Boy saves mum's life whilst still in the womb WorldWideFeatures

"The cancer is in my system so it can only be managed, but the doctors are really pleased with my progress. They have told me that I now longer have just a few years left to live. I don't have a death sentence hanging over me any more."

Layla, who is fundraising for the charity, Planets, which raises awareness of pancreas, liver and endocrine tumours, has now been able to see her son take his first steps and in September she took him to his first day at pre-school:

"It was such a proud emotional day for me. It was something that I promised myself I would stay alive for. My son needs me and I wasn't going to leave him without a mother."

Layla is now looking forward to the Christmas the doctors didn't think she would ever see, and it is all down to her little lifesaver, Hadley:


I defied all the odds to still be alive today, and its all thanks to Hadley. We refused to give up hope of having a baby and I'm so glad that we persevered, as being pregnant did save my life.


"All my family and friends keep saying to me thank goodness I fell pregnant when I did. If Hadley hadn't dislodged the tumour whilst he was in the womb, then they would have spread any more and it may have been too late to save me.

"I feel like I've been given a second chance at life - and it's all thanks to my son."

What an incredible story!
Happy Christmas Layla, Andrew and Hadley from everyone at Parentdish.

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