29/11/2013 11:21 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

The Miracle Baby Who Survived Six Months Of Chemotherapy In His Mother's Womb After She Refused To Abort Him

Stephanie Papworth and her miracle baby GabrielWorldwide Features

This is Gabriel, the miracle baby who survived six months of chemotherapy whilst still in his mother's womb.

Stephanie Papworth was just 12 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and doctors offered to terminate the baby as they didn't think he would be able to survive the aggressive treatment.

But Stephanie was determined to give her baby a fighting chance - and refused the termination.

Her miracle baby endured months of chemotherapy whilst in the womb and defied all the odds to be born healthy.

And Stephanie has just been given the all-clear herself after a year of treatment.

Stephanie, 34, says: "He really is my little miracle - every time I look at him I feel so blessed. I can't believe he survived all this time in the womb whilst I was having chemotherapy."

Stephanie, who lives in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, was just 12 weeks pregnant when she discovered a lump in her left breast.

"As soon as I felt it, I just felt sick with fear. It was a hard marble-sized lump and even though I was so young, I was so worried that it was breast cancer. I tried to push it to the back of my mind and convince myself it was a harmless lump," she says.

Stephanie went to see her GP who told her it was probably nothing to worry about, but she referred her to the breast clinic in York for further checks.

She had an unltrasound and biopsy three days later and doctors delivered the devastating news to her that it was a grade three aggressive breast cancer.

She said: "I just felt numb, I was so shocked. All I could think of was the baby growing inside me and what would happen to it.


I didn't want my baby growing up without a mother.


The doctors told Stephanie that her unborn baby might not survive the aggressive months of chemotherapy treatment she needed to try and survive.

She said: "The doctors offered me a termination as they thought the baby may die due to the treatment. But I was determined. I had already fallen in love with my baby and I wanted to give it the best possible chance of survival. It would mean that we were both fighting for our lives."

Stephanie, who also has daughter Maisie, 10, and son Jacob, 12, had a four hour operation at Bradford Royal Infirmary to remove the lump.

She said: "I was so worried about the baby, whether it would survive the operation. When I came round, I only had a tiny bit of morphine so it wasn't too much for the baby, so I was in a lot of pain.


I had a scan to see if he was still alive, and when we heard the heartbeat and knew he had survived the operation, I cried with relief.


Stephanie then started on aggressive chemotherapy treatment. Without it, the doctors told her she would die.

She said: "I had no choice. I had to have the chemotherapy to stay alive, but I was terrified that it would kill my baby.


Some of my hair fell out, and I felt sick and exhausted, but my baby kept moving inside me, and gave me hope. Every kick that I felt just spurred me on.


She had a scan every three weeks, and each time doctors said that the baby was still alive.

The miracle baby who survived six months of chemotherapy in his mother's womb after she refused to abort himWorldwide Features Gabriel in the womb

Two weeks before the birth the chemotherapy finished, and Gabriel was born at the end of November 2010, weighing just 4lb 13oz.

Stephanie, who is separated from her partner Richard, 38, a plumber, said: "When I actually held him in my arms I just couldn't believe it, that he had survived through so much. It was the most amazing feeling."

She had to start another course of chemotherapy treatment when Gabriel was just two weeks old, which finished in March last year. She then underwent another four weeks of radiotherapy treatment, finishing in April.

Since then she has had several scans, and recently she was finally given the news that she had been waiting for - that she was all clear from cancer.

She said: "It was the most amazing news I could hope for. I'm all clear from cancer and there is no sign of it coming back.

"Gabriel is doing really well too. Despite being premature he's healthy and the doctors believe he has suffered no side effects from the chemotherapy. He is an absolute miracle."

Congratulations to Stephanie - and what a beautiful baby!

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