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Pregnancy horror – my baby was an imposter!

Something seriously sinister was lurking in Grace's womb

Grace Baker-Padden, 23, thought she was expecting for three months until she discovered something sinister.

Here, she tells the story in her own words.

‘It’s positive,’ said the doctor. ‘You’re definitely pregnant.’

‘I can’t believe it!’ I cried.

My partner Joe was over the moon too, and hugged me tight.

Having been on the pill, it came as a huge surprise.

However, five positive pregnancy tests – four
at home and then this
one conducted by my GP
– had confirmed the incredible news.

Joe, 28, and I had been together a year and knew we wanted to have kids.

We just hadn’t expected to start a family so soon.

Excited, I rang my mum Lesley, and she and my dad Graham were stoked, as were Joe’s parents, Wendy and Neil. After all, this little one would be the first grandchild on both sides.

Joe and I began looking for a bigger place to live.

We even started picking out names.

‘I’m getting really excited now,’ I said.

‘Me too,’ Joe smiled.

Soon after, I began getting morning sickness and felt nauseous every day.

It will all be worth it when I meet the little one, I told myself.

Grace Baker-Padden with her mum and dad
Me with Mum and Dad

My belly began swelling up too.

‘Look, I have a bump!’ I  said to Joe, turning to the side and looking at myself in the mirror.

It was tiny, but it was definitely there!

Then at 10  weeks, I noticed some spots of blood in my undies.

Terrified that I was miscarrying, I went to the doctor.

‘Let’s just see how it goes,’ he said.

I was already booked in for a 12-week scan, so we had to wait until then.

It was torture.

I already felt so bonded with my bub that the thought of losing him or her was awful.

On the day of the scan, we both took the day off work and planned to tell our friends and family our happy news
if the baby was alright.

As I lay on  the table holding Joe’s hand and praying the baby was okay, the sonographer began scanning my belly.

I peered at the screen, surprised. Our baby looked like a bunch of grapes.

She kept taking a screen shot, pausing, then taking another… and another.

‘There’s something not quite right here,’ she said finally. ‘I’m sorry, I think you’re having a molar pregnancy. I’ll go and fetch a doctor.’

As she dashed out, Joe and I looked at each other, completely stunned.

‘What’s a molar pregnancy?’ I said.

‘I don’t know. I’ll google it,’ he replied, taking out his phone.

We discovered it was an abnormal form of pregnancy in which a non-viable fertilised egg implants in
the womb – and it could also be cancerous.

‘Oh no,’ I cried.

Our baby was a potentially deadly tumour.

By the time the doctor came in, we were both in shock.

‘I’m sorry, you’re not having a baby,’ he confirmed.

He explained a molar pregnancy is a rare gestational trophoblastic disease.

It caused my hormones to rise, mimicking the symptoms of a pregnancy, which explained the positive pregnancy tests.

It was unbelievable.

Grace's molar pregnancy ultrasound
A molar pregnancy ultrasound

Joe and I had gone from planning a future with our baby to having no child and me facing a life-threatening disease.

I couldn’t get through to Mum, so I called Dad.

‘I’m not having a baby,’ I wept. ‘It’s a tumour.’

Shocked, he rushed straight to hospital to be by my side, with Mum close behind.

‘I’m so sorry,’ she said tearfully, hugging me.

Two days later, I had surgery to remove the large mass.

It was like I’d given birth to a tumour. And the horror still wasn’t over.

‘Your hormone levels are still much too high,’ the specialist said. ‘That means the tumour was malignant and you have cancer.’

‘This is a nightmare,’ I wept.

Not only was I not going to be a mum – I was now battling for my life.

Over the next six months, my blood levels were closely monitored and I needed chemotherapy.

Grace on her last chemo session
My last chemo session

Joe was my rock.

‘We’ll get through this together,’ he promised.

Finally, on December 27, 2018, I got the all clear.

I burst into tears of relief in Joe’s arms.

Joe was so grateful, he decided to raise money for the charity that helped fund my treatment – the Teenage Cancer Trust, a cancer care and support charity.

Although not previously a runner, Joe ran a half-marathon, raising over $8000 for the charity.

I was so proud of him.

I’ve since found out that around one in 1000 pregnancies are molar, and of these, one per cent are cancerous.

Doctors say there’s no reason I can’t be a mother down the track, but that we need to wait a year until all the chemotherapy medication is out of my system before we try.

I’m so looking forward to the day when we can start a family and I can hold Joe’s baby in my arms for real. ●

To donate, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/joerunsforcancer

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