Pregnant mum with cancer told by 7 doctors to terminate unborn child gives birth to miracle baby girl after surgery and chemo
A pregnant mum with cancer who ignored doctors’ advice to terminate her unborn child gave birth to a ‘miracle’ baby girl after undergoing treatment.
Tifanie Morataya, 37, was shocked to discover she was expecting her daughter, Zoe, just four days after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
She claims seven doctors advised her to abort her baby – but after researching the risks of having chemotherapy while pregnant herself, she chose to keep it.
And last March, after undergoing both chemo and a mastectomy, she welcomed healthy baby Zoe into the world, who was seemingly unaffected by her cancer.
Now, Tifanie is cancer-free – and has taken her little girl to meet the medics who advised her to terminate her pregnancy to prove that “miracles can happen”.
“I pushed her out in two seconds,” she recalled of Zoe’s birth.
“After 45 minutes they gave her to me and she didn’t have anything hooked up to her. She was perfectly healthy and breathing on her own. I was stoked. I could breathe for the first time in months.
“As strong as I tried to pretend I was, I was just as nervous as everyone else. It was such a relief that she had ten fingers and ten toes. It was perfect.”
And she was dealt a second blow when she was told by doctors that if she did survive, she may not be able to have any more children as chemotherapy can damage eggs.
The mum, from California, US, was referred to an IVF specialist to freeze her eggs so she could give her and her partner’s son Alexander, now ten, a sibling.
But while she was being examined at the clinic, she claims the specialist walked out of the room in disbelief – because she was, in fact, already pregnant.
She alleges that following the revelation, seven doctors at various medical centers in America – which she does not wish to name – advised her to terminate.
But despite researching undergoing chemo while pregnant and reading that the risks were “high”, she says she could find no ‘conclusive evidence’ it would impact her unborn child.
Feeling hopeful, Tifanie and her partner Anthony, 52, a college professor, decided to keep Zoe, now 14 months, and the mum continued with her cancer treatment.
“First I learned that I might die and then we had this baby that might die too,” said Tifanie.
“It was a nightmare. So many people were telling me what to do.
“I wanted them to tell me something solid, like that the child was going to be brain damaged or have one arm or have heart disease.
“But there was nothing. There were no tangible risks.
“It was truly scary. As much as I had decided, ‘I’m going to go through with this,’ I was thinking, ‘Oh God, what am I doing?’
“There was a lot of guilt. I was really holding my breath the whole time fearing I would get bad news, but I was holding onto hope.
“I was afraid secretly but I was more strong, and my strength and determination kept me going for Zoe and Alexander.”
Tifanie, who received her cancer diagnosis on August 1, 2016, and learned she was pregnant on August 5, underwent a mastectomy on September 16.
She then started chemo on October 21.
Five months later, at 3.10pm on March 11, 2017, she gave birth to her ‘completely healthy’ baby daughter, weighing 4.5lbs.
“I felt completely drained through treatment,” she said.
“Physically it was the most tired I have ever felt in my entire life. It was like every ounce of blood drained out of you.
“I was pregnant and I would have to run to the restroom to be sick for one reason or another, but it was just like, ‘Get it done.’
“Five weeks before my due date I woke up thinking I had wet the bed so grabbed a towel and went back to sleep, but my waters had broken.
“My husband helped me get up and into his truck and we went to the hospital.”
Tifanie, who lives in Fairfield, had first noticed a lump on her left breast “the size of a lima bean” in April 2016. However, she claims she was initially told nothing was wrong.
However, by that July, the lump had become hard and painful, and had swelled to “the size of a tangerine”, so she was referred to a surgeon to have it removed.
She says the surgeon ordered a biopsy, which revealed she had advanced stage three breast cancer.
Tifanie said: “I was just numb.
“What you think when you first hear something like that is what you see on TV, which is that you’re going to die.
“I asked my doctor, ‘What about babies, can I have more babies?’ My son had always wanted a sibling.
“She said chemotherapy damages your eggs because it kills fast growing cells, so she sent me to an IVF clinic.
“When I went there they were doing my observations and the doctor was like, ‘Put your legs up,’ and then he did the exam.
“He is in this sliding chair and he slides back to the other side of the room and I’m thinking, ‘What, what is it?’
“He said, ‘I need a minute.’ He walks out of the room and I was freaking out.
“Then he came back in and was laughing. He was like, ‘Lady, you are already pregnant.’
“I was like, ‘What, no, I have cancer I’m not pregnant.’ He was like, ‘Yes, you are.'”
Tifanie then had to decide whether to continue with the IVF and have her eggs harvested which would mean losing her unborn child, or to continue the pregnancy.
She said: “I did some research and couldn’t find any information about pregnancy during chemo being unsafe.
“We found, ‘Oh, it is not recommended,’ or, ‘The risks are high,’ or, ‘There is concern for the baby.’
“I went for second and third opinions at different hospitals and at the end of the day, seven doctors recommended I terminate.
“I have since gone back to visit some of the doctors who told me to terminate. I said, ‘I don’t know if you remember me but this is my daughter. She is healthy.’
“Most of them gave me a hug and said, ‘We’re so happy we were wrong.’ I just wanted them to know it can happen.”