Mother diagnosed with cancer as she gave birth to premature baby at 26 weeks. A MOTHER is battling incurable cancer after her symptoms were dismissed as signs of pregnancy. Samantha Beaven, 28, went into premature labour at just 26 weeks and it was only then that doctors found she had cervical lesions. She barely had time to come to terms with the news when her 2lb 2oz daughter Daisy was born 14 weeks early and battling for life. Both mum and daughter were treated in the same hospital but while Daisy is now thriving, Samantha has been told her cancer is now terminal after it spread. In May she was given 12 – 18 months to live. But she has vowed to fight the illness for as long as possible for the sake of Daisy and her older daughter Bracken, six. She has also married the girls father Alex and is determined to give her family their best Christmas ever knowing it may also be their last together. Mrs Beaven said: ‘I have promised them I will be here for them for as long as I can. There are times when I feel overwhelmed and scared and then I look at them and I know I have to stay strong. ‘Daisy fought so hard to live after being born so early that I owe her and Bracken the same. ‘I want to make this Christmas so special for them. I hope to create some special memories for us all.’ She is currently funding alternative treatments with donations from well wishers to extend her time with her girls. She said: ‘Every day it buys me with them is worth it and I am extremely grateful to the people who have fundraised to help give me that precocious time. ‘I just want to make enough memories for my girls to last them a lifetime.’ She hopes sharing her story will raise awareness of cervical cancer, especially in pregnant women. ‘People need to know pregnant women can get cervical cancer too. The signs were all there but dismissed as pregnancy symptoms and I’m afraid that has cost me my life.’ Mrs Beaven, a primary school teaching assistant from Brighton, had suffered severe bleeding and cramping from the start of her pregnancy. But tests had failed to detect the true cause. Mrs Beaven said: ‘ I felt strongly that something was very wrong. I’d never experienced anything like it with my first pregnancy. ‘I must have gone to hospital bleeding at least ten times only to be told nothing was wrong. ‘But eventually I had to take the doctors and midwives at their word and trust that things were OK.’ But fearing she was contracting 26 weeks into her pregnancy in October last year Mrs Beaven went to hospital. At the Royal Sussex County Hospital a midwife examined her cervix for the first time. She confirmed that at just 26 weeks Mrs Beaven was 2cm dilated but also revealed she had seen a lesion that was causing the bleeding. Mrs Beaven said: ‘ Initially I felt relieved to finally have an answer and assurance that my baby was not in danger.’ But it was only when doctors said they needed to perform a biopsy on the 7cm mass that it hit home that she was the one in danger. Meanwhile steroid injections were administered to help her baby’s lungs develop in preparation for birth. Mrs Beaven recalls the moment 48 hours later that she learned she had cancer. She said: ‘When the specialist came to my bedside and said he was an oncologist my heart sank to the pit of my stomach. ‘I knew what it meant. ‘When he said I had cervical cancer my hands went straight to my bump. I just kept saying to him ‘ but I’m about to have a baby.’ It became clear that all the symptoms she’d had, bleeding, discharge, back pain and stomach pain had slipped under the radar because they are associated with normal pregnancies too. Mrs Beaven said: ‘ Of course I was shocked and disappointed that it hadn’t been picked up earlier but there wasn’t time for ifs and buts because I needed to focus on my unborn baby.’ Medics agreed they needed to keep the baby, a girl they had named Daisy, inside to give her a fighting chance. They planned to deliver her by section at 30 weeks and perform a full hysterectomy to fight the cancer at the same time followed by treatment. Initially drugs to slow labour worked and Mrs Beaven was sent home to rest. But the following night her waters broke at home and because the baby was breech she was rushed into surgery on October 27th. She said: ‘ I came round and saw Alex was smiling. He told me Daisy had been born crying and nobody could believe she was already breathing on her own.’ But at just 2lbs 2oz the odds were stacked against her too and both lives hung in the balance. Mrs Beaven says: ‘ At first I was too scared to see her but Daisy was so strong I knew I had to be strong too. I couldn’t touch or hold her but she was so beautiful. Days later Mrs Beaven started chemotherapy and radiotherapy while Daisy continued to make good progress. They were treated in different wards at the same hospital. But at five weeks old Daisy contacted necrotizing enterocolitis, a bowel condition common and life threatening in premature babies. At seven weeks old she needed surgery to remove a 10cm portion of bowel. Still only weighing 3lbs staff warned it was touch and go. But to their relief and joy she pulled through and Mrs Beaven drew on her tiny daughter’s strength to fight her own battle. She said: ‘ I felt overwhelmed and exhausted and at times utter disbelief that this was happening to us but I just needed to think of her and my family to keep going.’ Three months after she was born Daisy was finally discharged in January this year and weeks later there was more good news when Mrs Beaven was told her treatment had been a success. Scans had shown there was no longer any sign of cancer in her cervix. She remembers sobbing with relief. ‘ Since Daisy had been born we had taken life one day at a time, but finally it felt like we could think about the future. ‘It was like we’d both had death sentences lifted.’ But their joy was short lived when weeks later in May this year Mrs Beaven developed a nasty cough that wouldn’t shift. On her fourth visit to the GP a scan was arranged that confirmed her worst fear. The cancer had spread to her lungs and was terminal. She was given 12 to 18 months to live. ‘It was like the rug had been pulled from beneath us all over again. I was in shock. I cried for two weeks solidly. I just couldn’t believe that after all that I was going to be taken from them anyway.’ But after starting the heartbreaking task of making memory boxes and filming videos to be shown to her daughters when they were older, Mrs Beaven instead decided to put her energy into something positive and told family she wanted to get married. The couple had been engaged for three years and Mr Beaven planned their wedding in just two weeks. Their daughters were bridesmaids and shortly after Mrs Beaven started a course of chemotherapy to try and extend her life. She also researched alternative therapies to boost her health allow her to make the most of the time she has left. She is currently funding the treatment which she credits with keeping her strong thanks to fundraising and donations from well wishers. ‘Thanks to them I can go on being mum and try to enjoy as much time as possible with my beautiful girls. ‘From what doctors have told me this could be my last Christmas with them so I want to make it the best ever.’ To help support Mrs Beaven please visit www.kapipal.com/fightforlifeandliving http://www.kapipal.com/fightforlifeandliving
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