Mum Tasha Trafford, who has cancer, celebrates the birth of her first baby… story in the DAILY MAIL…
A baby born at Christmas is always special…
But for first-time mother Tasha Trafford, son Cooper is the greatest gift of all – for he is the child she feared she’d never have.
A few months ago I placed Tasha’s story in the Mail on Sunday where she told how has a rare form of bone cancer. Millions of viewers also saw Tasha on ITV’s Good Morning Britain when she described how she was given the choice of terminating her pregnancy to save her own life.
But Mrs Trafford, 33, an A and E nurse bravely refused. Worried about the risk of chemo to her unborn son, for the first seven months of her pregnancy she even refused life-saving chemo.
Cradling Cooper who was born weighing a healthy 6Ib 3oz, the overjoyed mum’s story now appears in the Daily Mail. She says: ‘Being a mum is the best feeling in the world.
‘I know by refusing treatment so I could have Cooper, I might have taken a risk with my own life.
‘But as soon as I saw him I knew I’d made the right decision. I longed to be a mum and whatever happens now I have no regrets.’
Mrs Trafford first fell ill with back pain, which she thought was a pulled muscle, in November 2012 as she planned her wedding to Jon, 34, a custody officer.
However, after taking up Pilates and swimming her back pain got better.
But following an idyllic beach marriage ceremony in Koh Samui, Thailand, the back pain returned with a vengeance.
She recalls: ‘Jon and I hoped to try for a family straightaway – we ideally wanted two or three children – but some days I was in so much pain I was lying on the floor in agony.’
A scan revealed Mrs Trafford, from Swansea, had a rare type of bone cancer known as extra-skeletal Ewings Sarcomas. It is so rare that only 40 cases are diagnosed in the UK each year and it usually affects adolescents, not adults.
The cancer was so aggressive it had fractured her back.
She said: ‘The diagnosis was a bombshell as there is no history of cancer in my family. When doctors told Jon and I there was only a ten per cent chance I would survive for five years, we were just devastated.
‘Worst the treatment I needed – intense chemo and radiotherapy – would leave me unable to have children.’
A fortnight later Mrs Trafford underwent surgery to repair her broken back.
It was as she recovered from the operation – and while waiting for chemo – that the couple chose to freeze their embryos.
‘We had only a three week window between the surgery and treatment to freeze embryos to take drugs to help me ovulate,’ she says, ‘ so we were overjoyed when after being fertilised with Jon’s sperm, we got three embryos.’
The embryos were frozen while over the following year Tasha underwent chemo and radiotherapy.
‘When I lost my hair and could only lie in bed, it was becoming a mum that got me through,’ she says.
Finally in August 2014 a scan revealed no signs of active cancer and Mrs Trafford returned to work.
She recalls: ‘Doctors said while they could not guarantee the cancer would return, I should simply live life as normal. I still longed for a baby and couldn’t imagine a life where I never had a child.
‘I so wanted to hold my own baby in my arms and I knew that even if the worse happened, I would die knowing I had left a little part of me for Jon.
‘We have very supportive families and I knew Jon, who is my rock, would be a brilliant dad.’
In April 2015 one of the embryos was placed into her uterus. ‘Jon and I felt so lucky when I got pregnant first time.’
But at ten weeks she woke with a pain in her right shoulder. ‘I tried telling myself it was where I’d slept awkwardly but I went to work that day feeling sick with worry.
‘Unfortunately, because of possible health risks to the baby, I couldn’t have an MRI scan until I was 16 weeks.
‘But it was then I got the news I dreaded that the cancer was back.’
She adds: ‘Doctors said I could have a termination so I could immediately start treatment. But that was unthinkable. It was a terrible time because Jon imagined he might lose both me and the baby.’
Mrs Trafford continued to refuse treatment until 31 weeks of pregnancy by which time she was in such agony with her arm.
‘Doctors said this late in pregnancy it was safe to use a couple of chemotherapy drugs and they only used the smallest amount. But more intensive chemo had to be abandoned for the safety of the baby.’
Finally on December 3rd she gave birth by C-section to Cooper.
Mrs Trafford, who is due to begin more chemo in the New Year, says: ‘I immediately counted all his fingers and toes. He is perfect and has already brought us so much joy.
‘I don’t know what the future holds. But I know I made the right decision to have Cooper. He is our world and we couldn’t imagine any life without him.’
Tasha’s story has already been placed with one of Britain’s best loved magazines – which will be following Tasha up for an update…
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