Woman gives birth to miracle baby after doctors said cancer would stop her conceiving
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Featured Image Credit: Jam Press
Rhianna McKenna, 28, was diagnosed with aggressive acute promyelocytic leukaemia in May 2020, just days after starting treatment for suspected tonsillitis, which turned out to be symptoms of cancer.
The nursery worker from Kent was told that, because of the devastating diagnosis, she would likely never be a mum.
"My heart broke instantly,” Rhianna recalled, speaking to NeedToKnow.online.
“I remember feeling scared and alone and my biggest fear was dying and leaving behind my partner and family.
“I also feared that I would never regain any eyesight and would be blind.
"I became angry at the world. Why me? Why us? I hated the word cancer and I couldn’t believe this was happening to me.
"I always knew that having chemotherapy could potentially affect our chances of having a child but when we were hit with the reality of it, our hearts broke."
Rhianna and her husband Aidan, 27, had desperately hoped to become parents, but it all looked bleak for the couple.
Alongside the heartbreak, Rhianna was suffering from the 'huge toll' that chemotherapy took on her body.
"Of course I had heard about cancer and how awful it is but never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that it would be me suffering with it", she said.
"It took a huge toll on my physical health also, I had to get help to do the simplest of things like going to the toilet, walking a few steps or getting dressed."
Unfortunately, given her circumstances, it was essential that Rhianna started chemotherapy straight away, meaning that she didn't have time to freeze her eggs.
Rhianna eventually completed treatment on her 27th birthday in January 2021, and was declared cancer-free.
With treatment behind her, she was finally able to focus on her recovery but most importantly, she was able to try for a baby.
Despite seriously low odds, Rhianna learned she was pregnant just 10 months later.
"Aidan and I pretty much started trying straight away, we thought we had nothing to lose.
"I became obsessed with tracking my ovulation and was taking a pregnancy test every day, praying for the two lines to come up."
She continued: "Lo and behold, eight weeks later we found out we were three weeks pregnant and we hadn’t even been trying!"
On 8th July, the couple welcomed their baby daughter, Olivia.
Rhianna raved: "When Olivia was born I was so overwhelmed but also full of love. The moment I looked at her I had never felt a love like it. She was so perfect.
"She was taken to special care the day after being born as she had jaundice and had to be in an incubator under the phototherapy lights.
"It was one of the hardest times of our lives – harder than fighting cancer – we felt so helpless.
"She spent two days there and then was allowed back into the ward with us and we could enjoy being a family properly.
"Olivia is now eight weeks old and is the most happiest, content little girl. "I’ve always looked for a reason as to why these things happen to people and I can’t help that think if my life had gone any differently, we may not have had our beautiful baby girl."