The baby that saved my life

Published: November 7, 2005 | 2627th good news item since 2003

CANCER sufferer Hayley Newbery gazes tenderly at the miracle baby daughter she owes her life to – after finally being allowed to take her home.

Hayley’s disease was spotted only because she fell ill while pregnant.

Daughter Lucy was delivered early at 29 weeks so her mum, 25, could start treatment.

And after the six-week infant was discharged from hospital last week, Hayley beamed: “She’s so special – she really is my miracle baby.

“She saved my life. Without her I would still not have known I have cancer.”

Hayley begins a three-month course of wonder drug Avastin tomorrow after the Daily Mirror last month exclusively revealed her battle to become the first NHS patient to receive it.

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The mum-of-three was diagnosed with bowel cancer when 17 weeks pregnant, which later spread to her liver. But she rejected the chance of an abortion that would have let her start treatment right away. Hayley, of Melbourn, Herts, said: “There was never any question of that in my mind. By simply being there Lucy gave me a chance to live, so I had to give her the same chance.”

Doctors at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge decided a caesarean at 30 weeks would be best for mum and baby. It was brought forward by a week after Hayley’s mum Vicky died and she felt she could not handle the wait.

Hayley added: “I had waited for nearly 12 weeks and if Lucy had passed away I couldn’t have lived with the guilt. I sobbed from the moment I was on the operating table until I heard her cry. Then I knew she’d be all right.” But doctors found Hayley’s cancer could not be operated on and warned she would die within two years without Avastin, which shrinks tumours.

It had not yet been passed for NHS use and private treatment would have cost £48,000. But just over two weeks ago NHS chiefs relented.

Hayley has already been fitted with a wig because the drug will make her hair fall out. She said: “I don’t want people to be able to tell – I don’t want them to look at me with pity. I thought about wearing a scarf but I looked awful.”

Lucy, just 3lbs at birth but now a healthier 5lbs, was allowed home on Thursday to join her father Christian, sister Megan, four, and 22-month-old brother James.

Hayley added: “I’m so happy now we’re all together.

“I feel like all my Christmases have come at once.”

Published in Life, Motherhood, Premature Babies, Science & Technology
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