A woman has given birth after discovering she has an inoperable brain tumour when she was 20 weeks' pregnant.
Laura Mahon, 29, has been given two years to live but says she is fighting to stay strong for her family – including her new arrival.
Mahon, from St. Helens, Merseyside, began struggling to walk at the 20-week mark and was unable to move her right leg or her toes.
Following an MRI scan, she was told she had been diagnosed with a brain tumour and at 27 weeks pregnant' her condition began to deteriorate.
The mum-to-be and her partner Danny made the difficult choice to undergo a planned caesarean at 30 weeks.
On November 30 2021, their baby girl Sienna Grace Laura Mahon was born – weighing just 3.4lbs.
“It was such a shock, I’m only 29 and didn’t think something like this could happen to me," she says.
"I was so focused on the baby, but I was getting more poorly. I’m fighting as hard as I can and I’m staying strong for my family.”
The expectant mum first realised something was wrong when she woke up and discovered she couldn’t move her toes.
She was sent for an MRI scan by her GP who thought her baby could be pressing against a nerve, but when the scan came back clear on her back, she was sent for another scan, this time on her brain.
It was then that she was given the harrowing news of her brain tumour – due to her pregnancy, doctors explained to her that she was a unique case and they wanted to monitor her before deciding what to do.
However, at 27 weeks Laura became unwell and the couple made the decision to have a C-section birth at 30 weeks, after which Sienna was taken to the neonatal ward where she was placed in an incubator.
In another tragic turn, their daughter then developed a collapsed lung and was transferred to Royal Oldham Hospital for specialised care.
Just a few days later, on December 9, Mahon had another MRI scan which revealed the tumour had nearly doubled in size and due to its location on her motor cortex, the tumour was classed as inoperable as it wouldn’t be safe to remove it.
On December 22, she received the results of her biopsy and discovered the tumour was in fact a stage four brain cancer – and she had just two years to live.
Following the bombshell, the mum decided there were still certain things she wanted to do, including marrying Danny, and on January 6 2022 the couple tied the knot despite Mahon experiencing her first seizure just two days before.
The day after the wedding, the couple registered Sienna’s birth which was swiftly followed by her christening on January 8 at the Warrington Hospital chapel, where staff organised a party with food and presents – and the following week Laura started a six-week chemotherapy and radiotherapy course.
Incredibly, at the start of April, an MRI scan showed that the tumour had stabilised and even shrunk, and now Mahon and her family are working to make new memories and stay positive.
“Danny and I had prepared ourselves for the worst – we knew deep down what it was going to be but being told at 29 years old that you have inoperable stage four brain cancer and that I had just two years to live is something you can never prepare yourself for," says Mahon.
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“Hearing that said out loud was a moment we’ll never forget – they were only able to remove around 20% of it.
“I was devastated because I’d got my hopes up. It was yet another setback, bad news on top of bad news.
“It felt so surreal, like I was living two separate lives – things all looked fine, like we were a happy family, then I would remember how poorly I am.
“But it’s so special having Sienna with us, it’s like what we had originally envisaged.
“Right now, we’re trying to get out and do nice things to make memories together, but I need to take each day as it comes – it’s hard at times and I just break down and cry, but Sienna’s lung has repaired itself and she is completely fine now.”
Matthew Price, community development manager at Brain Tumour Research, says: “We’re really grateful to Laura for working with us as it’s only with the support of people like her that we’re able to progress our research into brain tumours and improve the outcome for patients who are forced to fight this awful disease.
“Unlike many other cancers, brain tumours are indiscriminate – they can affect anyone at any time.
“Too little is known about the causes and that is why increased investment in research is vital.”
Additional reporting SWNS