It’s a decision no mother-to-be should have to make – save your own life or that of your unborn baby.
Just two days after finding out she had chronic myeloid leukaemia – a life-threatening cancer of the white blood cells in 2016, journalist Elle Halliwell also discovered that she was pregnant.
‘I mean, I guess having to tell your family that first you have leukaemia and then you have a pregnancy to complicate things further was – it was really hard,’ the Sydney journalist told the Today show.
‘For me it was really sad because I didn’t know what was going to happen. A few weeks later you know after seeing specialists and stuff we had to kind of sit down and decide what we were going to do.’
Elle Halliwell (pictured) spoke candidly about the unthinkable dilemma that saw her put her now one-year-old son Tori’s life before hers after she was diagnosed with cancer
Elle and her husband Nick were told by doctors her best option was to end the pregnancy and to start treatment immediately.
‘They suggested that I terminate the baby,’ she told the program.
‘Or I could continue with the pregnancy and just wait until I had Tori until I had my baby to start this new life saving drug that had only just come on the market a few years beforehand which had a great outcome for people that went on it quickly after being diagnosed,’ she said.
Against all odds, the mother gave birth to her bundle of joy after refusing chemotherapy
Just two days before she was diagnosed with cancer, the mother discovered she was pregnant (pictured now with her baby son Tori)
‘So, the fact I was going to have to wait nine months meant they didn’t know whether the cancer was going to progress quickly which could put my life at risk or whether I was going to be able to go through the whole pregnancy and save my life and also keep him,’ she added.
‘So, I took that risk. And you know eight months later this little guy came into the world.
‘The moment I thought about the tiny embryo, this seed of hope germinating in my womb, the idea of losing it was inconceivable,’ she said she said in an extract of her book A Mother’s Choice, published in Stellar magazine.
Elle and her husband Nick were told that they should terminate their pregnancy
Taking a turn for the worse, Elle was told by doctors that if she delayed her treatment for a few months, the cancer could become acute if left untreated.
She understood declining treatment was risking leaving her baby son without a mother.
But Elle said she found the strength to hold onto the glimmer of hope by undergoing an alternative treatment to ensure the safety of her unborn baby.
Elle shared her anguish after she was forced to choose between her life and her unborn baby
‘It had given me a reason to live – a tiny beacon of light flashing in a sea of blackness, urging me to stay afloat and find a safe harbour, ‘ she said.
Against all odds, she welcomed her baby son in December 2016 before she embarked on her chemotherapy treatment.
Astonishingly, her life now is a far cry from the turbulent journey she endured in 2016.
Happy family! Despite the turbulent journey, the proud parents welcomed their baby son