Grace Baker-Padden thought she was going to become a mother. But ahead of her 12-week scan, the doctor told her devastating news that changed everything.
23-year old Grace, who hails from Willington, County Durham, was surprised when her pregnancy test came back positive since she’d been on the pill. The young woman had been vomiting every day for weeks, so she went to her family doctor. After four tests, the doctor told her she was pregnant and was suffering from morning sickness, The Sun reports.
It truly seemed like Grace was pregnant. The publication explains her stomach began to bloat “very mildly,” which she thought was the start of a baby bump. But when Grace began to spot around the 10-weeks mark last February, however, she thought she was miscarrying.
Grace and her boyfriend, 28-year old Joe Cowling, rushed to the University Hospital of North Durham. While there, a scan couldn’t locate a baby, leading doctors to conclude that this was anything short of a normal pregnancy. Rather, what Grace had was a molar pregnancy- aka. gestational trophoblastic disease.
"From planning this exciting new future as a family to suddenly no baby and my health at risk was awful,” Grace later told the media. “I just wanted the horrible mass out of me immediately.”
According to the American Pregnancy Association, molar pregnancies occur from an error during the fertilization process, when the egg and sperm have difficulty joining each other. It leads to a growth or mass of abnormal tissue in the uterus, which can be life-threatening for the woman. They almost never involve an actual developing embryo. Molar pregnancies are rare, however, occurring in approximately 1 in 1,000 pregnancies.
Unfortunately, some molar pregnancies (an estimated one percent of them) can become cancerous. Grace had to begin taking chemotherapy medication to regulate her hormones. In September, the young woman was admitted back into the hospital for further testing to check her condition. By late December, she was given the all-clear, though she continued chemo treatment to be on the safe side.
As of now, Grace is happy and healthy. She and Joe would love to have a baby in the future, though she’s been advised to wait until at least a year following her treatment, so her hormones can stabilize. The couple has gotten involved in cancer advocacy, however, and want to make a difference in individuals facing similar health challenges.