CHICAGO (CBS) — A deadly, spreading cancer forced an expectant mother in Chicago to make a difficult choice.
Doctors ordered her to terminate her pregnancy and choosing to carry the child meant risking the baby’s life with powerful cancer drugs.
“She just wants to live. And so it’s really.It’s really hard,” said Michelle Jahnke.
Hard decisions for Michelle Jahnke about the survival of her unborn daughter. Just six weeks after she learned she was pregnant for the first time, the 30-year-old was diagnosed with stage three colorectal cancer.
“It was the most joyous moment of our lives.” said Jahnke. “There’s so many times when, if you sit there and focus on it, you don’t want to get out of bed. And I’ve had many many of those days.”
Jahnke says she went to five doctors for help. Doctor after doctor told her that she should terminate this child.
“I mean nightmares. Just balling. I couldn’t sleep,” said Jahnke.
12 weeks into her pregnancy, Jahnke found hope through University of Chicago rectal cancer specialist doctor Blase Polite.
“She was just so positive about this,” said Polite.
He decided her best option was powerful chemotherapy drugs.
“Had we started radiation then, the baby would have died. There was just no way for a baby to survive radiation to that area,” said Polite.
Every time she had a treatment, she apologized to her child.
“You don’t want to hurt her. So you know, I always said I’m sorry mommy’s got to do this,” said Jahnke.
At 37 weeks Jahnke and her husband will welcome their daughter into the world Friday. Her doctor says ultrasounds show a healthy-looking 6-pound baby and that the faith and strength of the mom-to-be made all the difference.
“I have a loving husband, a loving family, I have a daughter to take care of. I’m going to be around to do these things,” said Jahnke.