A 23-year-old British girl who thought she was pregnant was shocked to learn that she had been carrying a cancerous mass instead, the Mirror reports.
Two years ago, Grace Baker-Padden, of Willington, County Durham, and her 28-year-old partner Joe Cowling were surprised when she appeared to be pregnant because she had been taking birth control pills. After taking four pregnancy tests, Baker-Padden visited a doctor, who purportedly confirmed it.
"We decided to proceed with the pregnancy," the 23-year-old said, upon receiving the news. "We were so happy and excited. Our parents couldn’t wait to be first-time grandparents."
Soon, Baker-Padden began allegedly vomiting everyday, which she dismissed as morning sickness at first. She also experienced "very mild" swelling in her belly, which she attributed to her pregnancy.
Around the eighth and tenth weeks of her pregnancy, however, Baker-Padden said she noticed blood and immediately went to the doctor in fear that she was about to suffer a miscarriage. In February 2018, the woman received a scan, which she and Cowling noticed was off.
"There was no baby shape – it looked like a bunch of grapes," Cowling told the Mirror. "The midwife said it looked like a 'molar pregnancy,' and went to find a doctor."
The couple did a quick search on the gestational trophoblastic disease, which is characterized by an abnormal growth of the cells that normally develop into the placenta, and "began to panic," Cowling said. A doctor later confirmed that Baker-Padden was, in fact, suffering from a rare complication that affects just one out of every 590 pregnancies in the United Kingdom.
"We'd gone from expecting a baby to having the C-word thrown about," Baker-Padden recalled. "We were both really upset."
Though most molar pregnancies are benign, the mass that the 23-year-old carried turned out to be malignant. Doctors eventually removed it two days later, according to the Mirror.
Baker-Padden subsequently spent the next six months taking a chemotherapy medication to control her hormone levels, which had soared as a result of the disease, before undergoing further rounds of chemotherapy last fall.
"It made me weak and exhausted," she said of the treatment. "My hair thinned, although, fortunately, I never lost it."
Two days after Christmas, Baker-Padden was finally cleared by her doctors, but she continued to receive precautionary treatment until January.
"The relief was incredible," she said. "We just wanted to be normal again and planned a holiday to celebrate."
While Baker-Padden and Cowling still plan to have a baby in the near future, she has reportedly been told to wait a year for her hormones to settle. Doctors have also warned her that there is a 15 percent chance that she might experience a molar pregnancy again.
"It's all been very hard, but we're so relieved Grace is okay," Cowling said.