Pregnant Mom With Brain Cancer Is Making the Ultimate Sacrifice to Save Her Baby's Life

baby feetEvery mom wants to know that she'll live a long and healthy life so she'll always be around to take care of her kids. When Kim Vaillancourt found out she was suffering from an aggressive form of rare brain cancer while pregnant, the news came as an unimaginable blow. Even worse was that the diagnosis came with an incredibly difficult choice: start treatment right away -- and risk the life and health of her unborn baby -- or delay chemo and risk her own life and health.

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Kim, a mother of two tweens who recently adopted three more girls she and her husband Phil were fostering, chose in favor of her unborn son (who will be named Wyatt Eli). 

"The baby saved me. Now it's my turn to save him," she told the Associated Press.

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Kim says she probably wouldn't even have gone to the doctor for the headaches and nausea that started over Christmastime (as any mom who's ever had a houseful of kids to deal with during a holiday break from school can understand!). But she couldn't keep any food down, and she was worried about how that might affect her baby, so she decided to get checked out. That's when doctors found two life-threatening tumors, which they operated on immediately.

Unfortunately, surgery wasn't enough. Kim's prognosis was still a scary one: Apparently, even with treatment, patients with the type of glioblastoma Kim is suffering from have a median survival rate of around 14 months. Fourteen months! Just a little over a year, with chemo and radiation! And treatment could seriously harm little Wyatt. So Kim and Phil made the decision to delay taking any measures until two weeks after his birth, which should be somewhere around April 25. 

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As a mom, I completely understand why Kim wants to put her baby's life first -- even if it breaks my heart to think about. After all, even with treatment, doctors say her time is limited, whereas her baby has his whole life ahead of him. It's always a mother's first priority to make sure that her children are healthy and safe. I just can't imagine being faced with a decision like this, particularly with other children to factor into the equation.

It just seems so unfair, but then, cancer is anything but fair. And what about Kim and Phil's other children -- including their three newly adopted daughters? Is Kim's decision fair to them? Considering that putting their little brother's life at risk would only potentially buy their mom another year, it actually seems like the most fair decision for all parties concerned. 

Knowing that Wyatt might have to grow up without his mom is terribly, terribly sad, but he'll always know how deeply loved he was, and how much his parents valued his life. And of course, there's always the chance, however slim, that Kim will recover.

As Phil said, "We definitely believe in miracles."

If there's one thing we can learn from stories like this one, it's to appreciate literally every day we have with our kids -- even the hard ones. I know that I personally get frustrated and discouraged as a mom on a daily basis, but I also know that even the most frustrating and discouraging moments are a gift, and none of them should be taken for granted. Unfortunately, we're only human ... but miracles do happen. Let's all hope and pray that this family gets the miracle they deserve!

 

Image via Scott Sherrill-Mix/Flickr

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