A north-east woman who was forced to terminate a pregnancy after she developed a rare form of cancer has spoken of her joy after overcoming the odds to give birth to a “whirlwind” baby boy.
Debbie Robb, from Chapelton, was at her 12-week scan when she was given the devastating news that she had a molar pregnancy – where a lump of abnormal cells grows in the womb instead of a healthy foetus.
The condition led to the 39-year-old developing a rare form of cancer called gestational trophoblastic neoplasia.
Diagnosed in early 2016, she began chemotherapy on her 37th birthday, 540 miles away in London at Charing Cross Hospital – the only place she could receive treatment due to the rarity of the condition.
She said: “I was told that with the molar pregnancy there was a 1% chance of it turning into gestational trophoblastic neoplasia and I happened to be in that 1%.
“At the time when you are going through the chemotherapy you just end up getting your head down and trying to get on with it.”
When given the all-clear in September 2016, she was told she only had a slim chance of being able to conceive again.
But Debbie and her husband Ian overcame the odds and had baby James in December 2017.
“I wasn’t worried about possibly not being able to get pregnant again because at the hospital in London they had these books that show people who have gone through the same thing and had children,” she added.
“When I was pregnant with James, I was delighted to be pregnant, but I didn’t enjoy it at all.
“I was always worried about him and any lack of movement.
“I was taken for an early eight-week scan to check everything was all right.
“I got booked in for a section as there were risks for a natural birth and I just wanted to make sure James would be fine.
“When he was born it was such a crazy day. He is a whirlwind baby – he was walking by 10 months and just shoots off.”
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And the lively baby is one of the 57 little ones and their families who have taken part in the Music Hall Babies project.
As part of the venue’s £8.7 million transformation, Aberdeen Performing Arts invited youngsters born in the north-east in December 2017 to take part in a special programme of arts activities in their first year.
It includes monthly creative workshops in music, dance, drama and visual arts.
Debbie said: “James has loved it. It was originally my brother-in-law who had told me they were looking for people on social media.
“James just loves the music and there has been a lot of different activities like with sensory rooms that he’s really enjoyed.”
Debbie said the family was going to the Stepping In event this weekend which marks the reopening of the iconic venue.
It is a far cry from a couple of years ago when she had to get treatment in London.
Debbie still posts regular samples to Charing Cross Hospital where they still monitor her.
She is also a member of forums where women help each other and share their experiences since so little is known about the diagnosis, which is caused by an imbalance of genetic material in a pregnancy.
The Music Hall will reopen with a programme of events, including a special performance for the Music Hall babies, on Saturday.