Stacey Broadmeadow from Greater Manchester feared she would never have a child after her diagnosis – but with expert care, she became a mother. “He is an absolute miracle,” she said. “Every time I look at him, I just think how lucky I am.”
A woman who gave birth after having her ovaries removed to save her life and beat an exceptionally rare form of cancer has described her newborn as a “miracle” baby.
Stacey Broadmeadow, from Stockport, was diagnosed with pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP) in 2017, of which the chances are one in a million.
The 38-year-old – who will be five years cancer free in August – has managed to give birth to a biological son, Harry, after freezing her eggs between surgeries.
Baby Harry was born against all odds, as only two of her embryos were viable for IVF treatment. Her first attempt ended in miscarriage and the egg that created him was her last hope.
“He’s actually a life-saver as well because, without my desire to have him, I probably wouldn’t be here. So, he’s very special,” she said.
“He’s totally turned my world upside down. Definitely, life is now for living.”
Ms Broadmeadow began feeling sharp pain near her appendix in 2017. Soon after, she started spotting between her periods.
She contacted her GP, who ruled out pregnancy and scheduled her for an ultrasound. This led to further tests including an MRI and CT scan, when doctors spotted fluid in her womb.
Ms Broadmeadow was referred to the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester – the largest and most advanced cancer treatment centre in Europe.
After an assessment, her oncologist told her they suspected she had PMP and that she may lose her ovaries.
“I was devastated, absolutely devastated,” she said.
“I literally just thought, ‘Well, that’s it. I’m never going to be a mum. I’m never going to have the dream that I’ve always wanted’.”
A battle for survival
Ms Broadmeadow underwent initial surgery but was told she would also need a second operation.
This would take eight hours and remove her spleen, gallbladder, layers of tissue, fallopian tubes and both ovaries.
It was followed by heated chemotherapy (HIPEC) put directly into the abdomen, to kill any remaining tumour cells.
Luckily, she was able to get support with IVF.
“I was very fortunate that in between the two operations, I was able to have my eggs harvested on the NHS,” she said. “I managed to get 17 eggs, which I’m very, very grateful for.”
‘He is an absolute miracle’
In 2021, the process of creating baby Harry began.
From the 17 eggs harvested, only eight were usable after being defrosted. From those eight, only two eggs were able to be fertilised – meaning Stacey had just two embryos.
Tragically, the first attempt ended in miscarriage.
“I kind of thought the dream was over, and I was never going to have a baby, but I thought ‘well, I’ve got one last chance, I’ll give it a go’,” she said.
“They told me that it wasn’t the most viable embryo but they put him in the freezer anyway.”
Against all expectations, she fell pregnant and Harry was born last November.
“He is an absolute miracle,” she said. “Every time I look at him, I just think how lucky I am.