The mother of a miracle baby who was born with a rare cancer had to make a heartbreaking decision to keep her tiny newborn alive.
Penrith mother-of-two Natasha Lucas knew something was wrong when she felt her 36-week old go ‘silent’ inside her on a warm November day last year.
The worried young mum endured a battery of tests that all came back negative, but her gut instinct made her demand an emergency C-section.
Little Ashton was born at the Nepean Hospital in Penrith in Sydney’s west on November 17, a day Natasha and her husband Nathan will never forget.
The infant entered the world swollen and covered in bruises, quickly prompting sympathetic looks from doctors and nurses attending the delivery.
‘I couldn’t see out of the curtain. But one thing I knew… it was quiet. Very quiet. Ashton hadn’t cried,’ Natasha told 7Life.
The little boy’s father cut his umbilical cord as doctors assured the Sydney parents their son just needed additional oxygen.
However, tests revealed the little boy was riddled with cancerous tumours, later to be diagnosed with congenital acute myeloid leukaemia.
The rare disease only affects one in five million babies and can be treated with chemotherapy, an impossible decision left in the hands of Ashton’s parents.
Natasha said when she first laid eyes on her second-born son he was bruised and swaddled with tubes in the neonatal intensive care unit.
She and her husband were in disbelief their precious baby could be suffering from such an aggressive disease and struggled to decide his fate.
Doctors told them newborns rarely survive the first round of chemotherapy due to toxicity poisoning, leaving the young parents reeling.
‘The doctors gave us two options. One, you don’t treat him with chemotherapy and he will die or two, you treat him with chemotherapy and there is the possibility he may die,’ Natasha said.
At just five days old Ashton was transferred to Westmead’s Children Hospital to start chemotherapy to treat the rare leukaemia.
His mother said she struggled to be close to her baby during the treatments and even began to prepare for his funeral.
‘I didn’t want to get too attached to my son in case something did happen,’ she said.