Georgia woman faces chemotherapy during pregnancy

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Hannah Davis is a proud new mama.

"She's so pretty," the 27-year-old Paulding County mother of two says, cradling 8-day old Aubrey in her lap.  "She's just amazing, she's a beautiful little baby."

And the way Davis sees it, the baby saved her life.

Davis says, if she hadn't been pregnant, she never would have gone to the doctor back in January,

when she felt a lump in her neck.

"It just kept getting bigger and bigger," Davis says.

Her OB sent Davis to WellStar Kennestone Hospital for testing. 

Within days, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

She was 18-weeks pregnant.

"I remember just praying and praying and praying," Davis says. "I have a 4-year old I have to raise; I can't leave him. And, I have an unborn child inside me, and that was a huge, a huge deal."

It wasn't safe for Davis to undergo PET scan, to determine the stage her cancer.

But within a week, the mass doubled in size.

"They were, like, 'We have to get on it right now,'" she says.

That week, Davis underwent back to back surgeries, to remove the mass and put in a port in her chest.

This, after WellStar Medical Oncologist Dr. Carmen Klass broke the news to Davis she would need chemotherapy.

"This is a highly curable disease," Dr. Klass says.  "If I don't treat her, she will die, and the baby will die, too.  So, you don't have much time.  At the time Hannah was diagnosed, she couldn't swallow."

But at that first meeting, Hannah was calm.

"She didn't freak out," Dr. Klass remembers. "She didn't cry.  She said, 'What do I need to do to have my baby and to be okay?'"

Soon, Davis was undergoing her first of 12 infusions.

"A lot people thought, 'You can't have chemo, isn't it going to hurt your baby," she says.  "But, don't I want to live to take care of my baby?"

Because Davis had just entered her second trimester, the critical point at which the baby's organs have formed, Dr. Klass felt it was safe for her and the baby to begin chemotherapy.

"But, you're still very nervous," Klass says.  "That is just the human in us all. Nobody wants to treat a pregnant woman."

Each treatment day, Davis posed for a photo, tracking her infusions the way many pregnant women track their growing bellies.

"The amount of anxiety that I had was a huge deal," she says.  "They pump this "red devil," into you, and it's so scary, just watching that."

A high-risk perinatal team tracked Aubrey's development each week. 

"I could feel her throughout the whole infusion," Davis says.  "I had 4 different chemo meds given within hours. So, it made her move a ton, with all the fluids and stuff."

 Then, on July 1, 2019, Aubrey was born.

"I was very, very nervous that something was going to go wrong," her mom remembers.  "That cry, I just knew that everything was okay, and God was watching over me."

Hannah held her baby against the warmth of her skin, then passed her to her husband Michael.

"I think we all had this big sigh of relief," she says.  "He couldn't wait to get his hands on her."

The baby, who fought this battle with Hannah Davis, is not just okay, she says, she's perfect.

"I can finish this fight by myself, with her healthy and living," Davis says. "It's huge, a huge deal."

Davis is scheduled to undergo 3 more rounds of chemotherapy.

Then, she will have a PET scan to determine how well the treatment is working.