Stockton mum-to-be said her baby 'saved her life' after tumour was discovered at pregnancy scan

Megan McQuade from Ingleby Barwick had experienced "no symptoms whatsoever" when a sonographer noticed a "mass" on her bladder during the check-up. Credit: Gazette Media Company Syndication

A mum-to-be said her unborn baby "literally saved her life" after a tumour was discovered at a pregnancy scan.

Megan McQuade had experienced "no symptoms whatsoever" when a sonographer noticed a "mass" on her bladder during the check-up.

The 29-year-old, from Ingleby Barwick, Stockton, is now warning others to look after their health so they do not have to go through the same experience.

Megan McQuade is warning people to look after their health following her experience. Credit: Gazette Media Syndication

Ms McQuade, who works as a primary school teacher, said she had experienced some blood spotting early on in her pregnancy and had been told to go for a precautionary appointment at the hospital.

She said: "The sonographer picked up on a 'mass' and asked if I'd already had it looked at. I was terrified but in the same breath I thought it was just going to be something minor.

"Staff had explained that something as small as a UTI could show up on a scan, so I wasn't too worried."

Ms McQuade was given an emergency referral ten days later, just before Christmas.

A consultant sat her and partner Michael down and told them she could have cancer. "I was in complete and utter shock," Ms McQuade said.

"I'd been trying to keep a positive mindset, but it was possibly the worst news you could get. I remember being sat there still smiling and nodding, saying 'okay thank you'.

"I walked out of the room, my partner looked at me and said 'are you ok?' - and I just burst into tears."

Megan and Michael had planned to tell their family about the baby on Christmas day. Credit: Gazette Media Syndication

The couple had planned to tell their families about their baby news on Christmas Day.

She said: "We were excited to see their reactions, but we had the cancer looming over us. We knew there was still a risk of not having a baby.

"I had to have a camera, which in itself has a big risk of miscarriage. It was also explained that if treatment was needed, we would have to possibly terminate the pregnancy."

Ms McQuade said the tumour itself was so small, doctors managed to carry out a full removal at the same time as taking a biopsy. Then came an agonising two-week wait for the results.

"That was the hardest part," Ms McQuade said, "you are living in limbo, you don't know what to prepare for. You think 'do I try to be positive' and think of the best possible scenario, or do you try to be realistic and get yourself upset regardless.

"The day of the results was really hard , the nurse rang asked if I could come in at 9am instead of lunchtime. She actually got upset for me.

"All the nurses at North Tees have been so understanding and caring. It has been overwhelming - scary but I feel really thankful to have met such amazing people."

The couple are thankful of the support from family and friends throughout the ordeal. Credit: Gazette Media Syndication

If it "hadn't been for baby", Ms McQuade said, the cancer might never have been picked up until it was too late.

She added: "It might have got to a point where I developed symptoms, which can be things like more frequent UTIs, blood in urine, discomfort in your pelvis area. I've been very lucky.

"After the conversations I've had with nurses, it's such a common cancer but it's not really talked about. And it's easily treatable.

"It's made me more aware of looking after my health. Factors like smoking and working around chemicals can increase your risk - I don't do either of those.

"But it's things like not drinking enough water and not going to the toilet frequently enough, both of which I am mega, mega guilty of doing.

"Teaching is a hard profession so you think 'I'll just hold on for another 40 minutes' for the loo and before you know it it's 3pm. Now I put my health first. I don't want people to go through what I've gone through."

Megan McQuade and her sister Kate. Credit: Gazette Media Syndication

Ms McQuade will have continued monitoring after her baby is born in July and hopes she will be discharged after that.

She said she is grateful for the support from her family and friends throughout her ordeal.

She added: "This baby is already so, so loved. Michael has been brilliant, I couldn't have done it without him.

"My sister Kate has been a rock throughout this whole thing, she's like a best friend to me. When we found out the news, we instantly went buying baby clothes.

"We couldn't bring ourselves to before, if God forbid we had to take it back. It would have been too hard for us.

"Going shopping at Mamas and Papas was lovely. We are glad to have a bit of normality back in our lives, little things you would normally moan about, you find you have missed. We are just so excited."

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