A new mum has praised her baby for ‘saving her life’ – after doctors removed fast-growing brain tumour before it was too late.
Abi Naylor, 28, was rushed to Macclesfield Hospital, Cheshire, a week after the arrival of her son Roman when she started suffering ‘excruciating’ migraines in October 2022.
After an CT scan, doctors broke the news to Abi and her husband, Ross, 28, that she had a large 7cm brain tumour, and needed emergency surgery at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester.
The shocked couple were told the tumour’s growth had ‘accelerated’ due to her pregnancy hormones and was close to causing permanent nerve damage.
If it was left any longer it may have become inoperable and caused ‘life-changing’ issues with her fine motor skill and facial muscles.
Luckily, doctors were able to remove the whole tumour and as it was found to be benign, Abi doesn’t need any further treatment.
The couple were overjoyed to welcome their son after tragically suffering a miscarriage in 2021 and delivering their first baby stillborn.
Abi, a workplace mentor, from Congleton, Cheshire, said: “We have no idea how long the tumour was there and growing for.
“Doctors think the hormones and stress of labour ended up accelerating the growth of the tumour.
“If it weren’t for being pregnant, it may have grown for longer and caused more damage.
“My little boy literally saved my life.”
When Abi and Ross’ wedding was postponed in June 2020 due to Covid-19, they decided to try for a baby.
After a few months, the couple were overjoyed to discover Abi was pregnant in 2021.
However, the 12-week scan revealed the baby’s brain had not developed properly.
Abi delivered their stillborn baby when she was 14 weeks along.
She said: “We were heartbroken and needed some time to heal before trying again.
“But we tried to enter the new year with a positive mindset.”
The couple were overjoyed to discover Abi had fallen pregnant again in February 2022.
They finally tied to the knot in July 2021, and planned a gender reveal on the big day, using blue balloons to tell loved ones they were expecting a boy.
Ross, a civil servant, said: “It was a very anxious time, but Abi was closely monitored throughout the pregnancy.
“The wedding and gender reveal was perfect – we hoped we’d left the difficult year behind us.”
Abi’s pregnancy had been going smoothly until she suddenly collapsed at 37 weeks along.
She was rushed to Macclesfield Hospital, Cheshire, but medics couldn’t find a cause.
She said: “Doctors are very reluctant to scan heavily pregnant women.
“It was left unexplained, but we thought it was just one of those freak things because I felt fine afterwards.”
Weeks later, when Abi was 39 weeks along, she went into labour at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, Great Manchester.
The couple welcomed their little boy Roman on October 11, 2022, weighing a healthy 7lbs 10oz.
Everything seemed fine, until Abi’s health took a turn a week later while at home.
She said: “I started feeling really dehydrated and was getting painful migraines.
“After a few days I could barely see or walk so Ross took me into A&E at Macclesfield Hospital.
“At first, doctors thought it was some reaction to the epidural I had during labour, but we pushed for more tests.”
A CT scan found a 7cm tumour and two days later, she was transferred Salford Royal Hospital for emergency brain surgery.
After a four-hour long surgery and an MRI scan, doctors managed to remove all traces of the mass.
Ross said: “Doctors couldn’t believe she had such an aggressive, fast-growing tumour for her age.
“They didn’t know if it was cancerous, or what they would find when they operated.
“It was a very scary time, especially just after the arrival of Roman.”
Despite not needing further treatment, the mum-of-one will continue going for check-up scans and is now enjoying time with Roman while recovering from surgery.
Abi said: “Looking back, I have had headaches on and off over the years but thought nothing of it.
“I always put them down to things like not drinking enough water, or my period.
“If anything doesn’t feel right, definitely go to a doctor and get it checked out.
Ross added said: “We pushed for scans so it’s important you don’t get fobbed off.
”I dread to think what would have happened if Roman hadn’t come along.
”He’s a little hero.
“She’s still on the road to recovery, but she’s doing amazingly well.”