SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (CBS) — For Jessica and Nathan Dykstra, a happy, healthy holiday was no guarantee.
Already parents of two young boys, te same day they learned a baby girl was on the way, they also heard words that changed everything.
“‘You have cancer…’ and it was just like, what?” Jessica recalled.
Hospital scans meant to rule out a pulminary embolism with Jessica’s pregnancy revealed a cancerous tumor growing on her left kidney.
Doctors said she needed surgery immediately but she feared it might harm her unborn child.
“I told Nate, ‘I just don’t feel right about this!'” Jessica said.
Their search for more information led to Dr. Georges-Pascal Haber, the first doctor to perform a similar surgery on a pregnant patient.
“It was a very difficult decision,” Dr. Haber said.
Together, they weighed the risks and decided to delay surgery until after baby “Hope” was born.
But there would be one more unexpected turn.
When Jessica went in to labor, Hope was in a hurry.
“I ran back in the house and about 30 seconds later, she was born right here,” Jessica said.
“Literally,” Nate added.
Nate delivered his daughter at home and five weeks later, they were on their way to the Cleveland Clinic, where Jessica underwent a partial nephrectomy.
Dr. Haber successfully removed the cancer and saved 80 percent of Jessica’s kidney.
“Her prognosis is excellent, given that the whole tumor was removed and this time there is no signs of having any cancer left inside,” Dr. Haber said.
This Christmas, they’re celebrating the gift of Hope and good health.