Violeta Andrade’s first prenatal visit to the doctor last year revealed startling news. Not only did she learn that she was pregnant with twins, but blood testing showed that the 26-year-old California mom also had a form of blood cancer called chronic myelogenous leukemia. Despite the difficult diagnosis, Andrade was able to work closely with her care team and manage both her own health and the health of her preborn children. She eventually delivered her twins at 34 weeks, and while they spent some time in the NICU, her baby girls were both born healthy.
Right from the start, Andrade knew her pregnancy would be a challenging one. She had a high blood platelet count, which greatly increased her risk for clotting and other pregnancy complications including stroke, blindness, and heart failure. According to her doctor, Mojtabi Akhtari, Andrade’s preborn twins were also at risk, since there was a chance that blood clots in the placenta could affect her children.
Despite the difficult road, Andrade affirmed that abortion was never an option. “I knew I wanted to have my babies no matter what happened,” she said. “I told my care team and they were a great support, helping me a lot through the pregnancy and the leukemia.”
Akhtari acknowledged that while Andrade’s health was at risk, getting both her and her babies through the pregnancy was a priority. “This involved a multidisciplinary team effort between oncology and OB-GYN specialists guiding a patient through a high-risk pregnancy and providing personalized, whole person care,” he said. “We all worked together, and that’s why we now have two healthy babies, a happy mother, and a happy ending.”
Andrade also recognized that the cancer was only discovered thanks to her pregnancy. “At first, it was shock after shock after shock,” she said. “Now I feel double-blessed because my twin babies are in my life, and if I wasn’t pregnant, I might’ve never found out I had leukemia.”
Andrade’s incredible story is a testament to the power of modern medicine. Despite her harrowing health experience, abortion was not necessary to save her life. Happy endings like hers are a reminder that deliberately killing a preborn child is never medically necessary.
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