PEMBERVILLE, Ohio — Imagine being pregnant and going in for what you thought would be a routine appointment, only to learn you and your baby's life hangs in the balance.
Heather, Jordan and one-year-old Grayson Haynes are soon to be a family of four. The road to get there has been anything but expected. It all started with Heather's eight week prenatal appointment.
"They asked me how long it had been since I had a pap. I was him-hawing around, 'You know, it's been awhile.' So they said, 'OK, we're going to do another one,'" Heather Haynes said.
That pap came back abnormal. At that point, Heather said she wasn't panicking. Her husband had a different reaction.
"That day, later on Saturday — I work for the Post Office delivering mail — I cried the entire day," Jordan Haynes said.
It was the news he was dreading. Heather was diagnosed with small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the cervix; cancer.
"Yes, it hit hard because, 'Wow, I have cancer. I'm 34,' all that, but probably not as much as some people because they're getting it stage four and you have months to live, but it does. It changes your life," Heather said.
Heather's case, while caught in stage one, is incredibly rare and aggressive.
"He (Heather's doctor) basically said today that she's probably the only one in America right now that is pregnant," Jordan said.
Heather was faced with a choice; one many couldn't even begin to imagine.
"You know, my body, my life. I can do whatever I want. Some doctors would recommend that you terminate the pregnancy," Heather said.
She said her doctor knew that's not what she would want. She has chosen to continue with her pregnancy.
That choice meant a tougher treatment course. It includes several rounds of chemotherapy during pregnancy and it doesn't stop there.
"We'll have him at 34 weeks. They'll induce me and then I'll have a radical hysterectomy at the same time," Heather said.
Heather and her doctors are positive about the outcome for her and her baby.
Heather said she wouldn't have even known she had cancer if it weren't for her pregnancy. Her unborn son saving her life as she saves his.
Heather urges women to get those yearly exams.
"This child inside of me saved my life. Getting that pap saved my life. My oncologist had said, 'If we had not caught this when we did we would have been fighting for months instead of fighting for your life,'" she said.
Heather knows the difficulty still ahead and she and Jordan are thankful for support from the community
"People showing up the house with food. People stopping me while I'm delivering mail saying, 'We're praying for you. What do you need?'" Jordan said.
"People are amazing. When you go through something like this you realize how blessed you are and how amazing people are," Heather said.
There will be a benefit for the family on July 15 at Two Foxes Gastropub located at 121 S. Main Street in Bowling Green, Ohio. It goes from 5-10 p.m. Entry for adults is $10 and for children is $5. You can text your RSVP to 419-410-9106.
There is also a GoFundMe page available if you wish to donate.