Pregnant woman has caesarean after doctors discovered she had 7lb tumour bigger than her own babyMother had to have caesarean at eight months in case tumour burstBaby weighed 6.4lbs while tumour weighed 7.5lbs
14:37 GMT, 24 May 2012
A pregnant woman had an emergency caesarean after doctors discovered she had a kidney tumour – that was bigger than her own baby.
Gemma Fletcher was eight months pregnant when doctors found a tumour weighing 7.5lbs on one of her kidneys. She was rushed her into surgery when she gave birth to Ava Lily who, at 6.4lbs, was lighter than the tumour.
Medics said the rare benign tumour had probably been on Gemma's kidney all her life, but pregnancy hormones had made it swell. It continued to grow after Ava's birth.
All better: Both Gemma Fletcher and her daughter Ava have recovered from their ordeal. Gemma first experienced problems at 32 weeks pregnant
Ms Fletcher, from Sheffield, said: 'I still looked pregnant.I would get comments about my belly and get asked when I was due.
'I was in the Meadowhall shopping centre and a lady said: “Haven’t you got a lovely bump!” – I had to tell her I wasn’t pregnant.'
While boyfriend Michael Kay, 30, looked after newborn Ava, Gemma was transferred to the Northern General hospital where doctors tried to shrink the tumour.
Gemma said: 'That didn’t work.They wanted to save my kidney, but the tumour was getting bigger.'
Nine weeks after Ava’s birth, consultant urological surgeon David Smith removed the tumour, along with Gemma’s kidney.
Ms Fletcher first started experiencing problems at 32 weeks when she developed itchy skin and anaemia.
Consultant gynaecologist Remon Keriakos worried the mass would rupture if Gemma had a natural birth – so delivered Ava by C-section at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.
Relieved: Gemma and partner Michael with daughter Ava. Gemma had a massive tumour that began bleeding following the caesarean
Bank worker Gemma said: 'It was terrifying.Mr Keriakos was brilliant though. I was so relieved when Ava was born happy and healthy.'
But, though little Ava was safe, Gemma was still in danger. Mr Keriakos said: 'As we had anticipated, Gemma had bleeding in the tumour following the delivery, and the size of the tumour increased significantly as a result.'
Gemma, who has recently moved to Wombwell, near Barnsley, has now recovered from the operations and her daughter is thriving.
She said: 'Ava is brilliant – really happy and healthy. I have regular check-ups and I’m okay.All the care I received was excellent.
'I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals for saving my life and my baby girl.'