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Hanoi mom who refused cancer treatment to save unborn baby sees son for 1st time

Saturday, June 15, 2019, 20:07 GMT+7
Hanoi mom who refused cancer treatment to save unborn baby sees son for 1st time
Nguyen Thi Lien bursts into tears in the moment of happiness when she sees her son for the first time. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

A Vietnamese mother who chose to give up on her cancer treatment so her unborn child could live has finally been able to meet her son, 21 days after her successful premature delivery.

Nguyen Thi Lien touched hearts across the nation after her story made headlines late last month.

The Hanoi woman was diagnosed with end-stage breast cancer in March, when she was in her fifth month pregnancy. The mother-to-be decided to pass on radiation therapy to maintain the fetal development of her child, despite high possibility of death for herself.

Lien, 28, eventually had to undergo a surgery to have her baby taken out prematurely, as her condition became really severe.

The boy said hello to the world on May 22 in the tears of happiness of his family, especially his father, Do Van Hung.

But the mother was not able to meet her son, who was named Do Binh An, meaning ‘peaceful,’ after delivery, as her health grew weaker. With Lien falling into a coma at times, doctors had even feared the worst, that she would never make it to see her son for the first time.

Lien is being treated at the National Cancer Hospital, while her son receives treatment at the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The two hospitals are both in Hanoi and located only ten kilometers apart, but no one had believed the mother could cover such a not-too-far distance to meet her child.

But miracle happened on Thursday this week, as her husband took her to the obstetric hospital to see their 21-day-old son for the first time ever.

A heartfelt reunion

At around 9:00 am on Thursday, an ambulance carrying Lien, accompanied by Tran Van Thuan, director of the National Cancer Hospital, arrived at the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

A wheelchair was given to Hung so he could take his wife to the isolation room where their son is being treated. By that time, the couple were only a few steps away from the moment they “had been waiting for, for too long,” the husband said.

Lien arrives at the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology, waiting to meet her son. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre
Lien arrives at the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology, ready to meet her son. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

For the very first time since she gave birth to Binh An, Lien was finally able to hold him in her arms.

She could only spend seven to eight minutes with her son, as both of them had to quickly return to continue their respective treatment.

“I could see tears in the mother’s eyes,” an attendant of the newborn care center of the hospital recalled the heartfelt moment filled with happiness he witnessed firsthand.

“The mother was so weak that she could only nod her head while holding the baby.”

Lien holds Binh An for the first time. Photo: National Cancer Hospital
Lien holds Binh An for the first time. Photo: National Cancer Hospital

Earlier last week, the eldest daughter of Lien and Hung paid a visit to the mother at the National Cancer Hospital. On Thursday, she was also allowed to visit her younger brother with her grandmother.

The family did not waste such a precious opportunity to take a reunion photo.

The picture, showing a couple with their two children and the grandma, may be just a normal photo for other families, but Lien and Hung know it is an invaluable treasure to them.

The family poses for a precious photo. Photo: National Cancer Hospital
Lien and Hung pose for a photo with their two children. Photo: National Cancer Hospital

After the special visit to her son, Lien has returned to treatment at the cancer hospital.

Hung said she has been making significant progress, even managing to stand on her own, “something our family had never believed could be possible.”

And Binh An, the boy named after peace, has also been bringing joy and hope to the family.

The prematurely born child that weighed only 1.50 kg at birth now weighs 1.75kg. The child no longer needed a ventilator machine to breathe, and is also making progress like his brave mother.

“I long for the day when I can take my wife and my youngest son home, where our eldest daughter has been waiting for both of them,” the husband said.

The happy moment of Lien as she sees her son for the first time. Photo: National Cancer Hospital
The happy moment of Lien as she sees her son for the first time. Photo: National Cancer Hospital
Lien is accompanied by a group of doctors during the meeting. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre
Lien is accompanied by a group of doctors during the meeting. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre
Only 30 minutes after meeting her son, Lien has to return to the National Cancer Hospital. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre
Only 30 minutes after meeting her son, Lien has to return to the National Cancer Hospital. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre
Doctors help dress Lien with special clothes before entering the isolation room to see her son. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre
Doctors help dress Lien with special clothes before entering the isolation room to see her son. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre
Lien is taken on a wheelchair to meet her son at the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre
Lien is taken on a wheelchair to meet her son at the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

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