The 28-year-old midwife was at an ultrasound appointment, waiting impatiently to see the growing baby inside of her when the doctors discovered a cyst on her right ovary. Within days, it was diagnosed as ovarian cancer and Patete had some tough decisions to make.
“It’s a miracle,” she told PEOPLE Magazine earlier this week. “The cancer could have progressed a lot further, and we would have had no idea if it wasn’t for my pregnancy. God sent DJ to save my life.”
Initially, medical staff advised Patete to terminate the pregnancy and start aggressive chemotherapy treatment immediately, but she says just knew that she needed to keep the baby.
“He saved my life,” she said. “Now it was my turn to save his life.”
She discussed her options with her doctors and soon discovered there was actually a low risk to the baby if she started the chemotherapy while she was still pregnant.
“As a mum, you don’t want to do anything that could harm your baby,” she explained. “I was terrified, but they explained that it was a relatively safe option.”
And so for the next five months, Patete underwent six rounds of chemotherapy every four weeks, while working full time and growing a baby inside her.
“It was rough trying to grow a human and go through chemo,” she says. “I was so tired and sick that I had to schedule my days off for when I knew I would be feeling ill.”
Throughout this time the ultrasounds showed that her baby was healthy, and on April 24 this year, she gave birth to a happy and healthy baby boy named DJ.
“It was just beautiful,” she says. “And he’s the sweetest baby, always smiling and just a joy.”
Patete is now in remission and she hasn’t ruled out having more kids in the future.
“I think about the things that could have happened and what could have gone wrong and there’s no other reason than the grace of God that everything worked out and we are both alive,” she says. “I truly think God was watching over us.”
LISTEN: Tina talks about how she survived breast cancer and managed family time.