During the seventh week of her pregnancy, Bnei Zion resident Danielle Skald, 32, went to see her doctor for a routine check-up, and although she felt something was wrong, she was told everything was all right. Danielle decided she wanted a second opinion.
Three weeks later, a different doctor gave her a new set of comprehensive tests, during which a 15 centimeter-long tumor was discovered on Danielle's womb.
During the third month of her pregnancy, Danielle looked as if she was six months pregnant.
"We were nervous. We didn't know what it was, and whether or not Danielle's life or the life of the baby were in danger", said her husband, Eli, 39.
At this stage, Danielle was transferred to the care of Dr. Oz Gavish, a senior physician in the gynecology department at Beilinson.
During the 12th week of her pregnancy, doctors explained to Danielle and Eli that Danielle's case is a very rare one: The doctors could only find one similar case in recorded medical history, in which an above-womb tumor was removed during a pregnancy.
"They told us to keep going as usual with the pregnancy, and that everything will be under medical supervision,"said Eli.
But a few weeks later, Danielle woke up in torment. "I couldn't get out of bed because of the pain. I barely reached the car," she said.
The couple called Dr. Gavish and drove to Beilinson. At the hospital, eight doctors were waiting to check on Danielle.
"At the end of the day, they told us we had several options: To terminate the pregnancy and surgically remove the tumor, to do nothing and suffer the pain, or to have surgery, fully open the abdomen, remove the tumor and keep the pregnancy," Danielle said.
The doctors explained that there was a chance the surgery would lead to the termination of the pregnancy, and that nicking the womb could cause it irreversible damage, but also that they believed they can rise up to the challenge.
The doctors recommended the third option, and the couple agreed, "Despite the fact that it was clear this was a risk to me and to the child," Danielle explained.
"In the end, the surgery was a complete success, but recovery wasn't easy. You need to remember that you can't take painkillers during pregnancy, other than paracetamol," she said.
After the operation, Danielle stayed at the hospital for observation, then was discharged.
"From that point on, the pregnancy continued as usual, except for our sense of humor, which was damaged a bit," laughed Eli.
Shortly before the end of the pregnancy, Danielle once again felt pain, and the couple's fears increased.
"I didn't know whether I was going to have a regular birth or a cesarean section until the very last second. In the end, I had a regular birth," Danielle said.
Last week, the couple's eldest son was born, and they were discharged from the hospital just before the weekend.
"Danielle was referred to me during the early stages of her pregnancy because of the tumor on her womb. The tumor was twice as big as the fetus at that point," said Dr. Oz Gavish. "In principle, we don't insist on removing a tumor during pregnancy, because there's a risk of a miscarriage and unstoppable bleeding that can lead to death. There was disagreement among the doctors about which treatment course should be taken, and we decided to go with the minority opinion because we believed that the surgery could help Danielle and that there was a good chance of success. Happily, it succeeded."