Weeks into her pregnancy, Grace Baker-Padden, 23, began to vomit and noticed her stomach was beginning to swell — symptoms she assumed were a normal part of pregnancy.
At 12 weeks, Grace went in for a scan, at which time physicians made an alarming discovery. Doctors performing the scan at the University Hospital of North Durham noticed there was no baby shape inside her, Grace’s partner, Joe Cowling, 28, told the Daily Mirror.
“It looked like a bunch of grapes,” Joe said of the scan.
A file image shows a doctor doing a ultrasound examination. The U.K. woman thought she was pregnant for weeks before she was told her "baby" was actually a cancerous growth. (Photo credit: JASPER JACOBS/AFP/Getty Images)
Doctors later confirmed Grace was suffering from a molar pregnancy, which is caused when an abnormally fertilized egg implants in the uterus, according to the Mayo Clinic. A molar pregnancy is rare, occurring in just 1 in every 1,000 pregnancies.
“A molar pregnancy can have serious complications — including a rare form of cancer — and requires early treatment,” the Mayo Clinic says.
Symptoms include vaginal bleeding, severe nausea and vomiting, “grapelike” cysts, and pelvic pressure or pain, among other signs.
The condition caused Grace’s hormone levels to rise, triggering her body to mimic pregnancy, per the Daily Mirror.
“It was such a shock. From planning this exciting new future as a family to suddenly no baby and my health at risk was awful,” Grace told the publication. “We’d gone from expecting a baby to having the C-word thrown about. We were both really upset.”
“I just wanted the horrible mass out of me immediately,” she added.
Doctors successfully removed the malignant mass, but Grace was forced to undergo chemotherapy for months following the procedure. She was declared cancer-free in December.
“The relief was incredible. We just wanted to be normal again and planned a holiday to celebrate,” she said.
The couple still hopes to have a baby one day — but Grace said she and Joe have to wait at least a year before trying. There’s also a chance she could suffer a molar pregnancy again, according to the Daily Mirror.
“We’re scared to try again after what happened,” she said. “We’ll wait a while.”
Grace Baker-Padden did not immediately return Fox News’ request for additional comment.