Jeanie Taddeo holds her twin girls Giavanna and Gillian. Jeanie was just 15 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She beat the cancer and delivered two beautiful girls.
Jeanie Taddeo and her husband Phil had been trying for 12 years to have a baby, so needless to say they were excited when they learned twins were on the way.
"Ecstatic, I was ecstatic. I have twins on both sides of my family. I knew I would always have twins," Jeanie said. "I was absolutely out of my mind with happiness."
But the joy of finally getting pregnant with twin girls quickly turned to fear.
The 8th grade Spanish teacher was 15 weeks pregnant when she felt a lump in her right breast.
"It turned out it was stage 2 invasive breast cancer," Jeanie recalled. "It was the most devastating news I could ever have imagined at the happiest time of my life."
Jeanie couldn't believe it. She was only 36-years-old and had no history of breast cancer in her family.
"I thought 'What is going to happen to my girls?' It wasn't me, it was my girls," she said.
Dr. Domchek says surprisingly in many circumstances, it is possible to safely give chemo in the second and third trimester.
"We do have to time the birth of the babies and when we give the chemotherapy and we don't want to give chemo therapy too close to the birth so it does make things more challenging," she said.
Dr. Domchek says the placenta actually protects the baby. "That's the idea, that the baby is in sort of a safe haven and really doesn't have a significant effect from the chemotherapy."
Jeanie's husband Phil admits it was all pretty scary.
"You see what the chemo drugs do to the person getting the chemo and to sort of rationalize that nothing is going to happen to these two little girls takes a big leap of faith," he said.
Jeanie took it day by day, undergoing the normal eight rounds of chemo and 35 rounds of radiation. She even continued working throughout her ordeal.
"My friends at work at Spring Ford 8th Grade Center, they just took me under their wing and were with me every step of the way," she said.
Then two months before her due date, Jeanie gave birth.
The babies weighed just 2 and 3 pounds, but otherwise were healthy. Four days later the mother of twins was back getting more chemo.
"To have to deal with such a life changing event and cancer truly is…I mean you hear about it, and your hear friends who go through it, but until it happens to you. It brings a whole new perspective for you," Phil said.
After 34 days in the neonatal unit, little Giavanna and Gillian would come home.
Now almost 2-years-old, these girls are healthy, happy and a handful.
"They are my miracle babies," Jeanie said.
The miracle mom is now cancer free. She had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.
Jeanie really credits staying positive and a super support system with beating cancer and giving birth to two beautiful babies.