Recurrent cancer complicates woman's miracle pregnancy

Kellie Cowan reports

- Jenna Longen always wanted to be a mom. She wanted a big family. But that dream was nearly snatched away three years ago by cancer. Longen needed chemotherapy, a treatment doctors explained would likely leave her infertile.

Longen didn't give up hope. She delayed the start of her aggressive leukemia treatment to undergo fertility preservation, a procedure that gave her peace of mind for the future.

Luckily for Longen, the future held a surprise for her. Last fall she and her fiancé discovered something they didn't think possible. She was pregnant.

"I didn't even know I could get pregnant," said Longen. "Nobody thought that I still had fertility after the first rounds of chemo so it was just wonderful."

Longen, pregnant with a baby boy, was ecstatic. But her excitement soon turned to fear. Seven months into her pregnancy, Longen was told the leukemia was back.

"It just was a little overwhelming, to say the least, thinking that I could potentially not be there for the rest of his life," said Longen.

In her third trimester, this mother-to-be had a difficult choice to make.

"How do you make that choice to deliver early versus undergo chemo therapy while pregnant?" said Longen.

Luckily, she didn't have to choose.

"He decided for me," laughed Longen. "He said, 'Nope. Mom is sick and I need to vacate the premises so she can get better.'"

Just days after hearing her diagnosis, Longen went into labor and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

As baby Sawyer recovered in the neonatal intensive care unit, Longen began chemotherapy. Doctors at the Mofit Cancer Center allowed Sawyer to visit with mom, something Longen says led to her quick recovery.

"The nurses came up to me and said we need to give everyone a baby because you're doing so good," said Longen.

Longen is now officially in remission, but she's not out of the woods yet. Later this month, she'll receive a bone marrow transplant to try and stop her blood cancer from ever coming back. It's a gift she hopes more people will be inspired to give.

"It's a couple hour process sitting at a machine to filter your stem cells and then you'll be able to help save someone's life, like mine," laughed Longen.

If you're interested in helping Jenna Longen and finance Jordan with their mounting medical bills, visit:

You can learn more about joining the national bone marrow registry at:

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