In 2014, Kirsty Brown from Austrailia, went in for a regular smear test. Working in healthcare, she immediately knew that  she needed to follow it up. 


“I had had an abnormal pap smear before, and because I work in healthcare, I went back again after maybe nine months,” Kirsty said, speaking to  Mamamia. “Luckily, I asked for a more expensive test, a slightly better quality test, and it picked [the cancer] up. A routine pap smear may not have been able to pick that up.”


It was a test that saved her life. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer. 


"I was shocked, obviously. Because I work in healthcare, I knew what was possible and I just sprung into action straight away. It all happened, very, very quickly. You just do what you have to do."


She froze her eggs and started to come to terms with what it might mean. 


While most women would have had a hysterectomy, Kirsty opted for a trachelectomy- where the cervix and surrounding structure is removed and the base of the uterus is stitched up. 


She was painfully aware as to how this would affect her fertility. 


"I worked in fertility for three years, so I was very, very aware of the fact that we aren't as fertile as we think we are, even before we have our reproductive system chopped out.


"So [fertility] was at the forefront of my mind."



When meeting her now husband, she was upfront from the start that she might never be able to have children. 


"I had to tell him almost straight away, that if we were to have kids, we'd have to adopt. I had to tell him I had half a uterus and I would not be able to carry a baby."


But astonishingly, she fell pregnant without trying. 


"I was terrified. I thought this was the dumbest thing I'd ever done. As far as we were concerned, it hadn't been done before. We were told there was no one who had successfully carried a baby after a trachelectomy."


She was closely monitored through the pregnancy, as doctors has never seen anything like it. She was on bed rest for 25 weeks. 


Little Baxter was born healthy at 35 weeks. 


"It's been very surreal, I feel like I'm living two lives. I had one life where I was a cancer patient who couldn't have a baby, and there's another life whether I'm a cancer patient who actually could," she says.


If she hadn't gone for the pap smear, Kirsty admits she "may or may not have survived".


"If I had waited a year or later, I would've been fighting for my life and not just fertility. The message is, if you are overdue, go.


"After spending two years thinking that I couldn't ever carry a baby to actually carrying one... it's amazing. I'm very lucky."