Dying Hamilton mum brings baby home

08:10, Jan 12 2014
Jennifer Doolabh
SCAMMED: Terminally ill mother Jennifer Doolabh with her newborn son Matthias in Waikato Hospital.

Christmas was bittersweet for the Doolabh family.

Mum Jennifer gave birth to Matthias on December 23, but that was tempered by the results of a CT scan a few days later.

Mrs Doolabh stopped radiation treatment for cancer to give Matthias a better chance of survival and, in the meantime, the cancer cells grew and grew.

It was now attacking her almost everywhere, she says. The scans showed the cancer had expanded from her chest, lungs and neck to her bones, spine and liver.

In June 2012 the then mother of two was diagnosed with breast cancer. She struggled through a year of gruelling chemotherapy and radiation and, a year later, while enduring another bout of radiation treatment, she was told she and husband Aneal were expecting their first child.

Now she's dependent on pain killers and an oxygen machine, but she is at home and so is her son.


"We didn't even think I would be here for Christmas," she said. "It's been such a blessing just still being around."

Matthias, who was born six weeks early and is now 2 weeks old, went home for the first time yesterday.

Mrs Doolabh says it was nerve-racking taking him away from the support of nurses, yet he's healthy and bottle feeding.

Last night they were all at home as a family, which was a blessing for her husband, Aneal.

"We're just going to enjoy each other's company. While you have it, you really do have to treasure it."

On Wednesday, Mrs Doolabh started chemotherapy again - against the wishes of her doctors.

In December 2012 she had a heart attack while going through similar treatment.

Mrs Doolabh discussed whether it was a good idea with her husband and, with his input, concluded it was the only way forward.

"I've got nothing to lose," she says.

And Mr Doolabh agrees.

"In fact you have probably got everything to lose if you don't give your all when it comes to cancer.

"It's not a pretty thing and you do have to make some hard choices."

Mrs Doolabh says she does not know how long she has to live, but in between treatment she will be spending as much time with her family as she can.

Waikato Times