Center woman with Cystic Fibrosis says surprise pregnancy was a blessing

Elizabeth says she was absolutely shocked when she found out she was pregnant (Source: KTRE Staff)
Elizabeth says she was absolutely shocked when she found out she was pregnant (Source: KTRE Staff)
Beene says there was a possibility neither her, or her son Carter, would survive (Source: KTRE Staff)
Beene says there was a possibility neither her, or her son Carter, would survive (Source: KTRE Staff)

CENTER, TX (KTRE) - Life has been a challenge for Elizabeth Beene. A Cystic Fibrosis patient, the 27-year-old Center woman says dealing with impending death has always been a realistic thought.

"My 25th birthday I was like 'wow. I'm almost to my life expectancy. 10 years is probably what they are going to suggest I have with the condition I'm in," Beene said.

Cystic Fibrosis is a life-threatening hereditary disease that causes sticky, thick mucus to build up in a person's lungs.

Beene was diagnosed with the disease when she was 11 years old, which was a shock since she says the disease is determined at birth. Yet, that wasn't her biggest surprise. When she was 21 years old, Beene said she was spending some time in the hospital when she got the news of a lifetime.

"[The doctor] came in with a box of tissues and I was like 'oh gosh. They're fixing to tell me that something's like really bad,' and you know, I was prepared for that," Beene said. "I've been dealing with this. And she came in and told me I was pregnant and I was not prepared for that at all."

Beene says doctors recommended she terminate her pregnancy because of the seriousness of her disease.

"But, I had already had that motherly instinct kick in and I told them it's not going to happen," Beene said.

She admits her pregnancy was hard, especially since she got gestational diabetes, a condition that usually occurs in women during pregnancy. But for Beene, she says maintaining diabetes with Cystic Fibrosis was really tough.

Yet, Beene was in for an even bigger surprise. At 28 weeks, her son Carter decided he was ready to meet the world.

"He was two pounds and 9.8 ounces and when they took him out, I couldn't even hear him cry," Beene said. "When I first saw him, you know, while I was lying on the table, he looked fine. I mean, he was little, but he was fine. And after I woke up, I had a picture on my phone that my family sent me and he had all these tubes hanging out of him and God it was so scary."

It was one of the scariest moments of her life, Beene said, especially since after Carter was born her health took a turn for the worst.

"I went from 135 pounds when I had him to like a week later, I was like, I don't know, 97 [pounds]. I mean, I was dropping rapidly," Beene said. "At that point, we weren't sure if either of us was going to make it. And I stuck around. I was in the hospital in June [2010] with him and my doctors came in and told me it was time to consider a transplant."

Beene says most Cystic Fibrosis patients eventually have to have a lung transplant, but the thought hadn't even crossed her mind.

"I knew it was going to happen eventually, probably. But, I mean I was that bad," Beene said.

She said doctors were worried that she wasn't going to survive.

"It was just—he would do better and I would drop and then I would do better and he would drop. And so for 3 months, we just didn't know," Beene said. "The chances of you living and him living are even smaller. And they couldn't tell me—if I live, they weren't sure if he was going to and if he did, they weren't sure if I was going to."

Beene says she wanted to make sure she could spend time with her newborn son who spent 3 months in the NICU. Finally, after months of prayer, Beene and Carter got to go home.

Now, Beene says she's ready to look at her options for a lung transplant and is planning on meeting a doctor on Monday.

"Whatever's meant to happen is going to happen. I can't sit there and you know, think, 'oh my gosh. What if I don't get listed or what if I do, what if I'm making the right decision you know?' if it's meant to be it's going to happen," Beene said.

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