MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Mississippi mother was diagnosed with an aggressive, high-risk form of leukemia while halfway through her pregnancy.
Early labor led to the discovery.
Annastyn and Everly have each gained a pound since they were born last month at 27 weeks but still be in the NICU for at least another five weeks.
Doctors believe the twins' early arrival into this world saved their mother's life.
The Brinson family unexpectedly grew weeks after Mallory and Heath got married last October.
"Here I am, our family is about to be blessed with twins when they don't run in our family and then you're going to tell me I have cancer," Mallory said. "So, how could I be blessed with something like that for something else, you know, awful to happen?"
Doctors made the discovery in December. The twins were only 26 weeks when early contractions brought Mallory to the doctor.
Medicine slowed down the labor, but blood work revealed the next hurdle, cancer – more specifically, acute myeloid leukemia.
"When they came back that night after getting the results from my blood work that's when they were like, 'something is wrong,'" Mallory said.
The twins were far enough along that Dr. Muhammad Raza and his team began chemotherapy.
"We were limited in terms of what medication we could use when babies are inside mother's womb," Dr. Raza said. "When they delivered they actually opened options."
Five days later, contractions returned and Annastyn and Everly were born weighing a little more than two pounds each.
The girl's early arrival allowed changed Mallory's treatment plan, adding a lifesaving drug to her chemotherapy, one that's not safe during pregnancy.
A laptop with a camera and microphone kept Mallory connected with the girls during her treatment.
But it's in moments like these where she rocks her babies that Mallory's strength is renewed to continue her fight and journey.