Hadassah doctor helps woman have baby after she was told she couldn't

Jennifer Lopez was told having another baby would kill her after suffering a stroke at the age of 29.

 Jennifer Lopez holds her baby alongside Prof. Jose Cohen. (photo credit: HADASSAH SPOKESPERSON)
Jennifer Lopez holds her baby alongside Prof. Jose Cohen.
(photo credit: HADASSAH SPOKESPERSON)

Jennifer Lopez gave birth to a baby boy after being told by doctors that a pregnancy would be life-threatening following a stroke.

Lopez was born in Ecuador and made aliyah when she was 16. She met her husband in Israel, and the two had a daughter a few years ago. Two years ago, she suffered a stroke and was told that if she got pregnant again, she would probably die.

"I was at work when I started to feel bad," she said. "I took my phone to answer the messages and my phone fell out of my hand. I picked it up, and it fell again. the third time I realized that something strange was going on. I thought that perhaps I had had a stroke, but I convinced myself that there was no way, I'm young! When I stood up from the chair at work, I felt that my left leg had fallen asleep and I dragged it. 

"I picked up the phone to call to my mother – she's a nurse - and I told her what had happened. She told me to get it checked out immediately."

A few hours later, Lopez went to the TEREM Emergency Clinic where she was rushed to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem. Tests conducted at the hospital revealed that she was at the beginning of a pregnancy outside the womb. The doctors determined that the pregnancy was the cause of the stroke.

 A newborn baby lying on her mother moments after birth in a delivery room at the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem on June 18, 2011.   (credit: KOBI GIDEON/FLASH90) A newborn baby lying on her mother moments after birth in a delivery room at the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem on June 18, 2011. (credit: KOBI GIDEON/FLASH90)

Although she had been warned that a pregnancy could be life-threatening, Lopez and her husband wanted another child, and after consulting with multiple doctors who told her there was no chance of it, they returned to Prof. Jose Cohen who had treated her in Hadassah.

"In consultation with him, it was the first time I did not hear about the catastrophes that awaited me," said Lopez. "We explained to him that we really wanted to have another child and it is very difficult for us to accept that this is the end of the story.

"Cohen understood the situation. He explained to me in detail what the doctors' concerns were, what the deliberations were and what the risks could be, however, he did not forget to say the important fact that everything might go well! That the pregnancy that had been aborted may not have had anything to do with the event that I went through. He promised that he would accompany me no matter the decision that I made. The dilemma was great, but I trusted him and following consultation with my husband, we decided to go forward."

"We work in an era of defensive medicine, it's no secret," says Cohen. "There are many situations in which a pregnant patient suffers from various medical problems and as part of the medical recommendations, she is told to have an abortion or not to get pregnant at all. As far as I'm concerned, giving up a child is giving up a dream, and I don't always agree with that recommendation, because it's a very high price to pay.

"The age at which women are at the peak fertility is also the age at which there is a record number of other diseases - For example, AVM - A common venous arterial malformation between the ages of 20 and 40 - Which is also the age at which most women become pregnant. When a woman comes to me with AVM and happens to be pregnant can I blame the pregnancy? Perhaps it’s just a coincidence?
"I can't know if there's definitely a connection or if it's just a coincidence. In the research literature, there's not enough information on the subject, and most of the time we don't have enough evidence to accurately indicate that the pregnancy is the cause of the disease, that's the motif that always guides me unless I know for sure otherwise."
Cohen accompanied Lopez throughout her pregnancy as he promised. She was under his care and strict monitoring, and he was in constant contact with her gynecologist and also with her Obstetrician, in order to make sure that the pregnancy and the birth went well. 

"Cohen always had the right answers and the right words for us," said Lopez excitedly, as she embraced her son. “He was confident in himself and in me and thanks to him, I was confident with the decision I had made.

"I met a doctor who was supportive, internalized the idea and led, who made sure to talk to me at my level and let me make an informed decision by myself and did not 'cancel' me and my feelings. Thanks to him, today we have a son and our daughter was privileged to have a brother she always dreamed of."