March 10, 2005 — -- Michelle Kingsfield had a successful career as a TV anchorwoman in Dayton, Ohio, and a beautiful family.
But last November, when she was four months pregnant with her second child, Kingsfield was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma.
"I was scared," she said. "I was shocked. And frankly, I just felt like I was in a dream."
"When my husband and I got home from the doctor's, we went up to the bedroom and cried and hugged one another," she added. "And after an hour or so, we stopped crying and I looked at him and said, 'All right, now it's time to kick some butt.' Then we went downstairs and spent some time with my son."
Within two weeks, doctors determined that Kingsfield had stage four cancer and would require chemotherapy. They didn't know if the baby would survive.
But Kingsfield was determined to fight -- for her life and for her baby's. She has been undergoing a type of chemotherapy that does not harm the baby.
"I have a son who needs me," she said. "I have a husband that needs me. I have this baby that's coming. I can't die."
Chemotherapy often leaves Kingsfield exhausted. Treatment has also made her face the difficult challenge of a changing body.
"The thing that I find really hard is some mornings when I wake up and look in the mirror and almost forget for a minute I have cancer," she said. "But when you look in the mirror and you're bald, it's like, 'Oh yeah.' "
Kingsfield is due to have her final chemotherapy session March 17, and then hopes to deliver her baby a few weeks later.
"I have an ultrasound every three weeks and the baby's growth is right on track," she said. "The only thing I have to worry about is going into labor too early. I am at 31 weeks. I can feel the baby kicking every day. My goal is to get through next week when I have my last chemo and to hold off delivery for three weeks so that I can gain strength to deliver."
Though the prenatal tests indicate the baby is fine, Kingsfield can't have the test that will determine if she is free of cancer until after the baby is born. But she may owe her life to her baby.
"It might have been easier if I had not been pregnant, but in some ways I consider this a miracle baby who saved my life," she said. "I had a lump on my back in July and just thought it was an infection and got antibiotics. … But once I was pregnant and trying to grow the baby, the cancer grew much faster, which led to the diagnosis."
Letters from friends and strangers, and the companionship of the baby growing inside her, have proven to be a source of strength for Kingsfield.
"I feel like this baby is a miracle," she said. "And I feel like this is my buddy, and we're going through this together and we're going to make it."