Melissa Gormley and Dave Good are an ordinary couple with an extraordinary story. The pair hadn’t even been dating a year when they were given some incredible news: they were to become parents. With a new chapter in their lives about to unfold, it looked like Melissa and Dave had it all. But then they received some very different news and were faced with a decision that would change their lives forever.
Good and Gormley were both working at World of Beer in Exton, Pennsylvania, when they met at a training event. Neither was looking for a relationship, but their meeting in April 2016 was to be the start of something special. Following a lengthy first date, the pair decided to commit to one another. But the excitement did not stop there.
2017 promised to be the best year yet for the pair when, shortly after the turn of the year, they learned that Gormley was expecting. Speaking to Daily Local News, Gormley expressed her surprise at the news, saying, “We were both kind of like, ‘What?!’” The pair were set for an eventful year to say the least.
Everything was looking rosy when, in the 14th week of Gormley’s pregnancy, the happy couple discovered that she was carrying a girl. However, that same night, the couple had a scare. Gormley spotted some bleeding, which led to them visiting the doctor. Their adventure had taken a worrying turn, one that was exacerbated when Gormley underwent a biopsy.
Terrified about the safety of their unborn child, the couple awaited the result of the biopsy. As time passed, their worry grew and grew. Speaking to Daily Local News, Good recalled that fraught period and the countless questions that came with it. “What does that mean for our new life?” he mused. “Did it mean it couldn’t happen anymore? Can we still have the baby? Is Melissa going to be okay?” Both of them began preparing for the worst.
“I kind of mentally prepared myself that I might not get the news I wanted,” Gormley admitted. And when the news came, via a voicemail from Dr. Alan Askinas, sadly she was proved right. But it’s likely no amount of preparation could have made the results of the test any easier.
To the couple’s dismay, Gormley had been diagnosed with cervical cancer. The news hit Gormley especially hard. “I was in shock at that point,” she recalled. Even though she’d tried to prepare herself for every eventuality, she said that it “was still very hard hearing that.” How to proceed, the couple did not know. They had big decisions to make.
The cervical cancer could have had direct repercussions on the health of Gormley’s unborn child, so terminating the pregnancy could have been an option. However, due to the number of weeks that had passed, this wouldn’t be easy. Gormley was mid-term, which meant two things: the foetus was already pretty well developed, but the birth itself was too far away to delay the cancer treatment until after the delivery. One thing was for sure, though. Gormley was determined to keep the baby.
“Ending the pregnancy was not an option for me,” Gormley told Daily Local News. “I knew that right from the beginning. Even if they were like, ‘We can’t do anything for you,’ I would’ve waited. I was really just concerned for her.” It was settled: Gormley would have to have treatment whilst pregnant.
Despite her incredible strength, Gormley did not pretend that it was an easy thing to go through. Plagued by doubt and worry, the couple were constantly aware of the health of their unborn child. Speaking in May 2017 Gormley recalled, “There are definitely times where I break down crying. It’s scary thinking about all the what ifs. Like, what if it doesn’t work? What if something happens during delivery? All of those thoughts go through your head.”
Luckily for the couple, they had a supportive network of family and friends around them. Gormley’s mother Miriam Adamo told Daily Local News how she had absolute faith in her daughter. “Melissa is sweet and gentle, but she’s very much, ‘I can do this.’ She perseveres and pushes on and I’m so proud of how she’s dealt with this.” Having been a “strong and resilient” little girl, Gormley was now handling the situation with maturity and strength.
Good’s mother also voiced her own emotions when she heard the devastating news. “It was heartbreaking,” Sharon Good said. “To go from such a high of knowing I was going to be a grandmother to hearing she has cancer, it broke my heart. Whoever thought a pregnant woman could have chemo, but when I heard that I said, ‘Okay, we’re gonna fight this.’ There’s nothing else to do.”
As for Good himself, well, his ability to see the funny side of everything – one of the things that attracted Gormley to him in the first place – kept Gormley’s chin up in the darkest of times. The couple even came up with a way to deal with the situation together: whenever they felt down, they’d listen to their baby’s heartbeat. The life-giving sound never failed to renew their hope.
To everyone’s delight, baby Olivia was born healthy on July 24, 2017. She was delivered at 33 weeks via a C-section. Immediately after the birth, Gormley entered treatment which kept her apart from her newborn for a couple of days. Typically, Good saw this in a funny light and shared his humorous take on events. “She came out crying for her mommy,” he posted on Facebook. “But had to settle for meeting daddy a few minutes later.”
Two days after the birth, baby Olivia finally met her mother. At this point, the tot was still connected to a CPAP machine and a feeding tube, while Gormley had just left surgery. It would seem each gave the other strength, though, something that Good was keen to share on Facebook. “Just got done FaceTiming with Mommy and Little Liv… Both are doing great!” he wrote.
Together with their miraculously healthy baby, Gormley and Good set up home in Phoenixville, PA, something they’d planned before the complications with Gormley’s health. Having strengthened their bond through the most difficult of trials, the couple reflected on what lasting effect the events had had on their relationship.
Gormley told Daily Local News that she and Good had grown closer as a result of their shared experiences. “This has shown both of us a different side of each other that probably we wouldn’t have seen,” she said. “Dave’s just so supportive and so great about helping me with whatever I need. If I’m upset he’s just there.”
Meanwhile, Good returned the compliment. “She’s been so good through this and I’m so proud of her,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of people would be able to handle this the way she has. It’s almost like she comes secondary, all the time, and she’s not thinking about herself. I’m just really proud and happy I found somebody like that.”
As to what the future holds, it’s unclear whether Olivia will ever have a brother or sister. Because of the treatment Gormley underwent after giving birth, another pregnancy might be a step too far. For now, then, Olivia can happily reap the benefits of being an only child, with doting parents at her beck and call.
Meanwhile, Olivia’s mom and dad certainly seem to be enjoying their family unit. Good posts regular updates on Facebook, sharing the adventures of his loving partner and “superhero” daughter. Having got through the hardest part, Good is hopeful about the future, saying that should anything else befall the family, it’s “gonna be a piece of cake.” A piece of superhero cake.