And then I had this pesky ache in my left breast..... The breast cancer diagnosis was devastating. I finally had maternity insurance. I was finally ready to get serious about trying to conceive. And now instead of working to create life, I was working on saving mine.
My first question to both my surgical oncologist and my medical oncologist was, "am I allowed to get pregnant?" They both had the same answer, using almost exactly the same words, "Yes. You must have annual mammograms, and you can never go back on the birth control pill, and beyond that, it's up to you. The birth control pill can't cause cancer, but your breasts have already demonstrated the ability to produce cancer [I will never forget that statement for as long as I live]. If there is a seed of cancer, then the birth control pill is the fertilizer that will cause it to grow."
In April it seemed like the plan was back on. And then in May I had a crazy ringworm outbreak and had to go on oral medication to stop the outbreak - oral medication that could cause birth defects. I wasn't allowed to get pregnant while on the medication, nor for four weeks afterwards.
At this point I was getting antsy. When I was just 19, I was diagnosed with endometriosis and I've had two surgeries to remove endometriosis from my uterus and bladder. Since endometriosis is the leading cause of infertility, my OB/GYB has been on me since about age 24 to get pregnant now or be prepared for that fertility window to close. I remember kind of arguing with her because she didn't seem to think Eric's being in college to be a good enough reason to delay getting pregnant! She also didn't think the lack of maternity insurance was a good reason either. In an effort to slow down the endometriosis and preserve my fertility, I've been on a medium-high strength birth control pill for about 10 years. At age 29, she found a complex cyst on my right ovary, and I ended up having surgery to remove it...including the affected ovary and Fallopian tube. The doctor assured me "that's why God gives you two" and my left ovary would step up to the plate.
So with one ovary, one breast, and endometriosis growing rampantly, unchecked by the birth control pill, I knew my window was closing and it was time to get serious. I bought an ovulation predictor kit.
Ten days later, my husband and I were staring at a faint second line indicating a positive pregnancy test. Heretofore referred to as clue #1. His first words were, "shit just got real."
At my first OB appointment, I very confidently stated the date on my last period, and I knew exactly when I ovulated, and come to find out you don't get a dating ultrasound if you're confident on the dates. Take it from me, lie like there is no tomorrow if you ever in this position!
At my 12 week appointment, we were finally going to get to hear the the heartbeat. I knew there was a chance the baby could still be too small to hear the heartbeat with the Doppler and to not get upset if they had trouble finding a heartbeat. Instead, within 2 seconds of putting the wand on my stomach, the sound of a strong heartbeat immediately filled the room. We'll call that clue #2.
At this point I was already "showing." While it was kind of fun at first to have this little pooch, and my husband and I were the only ones who knew why, after a while I started to feel a little self-conscious. I was looking undoubtedly pregnant at three months! And then there were the "you are definitely showing!" and "are you sure there aren't twins in there?" and "you're HOW far along?!" comments. Clue #4.
The stress and fear following my mastectomy had resulted in my having a somewhat significant weight loss, but with pregnancy I was putting that weight back on like a champ! I gained nine pounds in five weeks! Clue #5. And that didn't even make that much sense to me, because I was really struggling to eat, and to eat anything high in calories, due to morning sickness - morning sickness that only got worse as I headed into the second trimester. Clue #6.
At 16 weeks I very clearly felt the baby for the first time - a quick kick followed by a smaller movement. I knew it was early to feel movement, and to not expect to feel the baby again for days or weeks. Instead, I started feeling the baby every day, sometimes several times a day. And just a few days after I felt the baby's first kick, my husband had his hand on my stomach and he felt a kick. That is way ahead of schedule! Clue #7.
So last week was my 17 week anatomy scan. I was an absolute wreck going into this appointment. I could just feel it in my bones that this appointment was not going to go as expected. I just kept saying to my husband, "we're not lucky people." And he readily agreed! When I said I was really worried there was a birth defect, especially since we got pregnant just a few weeks after being on the medicine that could cause birth defects, he said maybe we would luck up and it would just be a little one. The day of the scan I made sure I didn't have any sugar, or juice, or anything else that could cause the baby to move a lot and prevent our being able to get a good scan of whatever it was that I was so nervous about. While we were waiting in the waiting room, I was feeling a ton of movement...so much for that plan!
When we were finally called back for the scan, I started joking in a self-deprecating manner with the tech that we would finally find out if there really were twins in there! As she started the scan, she saw immediately that my placenta is close to the cervix, and if it doesn't move out of the way, then I will have to have a c-section. Since I was preparing for a natural, unmedicated birth, this came as bad news, but I knew this wasn't THE news that I so nervous about. I still had this nagging feeling that something was just...off. Then the tech starts the rest of the scan, and it went just like this:
Me: We definitely want to find out the sex!
Tech: Do you have a feeling of what it is?
Me: Sometimes I think boy, sometimes I think girl. I had a dream where I was having a girl and then later in the dream the baby was a boy. My husband here said that means we're having boy/girl twins - haha!
Tech: (very quietly) Is this your first scan?
(My husband said later he couldn't hear her, and he was trying to figure out what she said)
Me: (snapping my head up to the screen to see a head, a line and then a spine) OH MY GOD ARE THERE TWO?!?! (Husband snaps his head to the screen)
Tech: Hold on, let me see if there are more...yes, you're having twins!
Me and my husband: HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I'm sure everyone on that side of the building heard us)
Tech: We'll call this one Baby A, and this one Baby B. Baby A is a boy, and....Baby B is a girl! You're having boy/girl twins!
And immediately I felt a sense of relief. I knew with every fiber of my being this appointment was going to be...different. Turns out I already have some mother's intuition after all! And no wonder I had no strong feeling on whether we were having a boy or girl!
I had prayed and prayed and prayed to God, pleading that I stay pregnant, and stay pregnant with a healthy baby. I had just had all the sorrow I could take for this year.
My entire adult life I've been told it would be very difficult for me to conceive, and yet I got pregnant the first time we really seriously "tried" by using the ovulation predictor kit. And I got pregnant and stayed pregnant with just one ovary. And I'm pregnant with twins, right away, stayed pregnant with twins, all with just one ovary. And one breast. Thanks be to God.
Ready to see the babies?
|They're head to head, probably already plotting against us.|
|Baby Boy just hanging out|
|Baby Girl waves hello! And I think that's Baby Boy on the right.....|
What an eventful year! We won't be celebrating Christmas as planned with a baby, nor with a baby on the way. Rather, we'll be celebrating with babies on the way! Thanks be to God.