I half-joked a while back about checking in on certain breast cancer blogs and wondering if long time no post=dead. Morbid, I know, so I felt I should check in here, 4 years after my initial diagnosis, and...pregnant! 28 weeks, to be exact.
It's been a whirlwind the last 1.5 years, but here's the gist: In Feb 2019, I was given the green-light to come off Tamoxifen (post-cancer med, estrogen blocker) and try for a baby. Oh and no biggie, I had two years to both conceive and have the kid, then right back on the meds I'd go. I entered the POSITIVE trial at Dana-Farber, where they'd track my pregnancy. I harbored high hopes I'd help others in my position down the road. Welppp, right after signing up, my mother began her sharp decline and bombing into Boston for 2-hour blood draws and questionnaires about why I STILL wasn't getting my period proved to be too goddamn much. Plus frankly I didn't want to associate my pregnancy with cancer. Bad juju.
After my mom passed in April and the drugs had washed out we tried naturally for a few months, but shit wasn't working, and therefore not boding well for that timeframe. When we got back from our glorious(!!) trip to Italy in January, Mike and I had only 3 months before our window closed. In this time we had many conversations over how we'd be okay if we were never parents. I don't know how much of that was an emotional defense, but, it helped a little with the stress. We ditched the "natural" route and implanted two embryos in February, which turned out to be ONE WEEK before Covid shut down all non-essential procedures (IVF included). Our window would have been up, and we'd never be able to try again.
Thankfully, one of those embryos is pushing on my ribs as I type. (PS I wrote about the near non-existence of these embryos in one of my very first posts.)
Anyhooters, being preggo during quarantine has been strange (Mike waiting in the car at every appt, not really knowing what my docs look like behind their masks, me panicking over whether my boobs may still kill me and leaving my son (yes, son!) motherless, etc., etc.,) But I try, try to keep all that at bay (lots of walks!) and for the most part have been successful. Quarantine has been a bit of a blessing in that I could slow down and take care of myself and blot out the world around me when necessary. It was glorious in the early days when I was bone-tired.
I jotted down my thoughts from those days, below, if anyone has the time or interest. I mean, I don't now if anyone cares and don't blame ya if you don't, it's more for me to look back on, anyway. I do want to share some links to resources below if there's anyone reading this who's been through this or may go through it in the future, though.
Snippets from my actual "PREGGO / COVID DIARY" (yes, this is what it's titled in my iphone notes)
Early Feb [right before I got pregnant...]
So. T-minus two months till our oncology-approved baby-making window closes.
Here’s the deal: my body is uncooperative (you mean making my ovaries go to “sleep” via meds for two years means they won’t wake right back up?!) and this whole process is very bizarre and one I don’t share with many people. Of course those struggling with fertility I have a kinship with, but it kinda ends there, because for me it’s a definitely no-go zone come April and that’s that. Either we have a shot to be parents by then or we will never be (and yes I know adoption is an option, yada yada). It raises all these questions and what I’m confused by is how much I actually want it. Because I’m starting to accept the possibility it will never happen and that will be sad and frustrating (cuz the choice won’t be mine, it will be cancer’s) but we may be a-okay in the end childless. I wonder all the time, do I want a kid because I feel like I should, due to my age, due to being an outcast among most my friends? Or because I have a maternal pull (I don’t, really?!)
I may be building up an emotional defense, talking myself down so I’m not hurt come April, I don’t know. I do know I value my own health over a baby unborn. I just do. Hormones (pregnancy and otherwise) are BAD for me. Like, really bad. Like, recurrence and chaos in my boobies and body bad. “Doing everything possible to be a mom” (advice from most people) seems irresponsible for me. That would mean injecting myself unduly with harmful things and to what end? To leave a baby - if one materializes - motherless?
I guess all we can do is wait and see. And maybe, if that window closes in April, when I’m ordered to go back on those lifesaving meds, it’s best if I don’t know what I’m missing.
April [early, 2 months PREGGO, wasn't writing a lot and very superstitious about this baby miscarrying, because I'm anxious like that]
Covid-despair came today. I’d been fending it off. Keeping busy, planning my meals like they were social engagements. Only thing to look forward to. Frozen Arancini balls tonight!! Rejection from an agent. (Another one). Fears over never being able to celebrate this pregnancy or be in fear during it which will harm the baby. I hate letting the fear and despair in but here it is on this 45-mile-an-hour windy ass fuckin day with whipping rain pellets that won’t let me set foot outside without further misery. Solutions? sit at the beach in your car! go take a zoom yoga! (is there anything more depressing than zoom yoga?!) - I’m sorry, but the concept is just TOOO much. The zoom calls - I never want to hear that stupid company name ever again after this.
I have’t been writing about being pregnant at all! How remiss I’m being. Especially with all this time on my hands. I get my pregnancy thoughts out on Facebook, of all places, on my Nov 2020 babies group. We’re all going through the same thing - quarantined and pregnant (sounds like teenaged and pregnant), with our solo missions to the doctor’s office and masked interactions with ultrasound techs and staying 6 feet from the reception desk and telling about 8 people on the way in to the hospital, and on every floor and room you enter, that NO I have not come into contact with anyone with COVID and NO, I do not have any symptoms of flu or coughing etc etc etc. Ah, such is life. On the whole I’ve been absolutely okay. Aside from several miserable stretches of weather in March and April - blessedly keeping asshats inside their homes, I guess, if you want to look on the bright side, but May has been pretty delightful, sunshine-wise. I go on soooo many walks (try to sneak jogs in there too) No bump, really, just looks like I’m kinda fat in the belly.
I feel like I should add in some, like, details about what’s been going on, for posterity’s sake. WTF have I been doing?! Ok, symptoms? Fatigue for the first few weeks, and since I’m trapped at home, and the weather so terrible then, I would gladly sleep my life away for 2 hours a day at least. Distance learning is a fucking chore and so terrible and not beneficial to the kids or me or anyone…what a joke. 4 more weeks of THAT, thank god.
I knew it was a boy the ENTIRE time, I just knew it. After getting acupuncture that day, and having that crisp vision of a little towheaded boy, I think on a beach, he had some curly locks, it was so clear. I mean I dismissed the image after we found out we had twins at first, and leaned heavily on the medium lady (who technically was right, 2 little souls TRIED to enter my uterus) but one survived and he’s my little baby boy! We’re considering like 5 names but, still so long to go, for our fickle little heads to come up with excuses why one of the names sucks or what not. Right now I’m looking at the chickadees in the little birdhouse in the backyard, the little family that’s building their life, too! Cardinals back here, galore, and I’ve finally seen hummingbirds up close. They love these pink little trees.
I adore the spring so much. Its’ such a “SPRINGBOARD” for new beginnings.
I rarely get sad about my mom. I wonder why that is. It’s a bit disconcerting, actually. Why don’t I miss her more? I will say childhood memories have come to the fore a bit more, forgotten ones, of being younger. Happier ones than the shit I’ve seemed to cling to all these years, to convince myself my childhood was shit. And it wasn’t SHIT, I know that, but, it really wasn’t all that happy. My mother, how could she be happy? She was PISSED. At life. At her lot. All the time.
I will put this out in to the universe. I’m going to SELL this book — and that will lead to more books, and that will lead to more.
July 20 a3:40am
Preggo insomnia! Comes once a night for an hour or two. I’m snooogling my pregnancy pillow as I type. It’s 24 weeks yesterday - over halfway, and I’m feeling kicks right now. Or whatever. Flipping?
It’s been a glorious summer so far. One I hope I remember and appreciate.
Emotionally I’m doing great and we are happy and soaking in summer and our last sleep / independence filled days.
I’m writing a brand new draft of the Sham after that tough feedback. I listen to On Writing again, his words ringing truer than ever, in hopes I’m getting things right this round. Aiming to keep momentum and doubts at bay and to revise a true second draft (NOT as I go!) and to steam ahead with this before the baby comes. Joy is writing daily with no obligations. Joy. And not forever with this new baby...
School up in the air for fall. Covid is insane and everyone is insane and opinionated and parroting fears and political talking points and the disease is insane and unpredictable so wtf is everyone supposed to do? NO ONE KNOWS. And let me tell ya that concept drives people NUTS. Buncha control freaks if you ask me.
What a time to be pregnant but also a great time. Everything has slowed. People will look back on this as a blessing to have been forced to slow the fuck down.
One more month of peace before school madness. Four until labor! Nursery stuff planned but not here. Shower in a month. Wonder how many will go..maybe few.
Sad sometimes. No mom to see me be a mom. It’ll hit me hard later, I know. I hope I don’t get PPD too badly. Or at all, if I can swing that.