Our Journey

2002 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #1

2003 1st consult with an RE, you know, just in case

2003 Got Married (at 37 (me) & 34 (DH) years old)

2003/2004 Naturally conceived pregnancies BFPs #1, #2, & #3 and miscarriages #1, #2, #3

2005 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #2

2005 IVF #1, BFN #1

2005 IUIs #1 and #2, just because, BFN #2 & #3

2005 FET from IVF #1, BFN #4

2006 Exploratory surgery to remove scar tissue from fibroid sugery #2

2006 IVF #2 (w PGD), BFP #4

2006 Emergency cerclage for IC @ 16w6d (5 months + 1 week of complete bed rest at home ensues)

2007 Our son is born @ 38w by scheduled c-section

2007 IVF #3 for baby #2, BFN #5

2007 IVF #4, BFP #5, miscarriage #4

2008 IVF #5, BFP #6, miscarriage #5

2008 IVF #6, BFP #7, miscarriage #6

2008 DE IVF #7, BFN #6

2009 DEFET #8, cancelled, embryos don't thaw

2010 Decide to adopt domestically

12.17.10 Profile is live with our agency

November 2011 Consult with RE re: donated embryo cycle

Early January 2012 Cleared to proceed with deFET

January 2012 Freeze our profile

1.20.12 deFET begins
2.12.12 eSET of one compacted morula
2.22.12 BFN

3.23.12 deFET #2 begins
4.14.12 transfer 3 embryos (1-8 cell, 1-5 cell, 1-4 cell)
4.22.12 + HPT
4.24.12 Beta #1 = 48.4
4.26.12 Beta #2 = 125.7
4.30.12 Beta #3 = 777.8
5.11.12 1st U/S - Singleton!
7.12.12 It's a Boy!
12.26.12 C-section: Baby G is born, 9#5oz, 20.5"

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Young Mothers Who are Dying

Even though I am struggling with depression and the myriad things that might be causing it, I am grateful for my overall good health. At 47, aside from thyroid disease for which I take daily maintenance medications, my health is good. As someone who was once in a 3/4 body cast for 9 months and then in a wheel chair and on crutches for many more months as I re-learned to walk and as someone who spent 26 weeks almost fully confined to bed during my pregnancy with my first son, it is never far from my thoughts how grateful I am to be mobile, to do what I want when I want and to have my body cooperate.

I think that perspective is one of life’s many great gifts. To either be faced with something that teaches us deep and meaningful things about ourselves or to bear witness to that in the lives of others, helps inform us about our own life and how we live it.

Given that my mother and I have always had a strained relationship (and, yes, I mean always. Since I was little, my mother never endeavored to get to know me and never adjusted her parenting style in a way that worked with the child I was. We were always at odds; it was a relationship I remember as being contentious, especially after my brother died), female mentors played a significant role in my life. My maternal grandmother, who lived to be 90 and died in 2005 was one of my greatest champions. She loved me unconditionally and taught me so much about life (how to back and cook some of her signature dishes, what was important (honesty) and what wasn’t (putting on airs).

There were two other women that I considered great mentors: my friend’s mother, S, a single mom who lived two doors down from us, and the president and CEO of the company I worked for, D. In addition to being women that I looked up to, went to for guidance, and shared things that I’d never thought to utter to another living soul, they shared one other important trait: they both died young of cancer, S from pancreatic cancer when she was 56, leaving behind one college bound daughter, and D of breast cancer at 42, leaving behind two elementary school aged daughters.

As they both had such influential roles at distinct stages in my life, S during childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, and D throughout my early and mid career, I considered myself to be close to them, like family. Bearing witness to their decline as their diseases ravaged their bodies had a profound impact on how I viewed life. I lost two of my greatest loves when they died. I credit both with grounding me, instilling confidence in me, helping to create my strong sense of self, and teaching me compassion. Both were mothers to me in their own way and to a girl who needed mothering, I was so grateful that the universe saw to it that our paths cross in the way that they did and dearly miss them both.

I follow the blog of Lisa Bonchek Adams, a 43 year old mother of three young children, who is dying of metastatic breast cancer after first being diagnosed 6 years ago. She writes directly and poignantly about fighting to live with a disease that is killing her. Her writing is often raw and hard to read yet I am compelled to do so because, as a mother, what is happening to her is one of my great fears, that I would die and leave my children. I owe it to her to bear witness to her life and death.

Today, she profiled another mother, Jen Smith, who is a single mother in her 30s of a 6 year old son, who is also dying of cancer. Jen, too, writes powerfully about her life knowing she is going to die, and now, having entered hospice, knowing she is closer than she has ever been.

I am driven to share their stories here because I have learned so much about living through them. Yes, we all have our daily challenges, struggles and strife and many of us have health conditions that we live with and that likely affect our quality of life, but to be a mother and know you are dying cuts to the core of what matters in life and gives me a perspective like nothing else can. I hope you’ll take a moment to read their stories, follow their journeys, and hold them and their families in your warm thoughts. Together, our collective consciousness can lift them up.

I am learning to cut myself some slack, to let go of being so hard on myself, and to practice what I preach in terms of ‘being’ more with my children. I have but this one life that I am so fortunate to get to live it every day. I will likely be the biggest influence in my sons’ lives, and I get a front row seat to the every day glory that they are without knowing with certainty that I have only days, weeks, or months left to live. I owe it to them and to myself to be as present as I can.

I dedicate this post to both Lisa and Jen who have taught me so much about living through their dying. I am holding them both in comforting and loving thoughts and extend my gratitude to two mothers I have never met for showing me what a gift each day with my children and in my life is.

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