I feel him move for the first time at 756pm on September 24. My miracle baby. I am in love and so happy.
Today (10.13) I have my first big structural ultrasound. I'm 19 weeks pregnant and have gone through 2 rounds of chemo. Dr. Silverman's office is packed. I'm in for a wait. After about 30 minutes I realize my heart is pounding. I also realize it's pounding not because I'm irritated that I've been waiting almost an hour (although I am, just a little) but because I'm so nervous about this ultrasound. In my heart I just know that Miracle is okay, but given the onslaught of beyond shitty news I've received lately, I can't help but be nervous that I'm wrong. I certainly am getting bigger so I assume he is too, but I won't be relieved until I hear Dr. Silverman tell me that Miracle is perfect.
And he does. Miracle is a miracle. As Dr. Silverman navigates the ultrasound to inspect every inch of Miracle's body, he tells me how pleased he is with his heart and his brain and his spine looks perfect. He has 2 hands and 2 feet, each with 5 digits. No cleft lip (I wonder who cares about that, but still it's a relief. Boris and I wonder out loud if anyone aborts when they find one, and he tells us that some people do. I'm shocked. "I guess everyone is entitled to their choice, right?" I ask. Dr. Silverman replies that unless a certain governor from Alaska has her way, yes.). Dr. Silverman looks at me and smiles and says "you have nothing to be concerned about at this point. He's doing just great." I tell Dr. Silverman that I call Miracle "Miracle or Warrior," and Dr. Silverman agrees. "He's doing it," he says. Then he tells me how pleased he is to see me looking so great and tolerating treatment so well.
A week later I get my results back from the state mandated AFP blood test for spina bifida. My numbers are great and there's no concern there either. Now I'm 24 weeks pregnant and just saw Dr. Ottavi. Miracle is doing great. He's even a little big for his age. I have my next appointment with Dr. Silverman next week and will hope for the continued good news. I will have undergone 4 rounds of chemo and if there's going to be growth issues, we'll start to see them now. I used to joke that I'd be happy with a smaller baby given that Miles was over 9 pounds and I actually feared exploding, but now I'm hoping that my proclivity for breeding giant babies continues. When it comes to Miracle, the news seems to only be good and I'll hope it stays that way.
In the meantime, I can feel him moving more and more which is exciting and comforting. Often I'm so focused on cancer that I forget I'm pregnant. I'm so consumed with fear and sadness and treatment and side effects and 9879878792 doctors' appointments that have nothing to do with pregnancy. He usually gives me a little kick in one of my forgetful or depressed moments and I'll rub my belly and thank him for the reminder. And just when I start to freak out that I haven't felt him in what feels like too long, he gives me a reassuring nudge. I can feel him most at night, mostly because I think I'm so busy during the day. My favorite moments are when I'm getting Miles ready for bed. I still give Miles one bottle at night, not because he won't drink out of a cup, but because it's the only 5 minutes he snuggles with me. I'm going to give him that bottle until he's 12. Miles lies quietly with me, stroking my face or arm, or holding my hand, and I can feel Miracle busily moving around. Both my boys and me. It usually brings me to tears (not that that's hard to do these days). I tell Miles that's his baby brother in my belly. Of course Miles has no concept of pregnancy or brother, but he'll often smile and pat my belly (I think more because of his recent fascination with my ever disappearing belly button, but still, it's sweet) and will say "baby."
I often forget I'm pregnant when I'm out as well because I'm so focused on whether my wig is going to fly off, or if people know it's a wig or if I'm wearing my hair pieces with a scarf whether people think I'm auditioning for Rock of Love. Then someone will come up to me and ask when I'm due. If I'm with Miles, they'll raise an eyebrow and tell me that I'm crazy or that I'm going to have my hands full with 2 boys under 2. So sweet of them to share their unsolicited and unappreciated opinions. If they only knew that I'm going to have 2 boys under 2 while undergoing 12 weekly rounds of chemo, possibly 28 rounds of radiation, a double-mastectomy and reconstruction....they might keel over. I might too.
I was lamenting to my therapist that there is so much bad shit going on that I'm not enjoying my pregnancy the way I want to. Cancer has made me realize what a gift pregnancy is and how lucky I am to be pregnant. Although I'm hopeful that I will have more children, whether the chemo will destroy my ovaries is unknown. I have been told that I have a 40-60% chance of going through menopause after chemo. But even if my fertility is decreased maybe it will take me a month or two to get pregnant instead of 1 day. Boris would be thrilled. Although he was excited to find out I was pregnant with Miracle, he did tell me that part of him had hoped that this time we'd have to have sex more than once before I was pregnant.
My therapist suggested taking time each day "attune" with Miracle. I told her I talk to him all the time, but I usually end up apologizing to him for less than optimal womb conditions. She reminds me how well he's doing and that I'm not only eating for two, but filtering for two as well. "You're protecting him and he's protecting you," she says. "Look how well you're doing. You don't think that he's doing just as well? You think it's a coincidence that pregnant women have fewer side effects to chemo? Or that your doctors are telling you that your baby is perfect and healthy and growing and that every woman you've spoken to who has done this before you has given birth to a perfect, healthy baby? You are both miracles and you are both warriors (I've started calling Miracle "Miracle Warrior" since he is kicking ass)."
So now I try to take a few minutes each day to tell my Miracle Warrior how much I love him and how fucking amazing and strong he is and that I'm doing everything in my power to protect him. And when he gives me a nudge or a kick I smile and pat my belly and if I'm with Miles I put his little hand on my belly and we look at each other and grin.