I never wanted to be pregnant. I wasn’t one of those women who dreamed of the spouse and 2.5 kids. To me,” having it all” entail a premium Netflix subscription, living close to a subway station and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Yes, I know, I define the bar high. But those puppies are very cute, though they do shed a lot.
So when I started writing a dating column for Conde Nast’s now defunct JANE magazine, I didn’t expect to meet the love of my life. But on blind date number I-don’t- know-what, at my favorite coffee shop in NYC( 71 Irving in Gramercy, go there !), I fulfilled my best friend. Very cheesy, but so true.
We dated, moved in together, and three years later were saying “I do” in a Ukrainian Catholic Church in Toronto. We wore crowns, a Ukie tradition. Our own little Royal Wedding, well, with 15 guests and a priest who wore leather sandals, but you catch my drift.
While I adored my husband and the life we were house together, I wasn’t sold on the baby thing. But my husband, he was born to be a father. And when I assured him with our friends’ kids, my heart melted. Everyone’s did. He’s this super intense guy who sometimes struggles to make eye contact but get him around kids and he’s as relaxed and playful as can be.
When I got pregnant a few years later, I was frightened, but so excited to be going through this with him. And, much to my surprise, pregnancy rocked. All those things I dreaded — like swollen feet, massive weight gain and serious mood swings — never happened. In fact, I was so happy being pregnant, I almost, ALMOST wished I could do it longer.( Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t bonkers; I wanted to see my feet again , not to mention be able to shave my lady bits .) It was just so much better than anything I could have ever imagined. And I was good at it. Not to mention having this little human in our lives was actually growing on me.( Growing on me, throwing up on me, potayto, potahto .)
Anyhow, once our son was nine months old, my husband and I started to discuss having newborn number two. It was also around this time that I stopped breastfeeding. My son was an early teether and let me say to you, I was more than a little over the bite-marks-on-the-nipple look.
And that’s when I detected it.
The thing that no girl ever wants to find — a lump.
A few weeks later, my worst fears were confirmed. Breast cancer. The days and weeks after were quite possibly the worst of my life. Exams, more tests, and then finally the double mastectomy, which would at last remove my deadly miniature mounds. The surgery wasn’t too bad, chiefly because I was so relieved to have those sinister cells out of me. However, with cancer, there is always a risk of a stray cell veering off and settling into another area of your body, waiting for the right time and conditions to grow.
The pathology report on my particular tumor determined that my cancer fertilizer was estrogen. As such, hormonal therapy was my best line of defense. This has included monthly injections putting me into menopause as well as daily anti-estrogen pills. And while these meds are critical to my therapy and prevention of a recurrence, taking them also means I can’t get pregnant.
Luckily, if you can believe this, decades ago my husband and I froze our embryo. We had recently settled in Toronto and I had just read an article about baby back-up plans for women in their 30 s wanting to put over pregnancy. So off to the clinic we went to create some babies-to-be where they currently remain, safely stored on ice. Thus, our dreamings of having another biological child are still within our reach.
As such, we have started the process of discovering a surrogate. I’ve been working on our bios for the application and we just recorded a “Meet Us” video to help entice a great surrogate to select us, altogether getting major flashbacks to my column writing days and the online dating profiles I scrolled through. “Couple go looking for surrogate to carry newborn. Non-smokers only. Vegans preferred.” I’m just kidding, I would never deny my unborn child meat and cheese.
Joking aside, this will be an awesome journey that’s sure to test the limits of our relationship. Not to mention it’s going to be an incredibly expensive and stressful process, one that in all integrity may not work. Once we find a surrogate she might be able to are pregnant or successfully carry their own children to term.
But we have hope.
Breast cancer is not going to take that away from us. And while it’s not exactly how we thought we would grow our family, if we’re successful, and we get our number two, we’ll be amongst the luckiest mothers in the world. Because sometimes a detour takes you to the place you always wanted to go.
Very cheesy, but so true.
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