Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Upside of Stubborn

I’ve read, and I know to be true, that after experiencing a stillbirth, people have very different reactions. Some never want to think about being pregnant, and taking that chance at heartbreak again. Some are damaged, or traumatized into paralysis and devolve into chemical dependency or plain old anger, many divorce, some get plain looney, some spend the rest of their life "honoring" that child, and some refuse to take no for an answer. I fell into the last camp. My daughter will haunt my heart until my last day, but from the minute I lost her I began planning and plotting for another baby. Losing that baby made me so clear on what I wanted and the meaning of life and what was important and how life was a gift, all those nauseatingly corny things, true, true, true. I learned to take nothing for granted {that’s why cancer is so redundant}. I wanted to adopt, but there were roadblocks and my spouse was soundly in a different camp. Every night I laid in bed dreaming of the day I would bring my baby home, how it would feel to nurse her, hold her in my arms. Time passed, nothing happened and the fertility docs said I’d resoundingly flunked. My FSH was high which meant no more eggs, no more babies, fertility drugs would be useless, there was nothing to ovulate. I went for a second opinion to a really nice guy who headed the fertility dept. at Women & Infants and he said that having a baby for me was a million to one chance, that I’d have a better chance of winning the lottery and I just couldn’t plan my life around having another baby {oh, those statistics}. In effect, I was told that I had 100% chance of never having another baby.

Maybe I was insane at the time, but not for one minute did I accept that I wouldn’t have another baby {despite the statistics}. I’m not usually the denial type, in fact, I absolutely suck at denial, but for not a single night did I go to sleep thinking about anything other than my sweet future baby. I obsessed over names, not infertility, I designed baby announcements in my head, her first birthday party, I liked the name Diana, for the warrior. I spent more money on pregnancy tests than I care to admit and I always did them a little too early, I was so desperate for a line. I’m sure friends felt sorry for me, and thought I was nuts, but have I mentioned my son Jonah? My beloved? My soulmate? My sweet baby boy? The only thing I got wrong was the gender which he cleared up for me about 4 months along by sending me the most powerful burst of boy energy and from there on in his name was Jonah, my sweet Jonah.

I don’t believe in god, or fairies, or miracles, I believe that I willed that child into existence. I believe perhaps we are more powerful than we know, and I also know that I could not have lived the rest of my life without that baby, I could not, would not take no for an answer, I guess I can be stubborn. I needed and wanted that baby in a way I can’t describe. Once you give birth and leave the hospital with nothing in your arms, when you go home to an empty nursery and pile of pink jammies, things change, everything changes. And when that day you go home happens to be the fourth of July and you can hear people celebrating and shooting off fireworks all around you well into the night, well, maybe you just throw down, maybe grief makes you a warrior, makes you relentless.

And then the odyssey of the pregnancy and one diagnosis after another. Hydrocephalus, brain damage, placental problems {this part was true}, for a good bit, my doctors didn’t think he’d reach viability, but I did. I knew him, and I knew he was spunky and he is, in fact, the most stubborn person I’ve ever met which I guess is my fault because he was the product of my sheer stubbornness.

Seven weeks early and didn’t even need a respirator, he could breathe on his own. Tangled intestines meant major surgery at 4lbs and a day old but afterwards he could pull his nose tube out hand over hand. I wouldn't believe that possible had I not seen it with my own eyes, I was so proud of him. Five weeks in the NICU and has barely been sick a day in his life. Brain damaged, oh I think not. The cleverest, most creative character I have ever met, as well as the oldest soul with the truest, kindest heart. Ever.

So I figure if I can will that to happen, then I can will my body into being a place where cancer no longer grows. I can will myself into seeing my kids grow up. I do not accept cancer, I do not accept these odds anymore than I accepted the odds of ever holding a baby in my arms. I’ve been looking for a doctor that will give me different odds, but suddenly I realize the odds are what I make of them and I have decided with all my heart and soul that I will not be the one that relapses, I will not die of cancer, not in the near future anyway. I am cancer-free, I will remain cancer free, that’s just the way it’s going to be. I haven’t allowed myself to look into the future because it breaks my heart, but not anymore, I’m going to dream of graduations and weddings and all those happy things. I’ll live in the moment and look into the future with anticipation and I will that into reality, just like I willed my baby into being. I will think about my future every night the way I used to think about my baby, but outwardly, I’m moving on, I’m getting out of cancertown, I don't want to be a cancer groupie, I'm not going to wear pink and go to pep rallies and walks for awareness. I’ll do what I can do, I’ll exercise, I’ll keep drinking those green smoothies and most importantly, I’ll be happy because I think that’s the healthiest thing anyone can do. I'm taking over, I'm the new boss of me, not these doctors and not these statistics, I tet it, I finally get it.


  1. "I'm taking over" <---I love that.

  2. Bam. Powerful as hell. Thanks Kim...

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  4. omg. i can't believe this post got spammed! can you get that ass banned from blogspot?

    anyway... loved the post. love the attitude. love you.

    and for those who don't know, you made that house happen too. it's not a child or a cure, but it was a damn big effort.

  5. a few of them have been spammed... autobots...sometimes you can find the particular word or phrase in your post that a robot spammer picked up on out of context to think you are something you're not... it's kind of creepy.