It’s the holidays and a time when most people are feeling nostalgic. I am right alongside these people and it definitely doesn’t help that I’m eight months pregnant with my third baby and dealing with an array of emotions. My husband and I have been together for twelve years and have been married for ten. We are about to have a total of four children in just a few short weeks and I’m about to birth my third and final baby. I’ve said I’ve wanted four children since the day my husband and I got married, and it was just a stroke of luck when I met him and he already had a son who I loved so much.
We had our first baby boy together in May of 2015 and everything was great. We experienced the amazing time of the newborn phase of my son growing into a little boy and our oldest becoming a brother for the first time.
We knew we wanted more kids but we had plenty of time, right?
The next summer, after a handful of symptoms prompted him to do so, my husband went to his primary care doctor for a routine check up and his labs were very concerning. We got a call the next day to go meet with an oncologist which ultimately ended in a cancer diagnosis. How? He was thirty. This didn’t happen to 30-year-old healthy men right?
Our world turned upside down.
I kept thinking, “We should have more time.” It was without a doubt the scariest time of my life. After a week-long stay in the hospital, he was given a diagnosis of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia which is extremely rare for men his age to be diagnosed with. Basically, this type of cancer manifests in the blood forming cells of the bone marrow and causes the body to attack itself. We had to go through the ups and downs of trying medications to control it and all the trial and error that comes with that. His doctors told him that with his medications, we would probably not be able to have any more children. After a cancer diagnosis, you don’t really think about the repercussions of that kind of statement; we were just so thankful that he was going to be ok. If we couldn’t have more kids, it was no big deal as we had two already and if he was going to be fine, we were going to get through it.
Flash-forward to a couple years later: a lot of my friends and coworkers, who I was pregnant with the first time around, were starting to have their second babies and I was feeling every emotion. My husband’s cancer was manageable at this point and he’d been doing very well. I was so incredibly thankful for his health but also had a sense of guilt for being upset that I couldn’t have any more children. When that chance is taken away from you without your consent, it’s the most out of control experience. I started to do some research and found an online support group for wives of husband’s with CML. I saw a lady whose husband was diagnosed with almost the same type of cancer and they went on to have two beautiful babies after the diagnosis. She guided me in the right direction and after talking with my OBGYN, my husband’s doctor, and a fetal endocrinologist, we were told that it was perfectly safe to try again! We were ELATED. Something we thought was stripped away was given back to us and we were so excited for a chance at another baby.
In 2019, we got pregnant with our daughter, we did all the genetic testing, and were very cautious to make sure there was nothing that could have caused her harm from my husband’s chemotherapy medication. She was born in June of 2020 perfectly healthy! She is such a blessing and a little miracle baby. We were so thankful for her to join our family and she’s been the sweetest addition.
Now, it’s 2023 and we are pregnant again with our fourth, a baby boy who we’ve decided will be our last. It was a choice we made on our own without doctors deciding and this has brought me a lot of comfort. However, it’s still hard knowing that everything I’m going through now is the last. The last time I’ll be pregnant, the last time I’ll give birth, the last firsts of a brand new baby. People don’t warn you about how that feels. I am so ready to meet our new little guy and the end of pregnancy is exhausting for any mom, but it definitely hits harder at 33 than it did for my first pregnancy at 24. However, I am trying to slow down and not wish the end of pregnancy away, but rather enjoy these last moments my body will go through this experience. I feel like we’ve been given such an incredible gift that we didn’t think we’d have for a long time and that’s definitely something to stop and savor.
This year, going into the holidays, our family is experiencing some big changes. We all have these moments, whether it’s a new baby, new house, or just the end of one year and the beginning of the next. What I’m taking away from this experience is to try to not get annoyed by the lack of sleep or the constant kicks in the ribs, but rather to enjoy the end of this pregnancy as we welcome our new baby into the world in the coming months. I want to make sure I’m remembering and appreciating all his first cries, cuddles, and his first smiles.