Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pregnant and Husband has Cancer

Ryan, Talitha and I -- she's one week old!
I will admit it: I am baby crazy.

I love seeing babies. I love holding babies. And I just cannot get enough of babies, babies, babies.

The day I gave birth to Talitha three years ago I said to Ryan in a not-so-compromising voice, "We MUST have another baby!"

He gently reminded me of all I'd gone through a few hours previous to that moment, and I completely dismissed him.

I'd made up my mind. And once that happens, there's almost no turning back.

I'm pretty sure that my picture is featured in the dictionary right next to the word "persistent." Although, some may think it needs to be featured near other words like, crazy, impulsive, and didn't think this through. We will stick with 'persistent' about this topic and debate about the others in another blog post. (Maybe.)

So, off I went to make plans for another child in our lives last September, which we all know didn't work out as I'd planned.

But it made my resolution to bring another little one into our family all the more intense.

Some people might say women in this situation - that is, the situation of being almost 40 and having their biological clocks CLANGING LOUDLY in their ears every moment of every day - are desperate but I like to think of them (and myself) as having an intense desire or being resolved better.

I prayed about it. I asked friends and family about it. I Googled about it. Then, I started to answer all the questions that nagged at me for years. Here is a sampling of those questions, because, frankly if I listed all of the questions it would not help you like me:

1) With Cancer in our lives - is that the best decision for our family? See this blog for some really, really helpful clues in this area. Keep in mind this couple didn't have any kids to begin with, so it was a different scenario than mine. But good food for thought, nonetheless.

2) What if it didn't work? I already knew the pain of 6 years of infertility and miscarriage. But this was different.

3) What have other people in my situation done? I like what Brooke Filson wrote on this thread about her thoughts when she was pregnant and her husband had Cancer.

And of course, over the years, there were many, many other questions I processed.

In the end, Ryan and I decided to give it one more shot through in vitro last March.

And praise God --  it worked!!!

Please pray for us as we prepare for our newest blessing set to arrive, Lord willing, the day after Thanksgiving this year!

Baby Waters 2.0, Due on 11/27/15

Psalm 127:3English Standard Version (ESV)

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.

Monday, June 1, 2015

God's Will be Done

Why am I so sad, today? I asked myself.

What is it that is bringing my grief about Ryan's Cancer to life?

In the past, it's always been something connected to another sad event.

I had to go back in order to move forward.

My first major loss experience was when my first dog died.

I was seven.

A few days after Red's death, we strolled through the pet cemetery but I didn't shed a tear. Yet that night, after being tucked into bed by my Mom, I started sobbing.

"Reginald is never coming back, is he?" I questioned loudly to my Mom.

"No, he's not," she said softly.

"And Edmund is never going to change, is he?" I asked as I cried even harder, my voice echoing off the walls.

It was the realization of the permanence of my brother's disability from Down syndrome that hurt my little heart much more than the loss of my pet.

In some ways, that ache is still there, but it has moved into a settled sense of acceptance, coupled with a longing that wants to see it made right.

Red's death was a gateway to grieve the loss of having a "normal" family with a mentally "whole" brother who would one day grow up and have a life and family of his own to become a part of.

Life isn't fair.

Although many, many other losses took place over the years, it wasn't until Ryan was diagnosed with Cancer when we were both in our mid-thirties that I felt the familiar aching sting of lacking control over circumstances that hurt my heart.

But I didn't grieve this profound loss right away.

It wasn't until my Mom's death almost two years ago that I was finally able to open up to the hurt that Ryan's Cancer was etching on my heart...

...a year and a half after his diagnosis.

But, today? Why am I sad about Ryan being sick, today?

Then it hit me:

June 1st was my due date. 

I was supposed to have another baby, today.

Before my miscarriage last September, I'd lost 3 other embryos. But none of them "took." They just "fell out" when we put them in my womb during the in vitro process.

But that baby in September was prayed for by many, wanted and desired more than anything. Ryan and I were both so sure it was going to work!

I was thrilled and extremely grateful that I was pregnant, but at the same time, knew it was completely different than my pregnancy with Talitha.

Something was terribly wrong from the start.

And as fast as I found out I was pregnant, by the end of September my doctor informed me I wasn't anymore.

Today, as I grieve for that baby I will never give birth to...

...I also grieve our seemingly permanent cancer situation and what it's done to our family's future.

It's not over until the fat angel sings, our pastor says.

Another pastor reminded me yesterday that Ryan should have been gone months, if not years ago.

God is holding Ryan, and you, Anna, in His hands in all this, he said.

I know I am not alone in all of this.

I also grieve over others walking the all too similar path we are - with their family members.

And I grieve for those whose loved ones have already passed on because of Cancer's effects.

As I mourn the loss of a future that looks a lot more different than how I think it should and pray to the God who holds my uncertain future in His hands, I am struck by Jesus' words at the cross:

...Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.