I’ve been cleared for tomorrow’s chemo. I should feel excited or grateful or something, but I just feel pretty anxious. This is the final round. PHEW. I feel anxious knowing what I’m walking into, yet trying to remind myself that the meds they gave me last time worked wonders and I have no reason to think that that won't also be true tomorrow too. During Round 1 I thought I was “great” and it wasn’t til I was done taking the meds did I realize I couldn’t remember anything from the week. Except for ordering thinly sliced ham at the deli counter at Whole Foods?? I was really craving a ham sandwich...
So let this be a warning, don’t hold me accountable for anything for the next 7 days. If we talk, I probably won’t remember. If I don’t text back, don’t take it personal. If I overzealously commit to anything, chances are you’ll need to ask me again next week😂Maybe next Monday, we can recap the week prior and you can tell me how it went?!
But seriously, please hold hope alongside me that the week goes as seamless as the Round 1 when I really only had a terrible day 6. I keep reminding myself that this is the last time and when I’m 3 weeks out of Round 2 (like today), I’ll be done!!
My largest hesitation next week is my diet. I successfully maintained my weight this week entirely on liquids. It’s was HARD. But, I think I found a groove and am hoping to maintain weight as long as possible. But with chemo in the mix and my mind not as clear, that will mean lots of planning and help at home. Fingers crossed. My goal is to not lose more than 10 pounds during treatment. So far, I’ve only lost 2. I’m proud of me. That’s pretty darn good. And I keep envisioning all the delicious meals next month...or the month after when I’m able to eat normally again.
Fun fact: radiation affects my salivary glands (amongst other things) and sipping water all day is mandatory. My mouth is dry....and mucous-y gross and the mouth sores make most anything difficult. But today when my cousin opened her salad, the pepperoncinis made my mouth WATER...so much so that Chris may or may not have caught me smelling a jar to get the juices rolling! Whatever works!! I can’t wait to eat again...
Separate from what’s to come, after my blood draw today my girlfriend took me to meet the boys at a pumpkin patch and I was able to watch them play for a short while. It’s moments like those that keep me focused and moving forward. The sweet breaks from counting calories, blending foods, checking mouth sores and keeping track of medications. I can’t wait to watch them trick or treat at Halloween and by then, this treatment will be a memory. Not a distant one yet, but completed at least on Friday, October 26th. I have been told the recovery is more brutal than the treatment itself but at least the days will be clicking ahead...
One day at a time.
And today was a good day.
Here’s to tomorrow. Let’s get Round 2 done, too!!
I have always (in my adult years) believed that these two cannot reside in the same space, they are opposite forces so you cannot hold one if you are in the midst of another. Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real and Faith is the ability believe in something that you cannot yet see. Both are beliefs, both require a ton of energy.
I have tried, am trying, and will continue to try to sit in faith that all is well with this baby. It is my constant struggle. I feel this baby move in my belly and I want to believe with all my heart that there is nothing but perfection growing inside me which I know to be true because my other two babies were also perfection. But, then again, one of my perfect babies died.
The fear that lives inside my soul runs deeper than I can explain in words. My daughter whom I carried under my heart and in my arms, who I loved and love, died as we held her. It is terrifying, it is overwhelming, it is nothing I want to re-live ever again. And so, for the most part, my fear is best kept at bay. When it rises, I work through it. When I know I am being neurotic, unreasonable and illogical I acknowledge that I am experiencing fear and process it, giving honor to the work that I have done on my heart while also accepting that this work may never fully be done. How could you ever be done processing that your child has died? You can't. You absolutely can be healthy and live in this world again and even find joy in your heart again, but there is no understanding or rationalizing the death of your baby.
In normal life, I can manage. I can talk myself out of the irrational fears that I hold regarding Reid and the potential unsafe situations that could befall him. I remind myself that he is safe and I do not project my fear into him, that is my burden to bear, not his to carry. But this pregnancy, as was with Reid's, is traumatic in ways that I wish I never had to experience, both for me and this baby.
Being pregnant when your baby has died, is like being in the same car accident and knowing the outcome but expecting different results. It is putting your whole faith and trust into something that you have already bet on but lost, and hoping that this time is different. It's truly not fair. Not for me and not for this baby.
I am spending the last days of this pregnancy wanting this baby to arrive so fervently that I am not even enjoying the miracle that this life brings. I love being pregnant, I even love giving birth and I am letting my fear steal that joy from me. This is my last baby, I want to savor this time, these kicks, these special moments that I hold this baby before anyone else in the world gets to meet him/her. I already know this baby, right now this baby is mine and soon enough I will have to share and I want to treasure this special time. But, I also need to acknowledge aloud that this fear is real.
I wish that others could acknowledge this fear with me. I am tired of the check-ins and small talk of this pregnancy. The daily messages that are innocent and kind but ultimately feel stressful. It's not that I don't appreciate them, I am just tired, also anxious, emotional and hormonal. I am anxious, too... Yes, I am huge. No, I am not overdue. Of course, I am ready. All that chitter chatter just mounts my anxiety of the real words that I want to hear.
"I am scared, too."
"I hold the space for you."
"I am hoping for life with you."
"I don't know if it will be ok, but I love you."
I am not (really) physically uncomfortable. I am not "over" this pregnancy yet. If I could be certain that the outcome is positive then I would actually want a little more time in this sacred place of growing a human. But ultimately, I just want to know that this baby will survive delivery and be healthy to live a long life that we have imagined in our family. I also want to feel sane. Not be reassured that everything will be ok when there is not one person (other than this baby) who can know that for sure. And for that, I must wait.
As we have been for months, I am still waiting....
Hidden in that space of wanting you here so badly is the fear. The fear that you are too large for my body to birth, the fear that I will not open enough for you to fit, the fear of you being unhealthy or dying. I am walking a tightrope of faith and fear right now.
Strangers ask me 100 questions that the billboard of my belly cannot answer so it fills this empty void of silence everywhere; in a grocery store, the bank, the pool, the gym, the locker room shower.
"How may weeks are you?"
"Is this your first?"
"Do you know the gender?"
All questions that I am curious to know when I stumble upon a beautiful pregnant mama, but in my life I have learned to smile at her while silently wishing her peace and a living and healthy baby.
It's not that these questions are anything but naive conversation, but it forces me to be taken out of the present moment to be thrusted into the future, a place that is not guaranteed.. Living in the present is the only space I have control over and any thoughts to this baby's birth and imagining baby at home feel like dejavu, and propels me back to the time in my life where pregnancy equaled life with a baby at home & quite honestly to remember that space traumatizes me.
It's so difficult for others to picture a glimpse into this time, the weight of it, how keeping my composure is a moment by moment task. But I am here, I am present, I am working minute by minute to prepare my body, mind and soul the job that lay ahead, labor and delivery.
My heart is ready for you sweet baby. My chests longs to feel the weight of your beating heart, and I am scared. I am scared I won't get to keep you. I am scared that something is wrong or that your birth will be harmful. What I want to feel is full faith that I am capable to birth you, that you will fit my body perfectly and that you are as anxious to meet me as I am to meet you. .
These waiting days are hard. I have survived the worst, I am waiting to celebrate the best. I hope it's my turn to experience a peaceful delivery this time.
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.