The Journey To My First Child......

August 27, 2008

....Nicolas Anthony(A Very Long, But Memorable Story)
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A little over 11 years ago, I was buying my first home, with my then boyfriend, soon to be husband,(now ex-husband)Scott. It was a very exciting time in our lives, we were somewhat young and happy to be in a position to live in a house instead of renting an apartment. We were planning a wedding in the near future but there was no firm date set.

When we were least expecting it, I became pregnant! It did come as quite a shock to us, but as I always say, never question God's master plan......things happen for a reason. We decided to get a jump on the wedding because we both wanted to be married before our child was born. My Mom and I planned a wedding in less than 3 months and we were married in Sept of 1997.

Both of us were extremely excited about being in a new home, a new marriage and having a brand new baby on the way......no one could have prepared us for the life changing circumstances that we were about to be face.

A week after our wedding, I had an ultrasound and found out I was having a baby boy.....we were so excited.........we got a glowing report from the doctor that said he was a very healthy little boy with 10 fingers and 10 toes! I breathed a huge sigh of relief to know that everything was moving according to schedule! As soon as we let our family know we were about to give birth to a beautiful little boy, the major shopping began.....our first child, my parents first grandchild....enough said!!

Shortly after we found out that we were having a boy we painfully played the name game.....it took maybe two weeks and then we both agreed.....Nicolas Anthony!

A couple weeks later I went in for a routine check up.....they saw a spot on my cervix and ran some tests.....no one said too much, but I do remember the look on the doctor's face as I left the office.

The following week I got a phone call......"The Phone Call".....I will never forget this day as long as I live....I was home alone and my Mom was on her way over to have dinner with me, it was the week of Thanksgiving and my husband was hunting up at his families cabin, 1 hour North of us with no cell phone service.......The nurse called and asked me to hold on the line for the doc, he told me that I had Cervical Cancer......they had arranged for me to meet with an Oncologist, and a Neonatologist. My head was spinning at this point and the only thing I heard was "CANCER" honestly I hung up the phone and had two dates written on a piece of paper but I had no idea what it meant.....I paced back and forth for what seemed like hours, but it was only minutes. I kept looking out the front door for my Mom to pull up......I finally saw her car coming down the street and I went running down the drive way....I was half screaming half crying trying to explain to her what I had just been told!

The next couple of weeks were a complete blur to me, but the outcome was that I could not be treated for the cancer until I gave birth to my son, so collectively, my OBGYN, Oncologist, and Neonatologist had to decide what was in the best interest for me and my unborn child!

Everyone was in total agreement that I would not deliver naturally, it was too risky, I needed to have a C-Section. They also decided that it was too risky to let me go full term because they had no idea how invasive the cancer was at this point. So the next question was, "How early do we schedule her C-Section"

At 30 weeks I started going for a weekly Amniocentesis. Through this test, they could tell how developed Nick's lungs were......I went through this test three weeks in a row and they finally said, we can't wait any longer......you need to have this child and prepare yourself that he will be in the NICU until his lungs are ready!

They scheduled me for my C-section at 8am on January 19th, 1998. I was scared to death, with all that was circling my life at the moment the only thing I could worry about was this little baby boy.....he just had to be healthy.....I was so worried that my being sick was going to affect his life! The surgery went extremely well, they let both my Mom and my husband in the room so they could see Nick as he took his very first breath......it was so special to me to have my Mom with me.....she has always been my rock and I knew if she was there, I would be OK.

Nick entered the world at 8:38am....all 6lbs 4ozs, and 19 1/2 inches of him! To our amazement his lungs were not as bad as the doctors had anticipated. As soon as I got a quick glimpse of his little red face and head full of dark hair they whisked him away to the NICU to be hooked up to Oxygen.....although not horrible, he did still need some breathing assistance. He remained in the NICU for approximately 20 hours. My husband and family members could go in to see him, unfortunately I did not get to hold my son until the next day....I had some bad reactions to the Epidural and was very ill, so they gave me anti-nausea medicine that made me a little loopy so they would not let me get out of bed or go down to visit him....it was torture to know I had just given birth to this little boy and could not hold him in my own arms.

My time did come and it was so special.....early that very next morning, the nurses brought him to me, at this hour there was no one in my room except me, they said that he was doing great and off the oxygen so if I felt strong enough, I could keep him in my room.

At the very moment they put him in my arms, I did not have a worry in the world.....he was the most beautiful boy I had ever laid eyes on.....he was so tiny and I could not believe that I had produced such an amazing little baby!

I immediately called my Mom, who I knew I woke up, but knew that she wouldn't mind.....I remember her answering the phone and me just crying that I couldn't believe what a miracle this child was....at the time of my diagnosis, the doctors told me that if they had found the cancer any earlier in the pregnancy they would have recommended termination....something I could not fathom, especially as I held this perfectly healthy child and looked into those beautiful big eyes!

We had our short little stay in the hospital and then we were both released to head home! We had many visitors and it seemed like the house was constantly filled with family, friends, food, and laughter, but underneath all of the joy, there was still worry in everyone's eyes.......

The next couple months we strapped ourselves in for the beginnings of a huge roller coaster ride. I had a partial hysterectomy 4 months after Nick was born, they were convinced that they had removed all of the cancer, it was not in any lymph nodes and had contained itself in one area....they said that there was no need for Chemo or radiation......this was terrific news and my family was thrilled that we could finally put this behind us and I could concentrate on the true joys of Motherhood. As positive as this news was, there was such sadness in my heart knowing that I would never be able to conceive another child.

Caring for a little one and having been in and out of the hospital for surgery is no easy task, I am so thankful that my family rallied around us and helped in whatever way they could. My Mom practically lived with us and played a huge role in taking care of this precious little baby while I recuperated.

The next few months were filled with fun and laughter and many firsts for Nick.....he was such a cute and mild mannered baby.....he slept through the night like clockwork at 8 weeks! We could take him anywhere with us without worry, he was very well adjusted! I slowly went back to work and he would stay at Grandma's until I picked him up......we were back to a so called normal family life.

We celebrated his first Christmas, Birthday, and Easter....such wonderful memories. Shortly after Easter we started planning our first real summer vacation.....we had a boat so we rented a place up on a Lake for the week and had planned to go with 2 other families that boated with us during the summer months.

I had been going for my scheduled check ups every three months to make sure that I was still in the clear. My next checkup fell the same week we had scheduled our vacation so I called and pushed it back a week.

When I showed up for that check up I was about to hear the very words that every cancer patient dreads......"Your Cancer Might Be Back"

This time it was scarier than ever....I had a huge mass the size of a softball sitting on my left ovary, they could not confirm it was cancerous until I was on the operating table. I was scheduled in a matter of days and it was confirmed.......Stage III Ovarian Cancer.

I am not going to go into detail at the moment, but I was not so lucky this time around.....I was in and out of the hospital for the next year with surgeries, chemo treatments and illnesses as a result. I know that this was not easy on my beautiful boy, but he was one strong kid....he bounced from family member to family member while I got well.....coming to visit me in the hospital even though he was extremely scared to see his mommy so sick.

A good part of this year was spent in our home as I was too sick to go anywhere, we had home healthcare services in and out for a couple of months when needed....I was tired and weak, but Nick didn't care.....he was happy just to sit with his Mommy on the couch and play board games or watch his favorite movies....I think we watched 101Dalmatians so many times we ruined the VHS tape that very year!

Nick has flourished into such a little gentleman, a compassionate friend, and a wonderful big brother. There is not a day that goes by that I don't Thank God for this child........there are many people that wish to have children and for one reason or another,they cannot, I consider myself extremely blessed to have him in my life and could not imagine a single day without his beautiful smiling face!

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Nick sitting in his favorite little car!

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The first day of fishing season....Nick always attended with his Daddy!

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A summer afternoon enjoying lunch on our boat!

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Look at these cheeks......don't you just want to pinch them?

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Nick and Eddie's first summer vacation together at the beach!

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I debated all day whether or not to post this picture, but if Robin Roberts can go on live TV and share her story along with her bald head, than I can post this picture! There were many days spent on this couch.....my friends and family got very use to seeing me without my hair.....wigs are very uncomfortable and itchy....so this was the look, I had lost my hair, eyebrows, an even some of my eyelashes, but I still had this little boy to cheer me up and give me the will to pull through!

As you may or may not know, September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.....I was digging through the archives of old printed photos to accompany this post and came across the journal that I kept while undergoing chemotherapy. In honor of this month, I will be sharing the details of my cancer with some of the passages from my journal.....it is such an important issue that is close to my heart and if I can help just one person, that will mean so much to me! I will also include all of the warning signs and symptoms to help catch early detection.

44 comments:

Noemi said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I admire your strength.

Jodee Leader said...

Lisa -- I enjoyed reading your journey to Nick. He is certainly a blessing! I love his chubby cheeks!

I am so glad you remain cancer free. You deserve the very best life has to offer!

Our Complete Family said...

Oh Lisa~ I smiled, I giggled at those adorable cheeks, I cried at what you have been through. You are one STRONG woman and I am so happy to have met you in blogland! Thanks for sharing such a moving story with us. It is amazing~ as are you my dear! Love, hugs and prayers, Les

Our Complete Family said...

Yep! How can you resist that adorable smile he must give you when he asks you to chalkboard paint in his room?!? You've gotta cave Lisa!!! I thought it would make Bryce's carpet all messy but it doesn't. I vacuum it daily so that might help, but we haven't had any probs with it... Now, go get yourself some paint tomorrow girly!!! ;)

Anonymous said...

Bless your heart and spirit-what a cute little boy! I don't know you, but tonight I will say a prayer for you and your family...keep fighting and keep living!

Sharon said...

Okay, YOU! Will you please except the award for 'think, laugh and cry??? Its late but I have to add you to it after that! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story and I am so proud of how far you have come after going through such a thing. I am going to wipe away my tears and go add you. Please forgive me for not soing it sooner!!!

God Bless you Precious Person!!!!And your wonderful son!!

Shari said...

You have been through a lot! You are so strong! Thank you for sharing your journey to Nick! Cute pictures! What fun to go back and look at baby pictures!

Kate said...

Lisa,

I think I love you after reading that!!! We missed you tonight...but the group is happy about meeting you in October.

You have my admiration, friend. And you are beautiful with hair or without. I am sad for all you have endured.

Thanks for showing such bravery in sharing your story.

Kate

Michaela said...

I applaud you for sharing your story. You're correct, you have to be strong for your family and for yourself.
A lot of people I know (family and friends) had to battle cancer. It is a horrible disease! I'm so glad you remain cancer free.
Nick is a handsome young man.
All the best,
Michaela

Melanie said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I am glad you decided to show the 'hair-free' picture. I think it further demonstrates what a strong woman you are!

Shelly and Family said...

Oh Lisa...what an incredible...powerful...emotional...and loving post! You are truly one remarkable woman...and because of that I so know that your son is one remarkalbe man!!!

(BTW love the post!)

I am proud to say that you are "my friend" (and so happy that we are!) and I can't wait unitl we meet up so lunch...someday soon...

HUGS coming your way from NEPA!!!

Anonymous said...
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sara said...

Oh, you made me cry this morning! Just knowing how hard it must still be for you to share about this difficult time in your life... Thanking God that you are a survivor today!

Michele said...

That was an amazing post. love you!

Michele

this is the story said...

What an amazing story. I am in awe of your strength and courage. You faced the unthinkable. You are a survivor. You are an inspiration! Bless you and bless your beautiful, amazing son!
Lucy

Jboo said...

Thanks for sharing your story! Nick was such an adorable baby and little boy. Wow -- what an incredibly strong woman you are. You are just as beautiful without hair as you are with it. Am so glad to have "met" you through blogland. Take it easy!

Janet

Lisa said...

Wow! Nick is such a gift from God! Thank you so much for sharing your story.

You have been through so much. You are such a strong woman!!!

You look beautiful with no hair! Not too many people could pull that off...but you can.

I am so glad that you have moved passed the cancer and are living such a wonderful life!!!!!

3D said...

What an amazing story of love and courage and family. You both are so strong. W/o hair, you are still a beauty.

Keep smilin!

Cindi said...

My favorite photo is the one with you and your son. The resilience and determination is clear, in your expression.

Thanks for being willing to share such a personal story. Your honesty is inspiring.

Laura said...

I agree with Kate. Beautiful post and looking forward to October. I love the pictures of Nick and Eddie.

kerri said...

Thank you for sharing this private part of your life, I am totally inspired by your strength, your courage and the beautiful love that kept you fighting.
I love how you overcome and have lived to deserve all the beauty that life can offer.

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

Lisa, thank you for sharing this story. It is so moving and so honest. I am honored (even if that sounds weird) to be able to read it. I am eager to hear more!
-Carrie

Briana's Mom said...

Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I can't even begin to tell you how amazing I think you are. You are one strong and beautiful lady.

Nick is truly a miracle and a blessing!

Kellyann said...

I am in awe. Just the fact that you would share such intimate details of your life and fight with cancer is touching. I hope and pray that you will be able to help one person 'get checked'.
Your baby boy has certainly turned out to be a special and dear person.

Jake and Taryn said...

Lisa,

What an amazing story you have. You are truly an inspiration. Thank you for having the courage to share. What a blessing Nick must be in your life. I look forward to your posts about your journey through cancer as well as all the information about it that you will be sharing.

I am so happy that you remain cancer free. God is good!

Debz said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us, you are a very strong and couragous woman. My hat is off to you.
Nicolas is nothing short of a miracle!

redmaryjanes said...

You look beautiful without your hair. My eyes are just filled with tears. My Aunt has a photo without her hair when she went through chemo and she's wearing a Mr. Clean t-shirt.
Your story is just so overwhelming, but you are strong to survive it and post about it.
I just want to hug you : )and I don't even know you.

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

I want to hug you so hard... for being so brave... I would like to think that if ever I went through this situation that I would be strong enough to cope... you are one strong chickie... :) As for the bold head picture... don't ever be ashamed of wondering whether or not you should show that picture... most likely you will be an inspiration to someone else going through what you did...

Made in China said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to reading you journal entries.

Cancer sucks - so glad you are healthy now.

Jennifer said...

Lisa,

You are an amazing woman. Thanks for sharing your story. As a Oncology Nurse, I know how hard cancer treatments can be on the patients. You look beauitful with your bald head and good for you for posting the picture. Nick is a beautiful little boy. Can wait to finally met you in person!

Jen

Heather said...

What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing; its an encouragement to every woman out there who is fighting that fight. Your family is beautiful.

Kayce said...

Thank you Lisa for sharing your story. You are such a beautiful woman and an inspiration to so many. Nick is an amazing boy and you are both so blessed!

Sharie said...

You are AMAZING!
God certainly works in mysterious ways...
Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.
Sharie

Rebecca said...

You are an amazing woman, Lisa... thank you for sharing your story. Wow. is all I can say! You are inspiring.

Blessings,
Rebecca

Denise C said...

OH Lisa....I have made it through this post...but with tears streaming down my cheeks.....you are one precious person...full of so many beautiful qualities...such strength and grace! You are the most beautiful person I have ever seen without hair....I mean that...and I have had several friends deal with cancer...you are just beautiful!!!!! You are a blessing to so many...and I for one, am blessed to call you my friend!
Love you,
Denise
p.s. Now I am going on to read the next post....~DEEP BREATH~~!

Bridget said...

What an amazing story and an amazing woman! You have certainly endured alot and I applaud your strength and your courage. What a wonderful gift Nick was to you. He was and is an adorable little boy. I am so happy for you that you fought the battle and are cancer free. Thank you for sharing your story and your journey. I wish you nothing but the best! And by the way you look great with or without your hair:)

3 Peanuts said...

WOW Lisa! you are such a real life hero. I know you did not ask to be but you seemed to have handled this with grace and courage. I am amazed at what you have been through. Thank you for sharing your story.

Kim and Jim said...

What an amazing story! I found your blog thru Kimber and the 3 Peanuts. I am at risk for cervical cancer and will be reading your posts and appreciate so much you posting this on your blog! You have a beautiful family!

preppy little dress said...

hey there, i found the post! wow - that's quite a story!

congrats on being a 8 year ovarian cancer survivor! god was watching out for you and your son!

just like you said, it's important to get the awareness out there and i hope my little post does just that!

btw...i love your blog! have a great weekend!

preppy little dress said...

hey there, if you don't mind i am going to update my post and put a link to yours - if you mind, let me know! thanks!

Jessica said...

What an amazing story Lisa. So glad you pulled through and that you're willing to share this personal story. What a beautiful family you have. God is so good. Thanks for sharing. :)

She Writes said...

Lisa, I had no idea. Oh, I am so touched by what a beautiful person you are and to know you have entered such a level of suffering for your life... OMW. Your Nick is GORGEOUS. Thank you for sending me to the rest of the story!

Much love,

xxAmy

Norah said...

What a story, and how lucky you are to have such an amazing son! He has an amazing Mom too ; )

snekcip said...

New to your blog and have spent the last hour or so reading about your beautiful family. You are a testimony of God's grace. I'm looking forward to continually follow your family on your journey to your daughter in China! Thank you for sharing your story.