I can think of no better joy in my life...

July 21, 2015

My husband and I were married in 2010 and always planned to have a family. After a long 3 year struggle with infertility with multiple failed cycles and one miscarriage, we were thrilled to find out our first IVF cycle was successful. We're finally expecting our miracle baby, due in January, 2015. I can think of no better joy in my life than hearing the beautiful sound of its tiny, beating heart for the first time.

 

My family was finally going to be complete. After weekly ultrasounds were everything was going strong with baby, at 9 weeks we had our first appointment with our regular obgyn. We got to see our baby in an amazing 3-D sonogram, where the nurses kept commenting how active he was, waving little arms and legs, his strong, tiny heartbeat flickering away. I was in LOVE! My life was as close to perfect as ever. The next day my world came crashing down in an instant. A call from my ob-gyn nurse asking me to come right away to repeat the CBC. "It looks like a lab error, but please come at once". I rushed to my doctor's office where I had repeat blood work. It was no lab error. I was alone, the appointment is still a blur in my head, but I remember my doctor uttering the works "leukemia" and "terminating the pregnancy". That same afternoon, my husband and I were sitting in the waiting room of the Auxilio Mutuo Cancer Center. All I can remember thinking is "what am I doing here? I'm having a baby, I can't have cancer". After having over 20 vials of blood taken, a bone marrow biopsy and waiting for 2 days in pure agony, we had our diagnosis. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). 85% cancer cells in my bone marrow. With such an aggressive, fast moving cancer, I was to be hospitalized right away to begin chemotherapy. Pregnancy had to be terminated, there was no choice.

 

Too much risk of bleeding and infection and serious birth defects to baby. I was hospitalized the next day and taken to the delivery room, were among other laboring ladies I literally had the life sucked out of me. Nobody should ever have to enter a delivery room and come out empty handed. Before the procedure, I asked to see my baby for one last time. We saw our little warrior on ultrasound, his heart still beating strong. My husband held my hand as we said our goodbyes thru tears. I am incredibly thankful for the kindness and compassion of the Puerto Rico University Hospital Ob-gyn department, were they made sure I felt no pain and was as comfortable as possible. After a long, 4 week hospital stay where I received a course of strong induction chemotherapy, I was declared in remission from cancer. However, due to a more serious subtype of ALL with a very poor prognosis, my doctors recommended a bone marrow transplant to give me the best chance of a long term cure. And the chance to have the family we so desire with our 4 frozen embryos that are waiting for us. Our hope in these dark, difficult times. After an earlier scare, my bone marrow biopsy at four months post transplant was finally negative for any trace of cancer. My doctors say that after 2 years post transplant and cancer free, we may be allowed to attempt pregnancy again.I am now 8 months post transplant, continuing to recover.

 

My husband and I are slowly picking up the pieces and getting our life back to normal. But there is one big missing piece that we'll never get back and that no matter what happens in the future, we will never be able to replace.

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