Hormones & My Hair: A Reproductive Retrospective
Wrap-Up

Countdown

The American Cancer Society asked me to write an additional post for the More Birthdays campaign. (I was supposed to write one more, next month, and that was it.) I suppose I can assume this means they've been happy with the response so far and you guys have been clicking over and retweeting and like-buttoning or whatever the hell it is you youngsters do these days with your Internets and smartyphones and...and...

What was I talking about? I got distracted by some deep thoughts about prunes.

Oh! Right. Another post for ACS. Another look at a topic that should inspire at least a dozen entries from me on any given day, eleven of which are all but guaranteed to make a significant portion of the Internet cry. Or at least, lie about crying in my comments section. Don't think I don't know you do that. (And don't think that I don't love you for it.)

But oh. I'm tired of it. It hurts like a bruise, and some days just thinking about it feels the same a swift kick from pointy shoes.

My dad...well. Things are about the same. He still believes he'll be able to continue chemo, somehow. And that the chemo will work. Meanwhile, I've learned more about what late-stage leukemia does to the human body than I ever, EVER wanted to know. 

When he first got the cancer diagnosis, back in September, the prognosis was three to six months. We're currently five months into that range, and I hate -- hatehatehate -- the fact that things seem to be moving along, like morbid clockwork, right on their horrible schedule.

So instead, I've started shopping.

I've bought onesies and rompers. Everything in bright, summery colors and patterns. Impossibly tiny cloth diapers and sun hats. Teething toys, pacifiers and an infant bathtub. Swaddling blankets and lightweight nursing covers. My Amazon cart is littered with stuff "saved for later" that I know we don't need, but I will probably buy anyway. Because it's small and cute and it makes me smile.

I've entered his name into sample birth announcement templates, just because seeing it all typed out and real makes me ridiculously happy. Those are saved for later, of course. We'll need his photo and birthdate/weight specifics. And we'll have those soon...in about three and a half months. 

I've stopped wondering if that's soon enough. I've stopped doing the gap math, the subtraction. I've stopped fretting over the potential lack of overlap, the idea that he won't be here when the baby is born, even though it was never promised to us, beyond just HOPE and MAYBE and YOU NEVER KNOW. 

There may be loss -- a specific, profound loss. But there will definitely be life, and another birthday.

I'm excited for sure. And also: Hopeful. Maybe. And you never know

Sarah-Rowland-TRUE-WISHES-more-birthdays

"Birthdays Are For Kids" by Sarah Rowland, courtesy of MoreBirthdays.com

 

 

Comments

Anna Marie

The "gap math". The most perfect description for the most awful of times. Hugs.

Therese

Amy,

I haven't commented much on the posts about your father because (like you mentioned in this post) "it hurts like a bruise." When I was pregnant with my first child, my dad's cancer returned and (despite his promises that he would be here and the doctor's efforts)he died 32 days before my son was born. Like you mentioned with your newest baby's name, our son has my father's name as his middle name and it is very fitting. Anyway, I don't really know what I'm trying to say other than I've been where you are and it sucks and I so wish you weren't having to experience it. However, I LOVE your closing statement because it is 100% right. "There may be loss -- a specific, profound loss. But there will definitely be life, and another birthday."

Therese

Amy,

I haven't commented much on the posts about your father because (like you mentioned in this post) "it hurts like a bruise." When I was pregnant with my first child, my dad's cancer returned and (despite his promises that he would be here and the doctor's efforts)he died 32 days before my son was born. Like you mentioned with your newest baby's name, our son has my father's name as his middle name and it is very fitting. Anyway, I don't really know what I'm trying to say other than I've been where you are and it sucks and I so wish you weren't having to experience it. However, I LOVE your closing statement because it is 100% right. "There may be loss -- a specific, profound loss. But there will definitely be life, and another birthday."

Plano Mom

The loss of my father still hurts like a bruise. It makes you double over and moan. I'm so sorry you have to go through this, so sorry anyone has to go through this.

This won't make sense now, but he will still be here. Just in a different way. My father is alive for my son, through the stories I tell him, and through the million little ways he mimics Dad throughout the day.

The Other Laura

This actually made me cry, really and truly, tears in my oatmeal.

I'm sending good thought to all of you.

Peachy

My heart hurts for you, and is bursting with excitement for you, all at the same time.

I really have nothing else, except {{{hugs}}}.

sara

I've been wanting to comment for some time now on posts about your father...but I just don't know what to say because they all hit so close to home for me.
Today, Therese summed up my thoughts precisely - my comment could be EXACTLY the same except my father passed away 3 months before my son was born (3 weeks ago today).
It sucks. It really sucks.
Wishing you the comfort and peace a new life brings...

chatty cricket

I am for real crying girl. FOR REAL.

Cancer is an asshole. The end.

Babies are wonderful. Hurrah!!

Gap math or no, I hope they meet. I want that for you, and I want that for your Dad and I want that for the wee tiny baby (little FEET AND TINY TOES that are like CORN NIBLETS AMY). I wish I could take this tired aching pain away. I recently read and I can't remember where, but someone wrote somewhere that they're letting go of the pain of loss for now. They have a short time with (their loved one), they'll have a lifetime to deal with the pain. I hope that doesn't sound presumptuous coming from me, it's just that my point is if you don't want to deal with this aching awful pain like a bruise, then don't. Get to it on your own time, when you're ready.

I wish the internets allowed for absorbing pain. I'd like nothing more than to take this away at the moment.

Chelsie

Damn. Even though I don't know you in person, I feel like I've come to know you and your family through this blog. And I hurt for you, really and truly. My prayers are with you and yours.

Mermil

Wow. Thank you for writing this. Is it lame to be crying for someone I don't even know? Well, there it is-- crying into my coffee like a jerk.

Mermil

Wow. Thank you for writing this. Is it lame to be crying for someone I don't even know? Well, there it is-- crying into my coffee like a jerk.

Karen

I'm glad I'm not the only one who types the chosen name into birth announcement templates.

My brother died--unexpectedly---ten years ago this December, when my oldest was 8 months old. I have a picture of the time my brother visited and played with his first nephew--my oldest was four months old--and i keep that picture in my bedroom, where i can see it every day.

We had two more boys after that, and every time I thought of naming a baby after my brother, but I couldn't. I couldn't even contemplate writing my brother's name, or saying it, without bursting into tears. It was too raw.

We found out this baby, our fourth, is another boy. We'd run out of favorite names. My husband turned to me and said, "Why don't we name him after your brother?" And for some reason, finally, it didn't hurt to think of it. So this baby will be named after my brother, a young man who never married, never had kids of his own, but was already delighting in being the crazy bachelor uncle. He would have loved his nephews.

And even though I've come to terms with his passing, that it's become something I live around, not with, because there's always going to be that missing piece, I will always wish that my brother could have met his nephews, or at least seen his oldest nephew grow up a bit.

So for you, my wish will be that your dad will be there to proudly hold your third son, and you'll get that picture to hold in your heart.

Madeline

I hope they meet! I held my mother's hand the day she died, as I at nursing my daughter and that was the very thing I was grateful for, and still am. That they met. I wish you every blessing at this emotional time.

Amy

I've had this specific experience. My daughter was born four months after I lost my dad to cancer.

I'm sorry, Amy. Very sorry. My heart goes out to you.

This post is beautiful.

sarah

This hits so close to home for me. I was pregnant with my son, the first great-grandchild and my grandfather went in for surgery, something that would increase his chances of being around til my boy was much older. He was so excited to talk about having a 4 generation photo; it was all he talked about. The surgery was fine, "boring" according to the drs, but complications developed, and things improved then deteriorated over & over, and after making some gains, he passed away on a Sunday night. While it wasn't out of the blue, it was not predicted by his docs. I was 39 weeks along and 2 states away. I worked my ass off the last 3 days of school, went to my check-up on Thursday, got a pedicure, took myself to lunch, and took a nap. I told my midwife that as soon as I relaxed I would either go into labor or get strep. (i know my body) I went into labor on Friday, during the wake, fielded phone calls through contractions after the funeral, and delivered my son while the family was at Sunday brunch after the mass for Grandpa. They were all together to hear the news that it was a boy, and that his first name is my grandfather's middle name. (just so happened to be the only boy name my husband & I agreed on). While it is painful to think about, my sweet grandmother says that they had a week together in heaven. She has more grace than I do, but its a nice thought...

Becca

I'm not a lying cryer. I'm crying.

And I'm so sorry for it all. I have no eloquent words for you, just that you are being thought of and prayers/happy thoughts/good juju is coming your way from others and me. If that helps......

Stevie

I really did honestly tear up a little at this one. I remember watching my grandmother die of cancer while I was pregnant with my first son. I remember the hoping, the longing, the soul-wrenching desire for this wonderful woman to hold on *just a little bit longer* than they said she would so she could be blessed by her first great grandbaby's smile, just once even. We got released on day two after he was born and the first stop, even before our house, was my mother's (where she was staying to die). She got to hold him (with help) and stare at him for an hour, before she was just too tired. She went to sleep, and we went home. She died that same night.

Now I'm outright crying. LOL Moral of the story is MAYBE. Sometimes, MAYBE is JUST GOOD ENOUGH.

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Real tears. Real gratitude for more birthdays. Real hope for your "maybe"s and "you never know"s. Real prayers and positive thoughts for you and your family.

amy

I'm so sorry. I am literally typing through tears. Sometimes the hope hurts more than the thought of the loss. Be thankful for the time you have, and be hopeful that the time he has left is joyful. ~hugs~ to you and yours.

JennyM

{{hugs}}

Karen

Amy,
I am just 3.5 weeks from my due date and I can't imagine being this excited about life while coping with possible loss. I wish I could do something or say something to make it easier. Keep shopping - I know it makes me feel better.

BTW- The American Cancer Society is brilliant for keeping you onboard to talk about all you are going through. You are an amazing writer and you add such a honest, fresh look at cancer and how, despite how far we've come, it continues to take wonderful people from this world.

Heather

Oh Amy. I'm so sorry. What a terrible, beautiful thing, to have a birth and a loss likely to be so close together. I don't know what to say, of course, but I'll just comment to let you know there is at least one more far-away-internet-person sending you love and support and hope, and agreeing with you 110% that cancer sucks.

Amy M.

Totally made me get all choked up! Thanks for writing this! I can't imagine how difficult this must be for you. My dad died 2 years before I had my 1st child. I like to think he was the 1st to meet my kids in Heaven, before they were born. He lives on in me & my kids.

Christine

Aaaand I'm crying.

Love to all of you.

Alicia

I can remember you writing a while back (possibly a *long* while back) saying that you bumped up the start date of the process of getting pregnant with Noah because your dad was sick. I know that this time is different than that time, but your dad has battled through everything to see you pregnant with your third. I have faith that he'll beat the gap to meet the little guy.

Txtingmrdarcy

The crying people? We're real. And we're here and we keep coming here because NOBODY can write the highs, lows and breathtaking dumbness of the human experience like you can. That's why ACS wants you... They're crying with the rest of us.

Lots of prayers, and hugs, and joy for Babalah the third.

Kari Weber

This. This post. THIS is why I read you. Why I HAVE read you for years. Somehow, despite being thousands of miles from me, you can say what I have felt deep down in my soul. My husband lost his father to cancer 12 years ago. If I do the subtraction of time, that was before either of my boys were born. Before I married my wonderful husband. Before I even dated him. His father never knew the man his son would be. Never knew the beautiful children he would help bring in this world, and be a great father to. Facing this on some days is overwhelming. To me, to him...
My father is 75. I am not yet 34. My only brother had no children, and it will remain that way. Sometimes I feel the urge to have a hundred children just to fill my father and mother's lives with laughter and hugs, and crumb-filled smooches for as long as I can... I am surprised I am not constantly pregnant!
Others may lie, but I tell the truth. I cried today. Your words were true and sincere, and I love you for it. Amy, I will read you forever.

Nan

We will hope, too.

Danell

Grief is terrible. I'm so sorry you and your family are having to endure it. I'm with all of your other lovely readers out here...rooting for you, hoping for you, thinking of you. All the best. Xoxo.

Kate

Again--I don't have the words except to say that I am sorry. And--I know the graphic designer Sarah whose birthday art is shown. She's a really good person and talented artist. Thinking of you.

Rachael

I don't think sorry really covers it, but sometimes it's all we have.

(hugs)

not supergirl

For me, the birthday is my sister's... and her youngest daughter's. My sister died of melanoma on February 8. Her youngest daughter's first birthday is March 2. So, in just under 2 weeks, I'll be celebrating the life of this toddling, babbling, teething, laughing youngest of three girls who is such a clear living extension of my sister. This bruise still has sharp pains in it. I'm waiting for it to dull. I'm so, so sorry about your father. I am not lying when I say I'm crying right now, promise. One of the worst parts about this is knowing that SO MANY people go through it.

erin

hoping and praying every single dad for your Dad.

love u and your babies

erin

hoping and praying every single dad for your Dad.

love u and your babies

Eliza

My kids talk about "Grandma Phyllis" as if they'd met her, even though my mom died 4 years before my oldest was born. I like to think I've done a good job in keeping her memory alive without being weird. 22 years and I still cry when I think about her.

I can't imagine having such an overlap of joy and sorrow. You're in my thoughts.

jennifer

my dad passed away, unexpectedly, the same day i gave birth to my first daughter. It does indeed hurt like a "bruise" but as a previous poster said, I see my dad in my daughter in so many ways-- her goofy smile, her amazing vocabulary, her innate kindness; and she LOVES to hear stories about my dad-- it's never sad for her because she didn't experience the loss-- to her, her grandfather has always been in heaven, watching her and sharing her life in his own way. This has made it a little easier...

your love and memories of your dad will make their grandfather real to your children-- and so he will continue to "be" even after he has gone.

and yes, i am crying as i write this-- but after 5 years, it's a little better :) Although I miss him sooooooo much and it kills me he never met his two youngest granddaughters-- i realize i am lucky to have had him in my life for as long as i did. it shaped me as a person and helped make me the mom i am today to my little girls (and helped me choose a great husband!)

peace

Amy in StL

I get all choked up every time I read one of your posts about your dad. I know my dad is old (I mean 88 is old, right) but I don't think about him like that. When he talks about his heart condition, or rheumatoid arthritis or any numerous other things I kind of lalala in my head. So I make myself read your posts because the reality is that this could be me at any moment. Life is fragile, ya know? And I don't want to face that my dad is actually an old man because in my head and my heart he'll always be that strong as a bull guy who chops wood and makes furniture. So I guess what I'm saying is keep in your heart the good memories of your dad, they're what will keep you company in the next year.

lisa

I always cry at your posts about your dad. But somehow this one made me cry a little bit more. I wish the I am so sorry could take away all the badness but I know it wont.

JulieD

The date of your post, February 17th, was our niece's birthday. It would've been her 28th birthday but leukemia took her before she made it to her 22nd. Fuck cancer indeed. Thank you for doing this; you are awesome.

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