When I Got Pregnant (July 2019)
My adventure changed 180° when I met him. Things haven’t been the greatest in my love life, and I was about to leave for Alberta, Canada, on a new adventure when he was ready and finally asked me out on a date. Our date turned into two, three, and within a few months, we were a good match. We talked about kids, and the idea of him being a stay at home dad while I kept on with my career was just perfect. I was ready, I was dreamy.
I remember having a fight with him about my dog being in the house too much. I took a deep breath and told him, “Love, we have so much more to worry about right now, and I don’t know how to tell you.” He got so confused. Then I showed him the stick: it was positive. We cried and hugged so tight (I’m being emotional right now, just writing this).
We spent the summer of 2019 talking about names, about things we needed to get, things we wanted to do before the “little monster” would come into this world. I reduced my weightlifting and my cardio. I told my doctor; she was so excited for me. She sent me for blood tests and everything came back normal. We scheduled my first ultrasound for the end of September 2019. The summer was wonderful: full of hope and LOTS of emotions on my end. I spotted some blood a few times but thought that maybe it was my body trying to build this human being. Every night I was so “boiling,” so hot, that it was uncomfortable. I had also gained 10 lb already, but my mom tried to comfort me and reminded me that my body is a babymaker now, to not worry about it. Let’s keep doing our best to build a healthy little baby!
The Ultrasound (September 2019)
The 30th couldn’t come fast enough. I had to tell my coworkers that I was pregnant so I could have some time to myself and reduce the amount of stress. Then the day finally came. It was hard to hold that cup of water for 2 hours. I finally couldn’t do it and went to pee, then drank another one 10 minutes before the test. It WORKED! Then I laid there as she turned the screen toward her and didn’t say a word. My boyfriend looked at me. Then she left, and I knew something was wrong. We both did. I tried to keep it together. The doctor came back and told me it was a grape-shaped-like mass called a “mole” that they had to remove. The next day, I had a D&C. I went back to work a week later, and my students were worried and asked a lot of questions. It was so hard to keep it private and not be emotional at the same time. My boyfriend didn’t like talking or hearing about it, so I kept it to myself. Bloodwork had to follow for a couple of weeks until my hCG would be down to 0 (I was up over 300,000 with the mole). I couldn’t believe it though—I had just turned 29, and it was my FIRST pregnancy. I guess life moves on…
The World Hits Hard Again (November 2019)
Three weeks passed with great news: the pregnancy hormones were getting considerably lower. Then that day came that the levels went UP. On that day they sent me to another area of the hospital. I was so confused until I walked through the doors: “Cancer Centre.” I sat down with the doctor. She announced to me that because my mole was persistent, they would not take any chances and would treat it as cancer. I would have to do chemotherapy. The good news was that I would keep my hair! It was called dactinomycin. I went to work, dropped my medical note, called my human resources, and handed in my absence from work. I basically VANISHED. It got my students even more worried (all the stories that went through the hallways, oh my!). I started chemotherapy on November 4th. Every 2 weeks for 3 months. My boyfriend came with me for my treatment. The few days after were the worst, but the pills to prevent nausea helped (but made me gain another 10 lb). I was out of breath a lot, and it was frustrating. January 30, 2020, was my LAST treatment. I talked with my doctor, and she gave me the month of February to fully recover from chemo before going back to work.
Going Back to Normality (March–May 2020)
In March, I was so happy to see my students again, and so were they. I told them the truth and thanked them for not giving the substitute teacher a hard time. We had a good laugh. I worked for a week, then March break was around the corner, and Covid-19 hit the province. Online teaching was great on my end, by the way—I had the opportunity to workout with my students every day (but P.E. was NOT a priority, so no evaluation, no grade).
After school was done in June 2020, I had a follow-up appointment. Since March I had been doing blood work monthly, and everything seemed good. I had some worries that I discussed with my doctor: It hurts bad when we try to be intimate, and even worse after for a couple of days. Peeing is a chore, because I know it will be painful. My exam went fine, but they gave me a few suggestions:
- To try pelvic floor therapy to help relax (and the physiotherapist explained very well that it is normal for our body to react this way after such a trauma);
- Talk to someone (and here I am, after a counselor suggested this website);
- Give yourself some time.
But of course, that was not my only concern. I am almost 30; When can I try to conceive again? “6 months after your first monthly blood work,” she said. (No need to guess, I started counting!)
After a lot of hard work, I am getting there. I lost 9 of the 20 lb I had gained (so much harder to lose it!). My cardio is FINALLY BACK! I keep doing my exercises prescribed by the pelvic floor physiotherapist, and I work out at home. I booked an appointment with my doctor in August to hopefully plan a pregnancy. I have ONE MORE follow up with the gyn-oncologist in September to conclude this whole journey. The good thing is though, all my future pregnancies will be followed by the doctors very closely for any complications.
If I could summarize this whole thing and give you advice is to believe in yourself. You are so much stronger than your “hormonal” emotions let you think and see. Being positive and having support from your loved ones is the key. Being patient is the hardest part. It is a very frustrating journey. And then, your body will do the rest. Never forget that it is NORMAL to be emotional! Love yourself, be patient.
Thank you for reading my continuing journey and thank you so much to all the women who shared their stories.