Fertility Medicine: One Couple’s Journey from Cancer to a Family of Three

It’s time to call it, Jenna”. My midwife speaks softly and with kind eyes, knowing that this isn’t what I want to hear. “The babies heart rate is too erratic, your white blood count is high, and your water broke 23 hours ago. We need to call the surgeon and perform a c-section.” “One more push?” I ask meekly. She shakes her head, so I demand instead of asking. “One more push!”. She lets me bear down with all my might, teeth gritted and belly heavy, but it’s for my mental state more than anything else. The baby doesn’t budge and the next few minutes are a buzzy blur of drugs and indecency as a rather aggressive nurse attacks a catheter into my body. The hallway wheeling feels like floating, my husbands hand the only thing keeping me on the ground, and the pitocin induced contractions reach a peak just before the anesthesiologist steps in to numb me. I find a calm in the storm, my husbands gentle eyes and my midwifes hand on mine, and reflect on the past 24 hours of excruciating labor, which somehow suddenly translated to love. I'm reminded of the past 9 months of pregnancy, and before that the past 4 years of cancer treatments, and eventually the past decade of my life with Brian that has led me here...

Fertility Medicine: One Couple’s Journey From Cancer to Expectant Family

In Vitro Fertilization is not a foreign concept to me, it’s something we knew might come someday, but it feels like a gut punch all the same. What else will cancer rob us of? It’s taken my right breast and guaranteed a lifetime of collateral pain. It took away my long curly hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, and tried to steal the last few years of my twenties, albeit strengthening my marriage in the process. Cancer is greedy, and never satisfied. I suppose I thought I’d begin the ‘normal’ process of starting a family with my husband, but what is normal anymore, especially when you’ve spent the better part of your late twenties bald and fighting to survive?