So a lot has happened in the past 20 months or so since my last update. While I always assume that the people reading this are my friends and family and know what is going on in my life, it came to my attention that when someone who blogs about cancer suddenly stops blogging it can be a bit concerning to any readers that aren’t “in the know.” I am very happy to say that I have two very important reasons why I haven’t been updating.
My husband and I welcomed twin baby boys, Owen & Nathaniel, to the world on April 17, 2014, almost two years to the day of the start of my cancer journey. I found out I was pregnant in August 2013 and that I was expecting twins on October 1, 2013 when I was 10 weeks along. We actually caught the surprise on camera. My sister, Sarah, came with me for my first ultrasound and filmed it for my husband who was on Army field duty that week, so you can watch that beautiful surprise here.
Initially I wasn’t able to blog because I very quickly started exhibiting symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), or “that thing Kate Middleton gets when she’s pregnant,” as I usually tell people. Basically I had very severe
all-day morning sickness and lost a lot of weight in my first trimester and had to go to the ER a couple of times. It’s more common in multiples pregnancies, however, I don’t want to scare any expecting twin+ moms out there, the odds are still in your favor that you will not have to struggle with it (I can’t find the figure, but I believe I read it occurs in 6 percent of multiples pregnancies vs. 1 percent of singleton pregnancies.)
To help manage the symptoms, I actually took Zofran for a few days, which is a drug most often given to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. For whatever reason, possibly because of my history on the drug in the past, Zofran didn’t work well for me. I have heard you can develop tolerance to it over time, so it becomes less effective. However, my OB suggested I take Unisom (normally an over-the-counter sleep aid) along with vitamin B12 at night before bed, which worked wonders (as long as I remembered to take it.)
I preface this by saying that I am not giving out medical advice here, but if you are a cancer fighter, expecting mom or anyone else struggling with nausea, you may want to ask your doctor if Unisom might be a good option for you. I loved that I could run to the drug store and get it over the counter without a prescription and that it was pretty affordable. Also, if you are an expecting mother please be sure to check the labels, the Unisom that has doccylamine succinate as the active ingredient is pregnancy friendly whereas the Unisom with diphenhydramine is not rated safe for the first trimester of pregnancy. I will also say that since this is a normally used as a sleep aid, you will almost certainly be groggy. I was able to reduce my dose to half a pill at night before bed and was functional the next morning with minimal or no nausea. Medicine affects everyone differently though, so you might feel up to driving/going to work/etc. on this medicine, you might not. Just see how it makes you feel and keep communicating with your doctor about what is or isn’t working for you.
Once we found something that helped my HG symptoms, my pregnancy went remarkably well. I delivered at 38 ½ weeks by scheduled C-section due to one of the babies being breached, but never had to be hospitalized or put on bed rest before that. I did have to start working from home and limit my driving and errands about six weeks before giving birth, which is around the time I was measuring the equivalent of a woman pregnant with a singleton at 40 weeks, which is normally full-term and when women pregnant with twins are more likely to go into labor early (which really makes sense.) I also had to go to the doctor starting at that time for twice a week monitoring to make sure I wasn’t going into pre-term labor.
So, long story short, Owen was born at 12:43 p.m. on April 17, 2014 (Holy Thursday) weighing 7 lbs 7 oz and Nathaniel was born at 12:44 p.m. at 6 lbs 7 oz and we were able to bring them home on April 20, which happened to be Easter Sunday and also my two-year anniversary of the trip to the ER with chest pain that marked the beginning of my cancer journey. No words exist to described how incredibly blessed I feel to change that day forever in my mind from the anniversary of one of the scariest moments in my life, to the day I brought home my baby boys. Having two beautiful, healthy and happy baby boys so soon after cancer treatment was a blessing and privilege I never thought would be mine. I really thank God for all of his blessings in our lives, and I thank everyone for their prayers and support over the rollercoaster of the past few years.
That day was exactly 10 months ago, and Owen & Nathaniel are now crawling, standing, giggling and otherwise normal kids. They already say “Da Da” like its going out of style, and I hear the occasional “Ma Ma.” I expect they will be walking in the next few weeks, but only time will tell. Since that point, I went back to work for about five months and then became a stay-at-home-mom in January, when I left work to relocate with my family to Virginia for my husband’s military career. As I settle into this new life, I am not exactly sure what the future will hold for this blog, but I do have a few more posts up my sleeve related to pregnancy and parenting as a cancer survivor (and otherwise), so stay tuned for more entries!