Sweet Baby, Sour Cancer

My journey through cancer and pregnancy, twice.

No more CPAP for Calvin! He is breathing all on his own now. Praise God! Prayers next that he will have good eating skills and able to gain weight. Boys tend to be lazy… drink a little and fall asleep. He has lost some weight since birth, which is totally normal. But it’s time now his growth curve starts to trend up. So he needs to gain some weight and eat solely from a bottle before he can come home.

I would write more but I don’t have the energy. And, it’s too upsetting to talk about while I am home now and Calvin is still in the hospital away from his mother and family.

Calvin is doing much better today… he has been extubated and only requires CPAP to help him breathe. He is much more awake now. His beautiful little eyes were open, staring at us this AM. Don’t ever underestimate the power of prayer. This little guy has turned the corner and is on his way to heading home with us before we know it!

For me, I am still here in the hospital too. With out getting into a whole bunch of woman stuff, I will say this; it’s a good thing that I am having my babies in this century with great medical care. Otherwise, I would have been one those poor women that died during child birth. I guess my body was just not made or prepared to deliver babies. Even in a well controlled, state of the art, top medical facility in the USA, there were complications with Cora and Calvin that label me with 2 “traumatic births”.

Honestly, it’s all behind me and have 2 wonderful children now, to pour my heart and soul into. I’m feeling stronger everyday. I know the last 3 weeks were insane with an abrupt stop to chemo, scheduled surgery, an unexpected delivery with more surgery and a new NICU baby…however we have accomplished quite a bit which means the end to this is even closer than before. That’s a blessing I will take.

Lastly, I just want to say how thankful, grateful and truly humbled Nathan and myself feel. EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE has rallied behind us and supported us in ways we never expected; from the nurses, doctors, friends, family, neighbors, or complete strangers… With good there is evil and with light there is darkness… yes, we are in the middle of some pretty serious stuff right now, but that too comes with an opposite… an unimaginable experience of love and caring that can only be experienced in this kind of tragic setting. In other words the dark times are being alleviated by the incredible generosity and compassion that we are feeling from others; you have brought hope and light to our experience.

Our little guy Calvin had to be intubated and is now on a ventilator to help him breathe. He still has to learn how to do this on his own. A bit of a step back but he isn’t working so hard to breathe and appears more comfortable. It’s so hard to see him this way. We aren’t even on the same floor. 😪. It doesn’t look like he will come home with us this weekend or anytime soon after.

Look at Nate’s hand … it’s bigger than his head! He may be tiny but definitely the perfect Walorz/Killeffer combination- he is a strong 💪🏻 little, tough guy.

Arrival.

Sweet Baby, Sour Cancer

Well yesterday at 8am, my water decided to give way. Not sure why… maybe from surgery last week or maybe from the chemo, maybe it was just crappy luck Who knows… We were both equally very surprised this this was happening and it was happening fast. We had many talks prior about the famous birthing plan but none of them included this scenario.

So we went into Boston to the Brigham and Woman’s hospital and had a baby. He was born last night at 9:22pm, 5 lbs 14oz, 19 inches long. Baby K needs little help breathing on his own so he is hooked to c-pap machine and he has to stay in the NICU. I haven’t been able to hold him yet. Hopefully today or tomorrow. He is sooo cute and adorable. We absolutely love him and know he made our family complete.

Please welcome Calvin Jacob Killeffer. Better pics to follow…

Things in life don’t always go as planned. Things in my life never go as planned. I’ve come to expect it and deal with it well. Lol- well maybe not so well right now…

I had an ultrasound of my lymph nodes earlier this week to check the progress we were making with chemo, and to help set a surgical date for AFTER Baby K’s arrival. I met with my surgical oncologist after my test and the news was not really what I was expecting. Insert something funny here … I’m not feeling too funny right now so you will have to come up with your own humor.

While my tumors haven’t grown, they haven’t shrunk either. They are the same size as they were 13 weeks ago- not good. They also found another tumor that was “probably” there before but no one is really sure or at least hasn’t said one way or another to me.

The chemo isn’t working…. what’s next? Well, if I wasn’t pregnant they would switch me to another chemo… however, there are no more chemo options available to me that have been proven safe during pregnancy. So the good news is…. I am done with chemo for now. Yeah :/ (said in an extremely sarcastic, monotone, unexcited voice).

The not so good news… Next line of defense is surgery. AND… I am already booked for July 10!!! Just 12 short, wonderful days from now. I hope you’re sensing my sarcastic tone here.  I wish I was more enthusiastic about this but I am not! Having surgery while pregnant brings on a whole new set of anxieties. It is totally safe for the baby (at least that’s what they tell me, but I’m tired of them telling me stuff). However my small mind just can’t comprehend it and I just plain-old don’t like it. It seems so risky. I had surgery with Cora and yes, she is more than fine… but I was terrified the entire time going through that. I hate even thinking back about it now. My plan this time around was to have surgery after, AFTER, the baby was born. Not before and certainly not 12 days from now. I’m not happy! I do not like this change in plans. Wooosah…. I’m rubbing my earlobes trying to calm down. Not really,  but your getting it right???

Being comfortable after surgery is also a concern… little oxycodone for momma and Baby K for pain management… Oh yeah,  no problem! Ugh! Although again all of the doctors assure me it’s completely safe (there they go telling me stuff again… tired of hearing this). What mother feels comfortable taking narcotics when pregnant? It goes against everything I know and feel to be right. So, I will chose to suffer in pain and tough it out with Tylenol. Flipping great!

Again, I now have 12 days to completely get my motherly nesting act together… after surgery I can’t do squat for 4 weeks. And right after the 4 weeks is up, it’s baby go-time. After surgery my right arm will be totally out of commission. How the heck am I going to get a nursery together, all the baby laundry done, folded and put away, sterilize all the bottles and everything else I have to deep clean and do to get ready for a baby??? AAAAAHHHH!! I know people will help- but I’m sorry you guys, that’s MY JOB! I am the mom, I want to do it. I want to do it all!!! It’s all part of it, it’s all part of the big baby picture, it’s my job. I want to gawk over the little outfits and imagine how cute he is going to look in them as I fold and put them away. I want to imagine me holding him with a bottle, smelling and kissing his little head while I make room in the cabinets for the new bottles I just got. I want to clear a space next to me in our bedroom where he will sleep safely next to me. This is MY passage to motherhood… MINE! I should have 9 more weeks to get this done. Cancer brought that down to 5 more weeks for an early delivery, and now with this new change in plans I am down to 12 flipping days! FU cancer! I am screaming it as loud and clear as I possibly can right now…. F U cancer… F-off!!!!!!!

Ok, Im going to reel it back in here….

As soon as my 4 week restrictions are removed it’s baby go-time! It will be time for a special early delivery and we can meet our little man. The big prize in all of this. The climax to this story. When we all smile and nothing else matters except the sweet little boy that has joined us. Lets bask in this moment 🙂

And now…  back on the crazy train…

Then who knows what the heck will happen after the baby. More chemo? More surgery? Radiation??! I don’t know!!! Cue the cancer shit flinging monkey…

I’m doing my best to stay positive here. It’s discouraging to have come this far and not made much ground. Especially when dealing with cancer. I feel like I am a ticking time bomb and we are racing against the clock trying to beat it before it goes off and spreads in my body. That this is some game of chance and we roll the dice and see what we get. Cancer is just like this… a game of chance. I can do everything right and still lose to cancer just as much as if I do everything wrong and never have cancer ever again. It really doesn’t matter.

What does matter is I could drive myself crazy and drown or I could rely on my hope and float. I can get lost on the what-if’s or I can find my source of certainty. This is no easy feat right now… a part of me feels like I am slowly dying, I’m losing this battle right now. But the other part of me feels strong as hell and this is just another blip in the road only to make us stronger. Everything will be fine…. I am pregnant, hormonal and overreacting.

There was a sermon in church I heard a few years ago… the pastor was talking about how life is like a football game and how we are all players in the game, on the field. We can only see the game from a on-field perspective and can only see each play as it’s carried out. We can only see the players and challenges as they exist immediately surrounding us. However, God doesn’t see it that way from above. He is looking down and is able to see the entire game from His seat; in the offensive/defensive coordinator box so-to-speak. Start to finish, He knows all the plays and what’s going to happen in the entire game. He is holding the play book and has a plan for every situation. At this point, today, I just have to trust God that He is looking down on my game and He knows every play, every move and every decision made and believe that the game plays out exactly as He intends it to. That my game is up to God and not up to chance; that He is in control.

In the meantime, I will be a pregnant lunatic on one hell of a cleaning and nesting binge for the next 12 days. I know it will be ok, I really do. I am sure I will be back to my happy self tomorrow, but for now these changes in plans really suck.