James and I met in the summer of 2004 and were married in the summer of 2005. James was starting his first year of college at Brigham Young University and I was beginning my first year of teaching second grade. We had just reluctantly moved from my hometown of San Diego to Orem, Utah. We were happy, in love and very busy. We knew we wanted a large family, but had talked about waiting until a year into our marriage to begin trying to conceive a child. Nine months after our marriage, James came home from school one day and told me he had the distinct impression that we should not wait any longer to have children. I didn't have to think twice. Eight weeks later we found out I was pregnant. We couldn't be happier.
As my pregnancy progressed through the first trimester I was extremely tired and weak. I didn't think much of it until I passed out at the Walmart checkout stand. The doctors assured me I was only dehydrated and needed to drink more and eat more when pregnant. I fought the fatigue and anticipated the birth of our child.
Four months into the pregnancy I had the shock of a lifetime. I was washing my face and neck in the shower one morning when I felt a mass on my neck near my collarbone. I jumped out of the shower and looked in the mirror. The entire left side of my neck and collarbone were swollen and lumpy. Being pregnant I rushed to the doctor. I tried to stay optimistic, but knew in my heart that it was cancer. Sure enough after a few weeks and multitudes of tests and scans I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease (Lymphatic Cancer).
Over the next few months James and I were filled with a whirlwind of emotions. We were so worried about our unborn child which we quickly found out was a girl. We had to make many medical decisions and try to do what was best for our baby and my health. I began chemo while 5 months pregnant and was told that the risks to the baby would be minimal. Because I was out of my first trimester the expected side effects would be a premature birth and low birthweight. However, our daughter, Madison, had a mind of her own. She just stayed put in my belly and kept on growing. My doctor finally induced me 8 days early so that I could continue with my Chemotherapy treatments. Our beautiful daughter was born on December 6, 2006 weighing a healthy 7 pounds 13 ounces.
I continued my chemo through February of 2007. I was told I was in remission, but six weeks later the cancer had come back and was spreading. I then began radiation treatments everyday for six weeks. The radiation did not do the trick and I underwent more Chemo in preparation for a Bone Marrow Transplant in October of 2007. In January of 2008, upon recovery from the transplant, I had a PET-CT to check the effectiveness of the procedure. The cancer was finally gone after a year and a half of treatments. I have now been in remission for almost 2 years and look forward to a long life with my husband, daughter and our future children.
In reflecting on our experience as a family we know that we are so blessed. We know that God was watching over us and protecting us. He allowed me my greatest desire, to be a mother. If James had not been listening to the promptings of the spirit we would have missed out on the opportunity to have Madison. When I began treatments I was told that all of the drugs I would be given would most likely cause me to be infertile. The doctors shared with us information on preserving my eggs before I began treatment. James and I didn't spend much time thinking about the infertility because we both felt like the Lord's will would happen and if it was his plan for us to not conceive any more children then we would be thrilled to adopt in the future.
That brings us to today. We have been blessed by our Father in Heaven. We have a beautiful, happy and healthy family. We want to share our love with another baby or child so much. Madi is so excited to have a brother or sister to play and laugh with. The waiting is hard, but worth it. We love being parents and can't wait to bring another child into our family through adoption.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to our story. We hope that you are blessed with the same happiness and love that we enjoy.