“I have the classic boy meets girl story. We fall in love, get married and then comes baby. My daughter was born in 2002 at 32 weeks, but after a few weeks in the NICU, we brought home a beautiful baby with no complications.
After our first daughter, we tried unsuccessfully for 9 years to get pregnant again. We really wanted that second child to complete our little family. Both my husband and I really wanted another girl. We just didn’t see ourselves as a family with a boy. We loved everything about our little girl.
In 2008, we got a call from a relative that my young cousin had a baby and was not able to keep her. They even offered to pay all the costs for her adoption. Of course, my husband and I jumped on this opportunity. We hadn’t really talked about adoption, so it was quite a process to get our heads around this idea. The baby was a little girl and she was 5 months old. We were ecstatic – this little bean completed our dream family.
As she grew, we noticed a few things were off. After many doctors appointments, she was diagnosed with failure to thrive and a small head. The doctors were not sure about her prognosis. Only time would tell how she would advance. We carried on with our lives, me being a stay-at-home mom and my husband working as a police officer. Then a call in 2010 sent us into a whirlwind. Once again, my cousin had delivered a little girl and they needed someone to pick her up from the hospital. After much thought and prayer, we picked up baby girl number two from the hospital. She was so adorable and had the sweetest brown eyes and blonde hair, but very early you could tell she was not thriving.
Once again, a diagnosis of failure to thrive and universal delay syndrome. So we carried on with the three girls knowing now we were definitely meant to have three kids. In 2013, my cousin found herself pregnant again with a little girl. We really felt we couldn’t take another child. Having three kids, two of whom had special needs, it just was too much on us. But I agreed to help my cousin find her a home. The home we had lined up for her fell through, so I took her home until we could find her a perfect family. But after some time, we realized we were her forever home. So, we had four beautiful girls and life was good.
In May of 2013, when our newest baby was about 2 months old, I was getting out of the shower when my leg completely gave out and I fell to the ground. I knew instantly I had broken something. I crawled into my bedroom and called my husband at work. Of course, with him being a police officer, he told me to call 911. But I refused as I was butt naked lying on the floor and pretty sure I had broken my leg. I crawled to the dresser, got dressed, and waited on my husband to get home. The hospital later confirmed I had broken my pelvis! But the bad news was I had a very large mass that was probably cancer. It had eaten through my bones, and that’s what had caused it to break.
Fast forward to biopsy’s, bloodwork, MRIs times twenty, cat scans, and some machine that had biohazard warnings everywhere, and a dye shot into my arm that made me glow – it was discovered I had a bone tumor that was not cancerous, but very destructive and very rare. So, my journey began with a giant cell tumor basically eating my leg. In October of 2013, it was decided I would have surgery to remove the mass. Unfortunately, this tumor is aggressive and has a history of returning. The surgery was a success, but it had done a lot of damage to my pelvis and hip. I was sporting some new hardware, cement, and cadaver bone. I’m so thankful for those who are so selfless and donate organs and bones and everything else after they pass. After surgery, I was told they would monitor me every 3 months for 2 years, and then every 6 months for 5 years after that.
In 2015, my x-rays looked great, but I knew something was not right. I was having horrible pain in my leg. A cat scan confirmed my tumor was back in my pelvis and my soft tissue. After another surgery, my doctor told me it had eaten a lot of my soft tissue and bone, but they had gotten all they could and hopefully I would not have to worry about it coming back. Unfortunately, this surgery was a difficult one for my body, and I struggled with a lot of pain and nerve damage. Again, I was back to check-ups and them watching me for 5 years.
As life went on, it was confirmed our newest daughter had some areas of concerns when it came to growth. Once again, a failure to thrive and universal delay diagnosis. The oldest two were struggling in school and had IEP services through the school. But even through all the craziness, we just carried on like a normal family – only we had a few more doctors’ appointments than most.
In 2016, the pain returned and I just knew my tumor was back. The images confirmed it was back. Fortunately, a new treatment was available for giant cell tumors, and I was sent to see an oncologist to try a shot called Xgeva. My oncologist said I would get a shot monthly for about 5 years and hopefully this drug would shrink my tumor and I wouldn’t need another surgery. The only stipulations were no dental work, such as extractions, and don’t get pregnant, as it was extremely dangerous and more than likely fatal for the baby. I wasn’t worried about getting pregnant, as I had been unsuccessful for 15 years.
Of course, after I start my treatment, my wisdom teeth come in and cause all kinds of problems. About 4 shots in, I just feel terrible! I’m sick all the time and so tired. I just want to sleep. All 4 girls are in school full-time, and I was just struggling to get through the day. In January, my shot was due at the end of the month, and I had a pregnancy test in my closet. I thought maybe I should just take it. I give the praise to God for that nagging feeling to take that test before that next shot, because it was a glowing positive. I was in complete shock. My husband was blown away. All the years of trying and the medical treatment, it all hit me at once. I completely fell apart. The one thing my oncologist had told me was not to get pregnant, and here I was, very pregnant – about 12 weeks. I just didn’t understand how this could be. I was on birth control that I took religiously, and I hadn’t had a period in a year.
Everyone joked it would be a boy because we had only wanted girls. I was a high-risk pregnancy but other than not being able to have a vaginal birth, I had a wonderful and uneventful pregnancy. The baby had not been affected by any of my shots or the pain medications I had been on. In August of 2017, we welcomed our beautiful 5th child, the son we never knew we wanted and who would absolutely complete our family.
He’s the light of my life, and now I wish I could have a whole gaggle of boys. They are just so fun! My story could end here, but it doesn’t! Once again, my cousin was pregnant and expecting a little boy. She was due 6 months after me. She was in a toxic relationship with a man who, unfortunately, was hooked on drugs. She had decided to parent this baby. I got a call late one night that her boyfriend had overdosed and passed away and she needed a place to go. I picked her and her little 5-month-old baby up and brought them to our home. We had found out she was also pregnant with baby number 5, and she had decided she just couldn’t parent the kids. My husband and I knew we couldn’t do two babies so close together. My son was only about 11 months. I couldn’t do a 5-month-old at the same time. After much prayer, we found the perfect family for him and helped my cousin find a home for women while she waited to deliver baby number 5. On January 8th, she went into labor and delivered a beautiful little boy. He’s perfect in every way! After two days in the hospital, we brought this sweet little guy home.
My cousin knew she wouldn’t be able to parent him. She had to go and figure out her life. We don’t know what will happen with this sweet little guy or how his story will go. But for now, our crazy life goes on with a 16, 10, 9, and 6-year-old, plus an 18-month-old and a 1-month-old. I will continue to get my monthly shots that will hopefully shrink my tumor. I have a great boss that lets me work full-time from home so I can juggle my crazy life. The girls are all now thriving and growing great. They all have their special needs, but they are just perfect the way God made them. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
My teenager is a beautiful, talented, typical teenager. My 18-month-old is a crazy, adventurous, little ball of energy who keeps me on my toes at all times. And the baby is doing wonderful and we are having fun getting tons of baby snuggles. We get to see their little brother all the time who was adopted, and we are so blessed that they include our family. We can’t say this is the ending as we don’t know if we will be able to keep this sweet baby, or if we will have to find him the perfect home. And I’m waiting for those next round of images to see if my treatment is working or if I will need another surgery. God says he never gives you more than you can handle, and I’m counting on that promise.”
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