For most of my life, I’ve struggled with adapting to change. Well, let me take that back. We moved a lot and I adapted to our new cities and my schools pretty well, but, if a plan ever changed, I struggled to adapt to that. I’m the type who mentally prepares for one thing, and if that one thing doesn’t happen, I’ve been known to….just not handle it well. However, I will say that that trait has relaxed a lot since getting married. I roll with the punches much more easily, because honestly, I have to. When you’re married, you have to relax a little because it’s not just about you.
When we got pregnant, I had an idea in my mind of how things would go when it was time for delivery and the weeks following. My whole life I’ve anticipated my parents coming down and spending those first few days or weeks with us as we acclimate to life as new parents. They would dote on their grandchild, help us cook dinner, watch her while we napped, and just be there. I know we’d be capable on our own, but there’s something reassuring about your parents support and help.
Last year, my mom was diagnosed with leukemia. In the past few months, it’s gotten more aggressive, leading her to enter chemotherapy sooner than we expected. Initially, the chemo was going well, but after the second and third rounds she was hospitalized for weeks at a time, including the most recent stint at three weeks and five days.
Today, my parents met with her oncologist to discuss next steps. The type of chemo she was having is now off of the table. It’s just too harsh and she’s not responding that well. So, there’s a new plan of attack and that includes new medicine starting next week. She’ll be hospitalized for five days at a time during chemo just in case she responds poorly, and then she’ll have 21 days of rest between treatments to go home and recover and gain strength before the next round. The doctor expects 2-3 cycles of the new chemo, and then, she’ll have a stem cell transplant, which is expected to be a relatively uncomfortable recovery that lasts quite some time.
There’s no time to take an extended break between treatment, as time is of the essence.
The timing of course does not go well with our due date at the end of July. If all goes to plan, I’ll likely be delivering Gracie around the same time that she’s wrapping up her last chemo cycle and/or starting the stem cell transplant process.
The vision of my parents being here when Grace arrives is suddenly gone.
So, this brings me back to adapting to change. I was talking to both of my parents this afternoon, and they knew I was disappointed that things weren’t going the way I imagined. And you know what, if I’m honest, they’re right. And I think it’s fair to say that they’re equally as disappointed. However, I’m not so big of a selfish asshole to realize that it’s out of everyones control. Grace’s due date is out of my control. My moms chemo schedule is out of her control. It is what it is. It’s not what any of us expected or want, but it just is what it is. I know they’d be here if there were any physical way possible, but obviously the treatment takes priority. We’ll rely on facetime and phone calls, and hopefully they’ll be able to visit shortly after she arrives. Or, maybe we’ll be really brave and haul our newborn and all of her crap up to VA early on if they can’t make it down to us.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared of us being alone in those first few days and weeks. I’m an only child and I wasn’t around babies or children growing up. It’s all incredibly foreign to me, which might sound ridiculous, but it’s my truth. I keep telling myself that Chris and I are totally capable of taking care of her, and we’ll be fine. It’s just intimidating as hell. Thankfully, Chris is pretty confident around kids and babies – we’re just going to have to figure it out together; intimidating or not.
So that’s it. It’s nothing any of us expected or envisioned, but as Tim Gunn would say, it’s a “make it work” moment. I’m sure we’re not the only ones to experience this exact scenario, and we’ll be okay. Chris and I will figure it out as we go, and Gracie will be just fine. The important thing is Grace and my mom are healthy, and if that means it has to go this way, then so be it. The rest will fall into place later.