Baby Dreams

Standing in our driveway, I look up into the dark sky. Past the maze of telephone wires and streetlamps, I gaze into the stars. I am praying for the child I do not have, as I so often find myself doing these days.

Anyone who has ever faced difficulty getting pregnant, miscarriage, or any other challenges to having a child knows the deep and consuming pain this can produce.
It took me nearly a year to get pregnant with my son. I was approaching obsessed when the pregnancy test finally showed positive. But that year of longing and impatience was just a flicker compared to the fire consuming my thoughts now.

Women with tumors that are hormone-receptor-positive or "estrogen sensitive" such as mine is, meaning the hormone estrogen helps the tumor to grow, are often given an adjuvant therapy (post-primary treatment) to reduce the risk of return. This is usually in the form of an oral prescription that interferes with the activity of estrogen, to be taken over a 5-10 year period – during which pregnancy should not occur, as it would be harmful to the fetus.
So I have 5+ years before I can entertain the possibility of getting pregnant. My children would be spaced with nearly 10 years between them, at that point. Not to mention that I apparently may no longer even possess the ability to conceive, thanks to the chemo. And maybe my body has now been through enough; maybe the higher levels of estrogen from a pregnancy equal higher possibility of recurrence. [This is unknown.] And, would I want to risk passing on a gene mutation for cancer susceptibility to another child? 

My oncologist tells me I should be grateful I have a child already. Which I am. To the depths of all that I am, I cherish and love my son.

But this does not pacify the yearning to be blessed with another child to love so. I feel like I've been told to just be glad I have one ear, when what I really want is two. Of course I'm grateful to have one, probably all the more so. But I really like my ear and still think about having a second.
As I am eeking my way through the cancer treatments, I continually look ahead to what will lie in the thereafter. Can I ever get to a place where life feels normal again? ...Where the ramifications of having cancer are no longer pervasive? …Where my goals and dreams have the possibility of being met?

I read about adoption late into the night. I seek out people with experience adopting. I call private agencies and sign up for public, county-services information sessions.
My husband and I have discussed the valor of adoption since we were teenagers, dating and dreaming about a life together. We were always in agreement that the option should be heavily considered. The world is an increasingly crowded place with decreasing resources and abundances of need for compassion and outreach. How better to save a life from lack than to bring a child into a family of love?

But my understanding of the practice is naïve and simple. It doesn’t take long for the adoption information to get difficult. Our options become clouded by exorbitant price tags, lengthy waiting lists, disqualification by having a history of cancer…

I will not give up. I will not live the rest of my life so bitterly sad that cancer stole my second child from me.

I think about the fourth member of my family with regularity, expectation, and anticipation; she or he will arrive one day and complete us.

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