Monday, March 21, 2011

Cupid, Cancer and Choices: a little historical context

You'll have to forgive me because I just spent a weekend away with my hubby and our animals in the mountains and this post may be a little long :)  Our cabin was lovely and most of all we were smack-dab in the middle of nowhere...10 minutes from a paved road....just call me Annie Oakley.  The best part about the weekend was that I went completely cellphone, no email, no facebook, no news and it was incredible.  I even read a real not a kindle or some other book want-to-be but a nice paperback romance novel by Nicholas Sparks.  I tell you all of this to say that my world always seems a little clearer after I've re-charged my batteries and hopefully this historical context will help everyone have a good understanding to where we are today and how we got here.

Sometimes I sit and think about how amazing it is that we find ourselves where we are...deep I know :)  But think about you ever stop and think about all of the things that have helped you along the way to arrive at where you are currently?  Some of those things were choices you willingly made, others not so much but either way you are here...surrounded by certain people, in a certain place, at a certain time...I find that amazing!

I want to share with you (some who already know and some who don't) a condensed version of what has led us to our decision of adoption (note I said decision).

Nathan and I dated at Berry and enjoyed every minute...after a while it was apparent that "cupid" had done well and we both knew without a doubt that we were meant to be together.  We were married on May 19, 2007.  We bought a house, a dog and both had jobs...we were living the newlywed dream!  We knew we wanted a family one day but both agreed that we wanted several years of just us before we entertained those thoughts. The first few months of our marriage were incredible and filled with lots of love and lots of laughter...

On January 8, 2008 I went to my childhood doctor because I had not been feeling well during the month prior. I felt lethargic, a little dizzy, loss of appetite and minor pains at different places throughout my body.  Nathan and I went together that day and Dr. Grey  decided to do a blood test.  When he came back into the room with the results I was oblivious...he said that I needed to be admitted to the hospital that he thought that I had lymphoma.  To be honest, I had NO idea what that was and so I shrugged it off as a major inconvenience until the doctor left the room and Nathan then explained the gravity of the situation.  Not only did I not believe it...I just knew they had made a horrible mistake.  I was admitted to the hospital and after more tests it was revealed that I actually had acute myloid leukemia....cancer.  The months following were full of some heartache, some hope, some laughter and lots of pain:  I lost my job, I was glad I didn't have to work, I despised my body, I was proud of my body, I was upset with God, I was thankful for my relationship with God, I was surrounded by incredible people, I lost amazing people, I couldn't pray, I had prayer-warriors praying for me, I was sick all the time,  I was grateful because I knew it could be a lot was the hardest and most precious time in my life.  I was eventually put on a trial drug at Emory in Atlanta and that drug worked (and still works) for me.  I started feeling better and even wanted to work again.  My new "normal" was starting to feel a little more comfortable and less dramatic and I was thankful.  I was deemed "cancer-free" or in-remission if you rather in September of 2008 and have been ever since.  I still go to the doctors for check-ups a few times a year and I take my chemo (oral) every night.  I feel great, my hubby says I look great :) and I have found that this "cancer" journey may have been the thing (besides my salvation) that altered the course of my life the greatest thus far....

There came a time for me a little over a year ago that I got my first major baby craving...every where I looked there were babies, my boss was preggers, Teen Mom played on MTV around the clock and I had the baby craving BIG time.  I was worrying Nathan to death and he finally told me to zip have to understand something...when Nathan is serious, the boy means business.  So I chilled out for a little while.  When I finally got my head on straight we started discussing our future family and decided that we would wait a few months and discuss it with my doctors when we went for my summer visit.  By the time that visit rolled around this past July we knew we were serious about continuing the conversation.  After meeting with my doctors we understood that we had 3 "choices"...

1.  Come off my medicine and have a baby the good ol' fashioned way.  Women who have had cancer do it all the time and my doctors flat out told me that it was my decision.  For blog purposes, I won't go into details of what all this deicsion would entail but you should know that it was and is an option. Nathan and I spent a lot of time talking about this option and finally decided that at this time in our life, this option is not for us.  We don't want to take any risks or chances with my health.  Afterall, I want to be a mom for a LONG, LONG time and to be the best mom that I can be, I have to be healthy.

2.  Gestational surrogacy.  I know, I sounds like something off of the movies.  Nathan and I were interested in learning more about this option so we spent the day at GA reproductive specialists in Atlanta.  This day was fascinating as we learned all about the cousin Rachel swears up and down that she wants to be our surrogate so we had already solved a big piece of the puzzle.  :)  We met with them and even though it was incredibly informative, we walked away with a little bit of sticker shock but more importantly, we weren't settled...we decided to put this decision on hold and research our third option...

3.  Adoption.  Well you have probably figured out which choice we went with but I want to tell you why and a little bit of how.  This choice was an interesting one for me personally because my mother is adopted.  She has a wonderful story and this played a big role in our decision.  I talked for hours with my mom and asked her a hundred differet questions...I didn't go easy on her either!  We also had dinner with my gradnparents to understand more about their side of the story.  Needless to say, they were incredibly supportive.  We were also researching adoption agencies and decided that we really like Bethany Christian Services.  We attended a informational meeting in January and it sealed the deal!  We knew where our hearts were at and we both walked away giddy our hearts atleast :)  We completed the preliminary application a few days later and now here we are...

Our preliminary application was approved and we have now submitted our formal application.  We are waiting to receive our formal acceptance and continue moving through this process...I will document all along the way here as well as share my thoughts, laughs, etc.

I hope today that you will look at all the decisions(good and bad) that you have made and the ones that have been made for you that have brought you to where you are today.  I believe every decision is a blessing or has/can be used for good...unfortunately, sometimes it's hard to see that until your in a different spot looking back.

To all the choices yet to come!

much love my friends,

Natalie (hopeful mom-to-be)

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