During my cancer treatment, I told anyone who would listen how all I wanted to be was a mom. I was so scared that I wouldn't have the chance because of all the poisons injected into my body. I remember asking my oncologist, before treatment began, if I should have some eggs frozen just in case. He assured me that Interferon had no proven negative effect on reproduction.
I put a lot of faith in that statement. I trusted him and thank goodness he was right. I ended my cancer treatment in September 2006 and by January 2007 I was pregnant (my doctor said that we could safely start trying a month after ending treatment). It was such a happy time in my life. I'd survived cancer, withstood all the horrible treatment and side effects and was now blessed with a pregnancy.
I knew she was a girl all along (of course I verified that at my 20 week appointment). I was so excited. I even did the "it's a boy" thing just to use reverse psychology and not jinx myself out of having the girl that I so desperately wanted. I have no idea how people wait to find out the gender. I can imagine that it makes the birthing experience that much more exciting, but I could never do it. I'm a planner and need to know everything right now. The more you get to know me, the more you'll realize that when I have the urge to know or do something, it gets done immediately. I'm a "do now, think later" kind of gal. Anyway, back to the story at hand...
After nearly 40 very long long weeks, Atia was born. I was in labor for 22 hours and ended up having a c-section. I still think I could have had her vaginally if the doctor had allowed me to labor a few hours longer. I wish I had known back then to make a fuss and demand the option to continue laboring.
Atia was born on September 20th, 2007 weighing in at 8 lbs 14 ozs and 20 3/4" long.
She was totally healthy!
People always ask me what her name means or how we came up with it. The truth is we were watching "Rome" on HBO and one of the characters was named Atia. She was strong, strategic and powerful. We admired those qualities and hoped our daughter would have them as well.
As mentioned in my previous blog entry, I ended up going back to work after my maternity leave ended. It was a horrible time, but at least in the beginning I was able to round up several family members to take turns watching Atia. Unfortunately, that was short lived because none of them live in Chicago or the surrounding area. We had to suck it up and get a nanny.
The thought of leaving my daughter in the hands of a stranger sickened me. I wanted to be the one raising my child!! After about 10 interviews, we finally found someone that I instinctively liked. Plus, her resume was awesome and she had medical skills - super important in case Atia choked on a marble and someone with training was needed to dislodge it!!
Even though I was confident in my selection, the morning I had to leave Atia with the nanny I cried all the way to the train. I must have called home to "check in" about a million times. Luckily, it all worked out and Atia was safe and cared for very well.
Sidenote: Uh-hum <clearing throat>, is it just me or is the cost of childcare absolute insane?!? I could not believe how much a nanny or a "good" daycare cost in Chicago. How can people afford this, especially if it's a family with more than one kid?
The nanny and I butted heads on several occasions. I remember one time I specifically asked her to feed Atia yogurt because the doctor said it was a healthy, safe way to test Atia's dairy tolerance. The nanny refused. She told me that she wouldn't do it because it contained too much sugar. What the heck?!? I bought the baby ORGANIC yogurt. To my knowledge there was no better yogurt option. Excuse me, but who's the mom here and who works for whom? As you can imagine, I was livid.
Because I was laid off, we ended up letting the nanny go in July 2008.
Being a stay-at-home mom was my dream come true, although I was realistic about the transition... OK, let's be honest, I was nervous that I'd get bored staying home and playing with kid toys all day. I mean, I had just come from this high stress, incredibly demanding job and now my tasks included, making lunch, changing diapers and washing dishes. Ugh! I HATE housework, but I LOVE being with Atia.
The transition wasn't easy for me. I quickly signed Atia up for classes just so I could be with other moms. It was the best decision I made and Gymboree will forever be remembered as my saving grace. It took me a few classes to warm up to the routine and the other moms, but once I did it was wonderful (the clouds parted, the sunlight shone through and the angels sang, "Ahhhhh"). This is where I met Ana, another blogger in the "Ay Mama" group, Hillary and Janel. They were my first "mommy friends" (outside of my pre-baby friends circle).
These women enjoyed talking about their children and sharing tips, tricks and stories about their experiences as mothers. I turned to them when I wanted information about other music classes, ballet classes or whatever else. Wonderful women, mothers & friends!
They were also some of the first to offer help and support a few months later when our world was turned upside down...