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I need to make a tough decision. Any input appreciated!

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
So I went to the surgeon today and we had a long visit with him. It was good because he answered a lot of my questions and he really talked in depth to us about the surgery and my cancer and all that and what we're going to have to do. Of course he wants to do the surgery sooner rather than later, but it's obviously my decision what I want to do. I can't have the surgery until after the baby is born because it's pretty extensive.
Here's the deal. We don't know if the cancer has spread to my lymph nodes. I have a 1 in 5 chance of that happening, so my odds are pretty good that it hasn't. But if it has we obviously want to catch that sooner rather than later because the more time it spends there then the more aggressive it becomes and so on and so forth. The only way to find out if it is in my lymph nodes is during surgery. Surgery entails cutting a large part of skin off of my chest, injecting the radioactive dye to see what lymph nodes it goes to (it could be either the right or left armpit or both) and then removing those lymph nodes for testing.
I am 35 weeks pregnant as of today. I have to make the decision to wait it out and schedule the surgery for after the baby is born (it could be anywhere from 2 weeks to 7 weeks to have the baby, obviously - then my surgery would be a week or two after that), OR I have to make the decision to switch over to an OB and induce.
I talked to my midwife for a long time today, she spoke with my surgeon about all of this and she told me ultimately it was my decision, and that she's sorry I have to make this decision because she wouldn't know what to do if she was in my shoes. It's cancer. It's serious. Right now no one can say HOW serious it is because we just don't know, we're only going to get answers from the surgery. I know I will pull through this ok, I am young and strong, but I also don't want to wait longer than i should. But then again I don't want to have the opposite birth that I was planning for.
I am just really, really stuck. To make matters even more complicated we don't know if we're going to have insurance or not past May 31st. Before all of this happened we decided to cancel it to buy private insurance. My husband called them and told them we made a mistake and that I was never supposed to be taken off the insurance, so we're waiting to hear back from them. We will know by Monday.
There are pros and cons to both decisions. I just don't know which decision to make
post #2 of 49

DDC Crashing

Can you get the steroid shots and then deliver at 36 weeks? Some babies do great at 36 weeks. Then get the surgery? Obviously you won't be nursing if we're talking about the radioactive dyes. You'll need to switch to an OB though.

I mean, kid needs a mom and you need the surgery. You also need to establish that the cancer isn't considered pre-existing by the new HCP so it's not excluded from coverage.

I'm so sorry that you're having to deal with this.

Liz
post #3 of 49
Oh hugs mama! I can not imagine having to make that decision. I honestly do not know what I would do...
post #4 of 49
You're in my thoughts and prayers. What a rock and a hard place to be in ad I wish you peace in your decision making.

Healing vibes your way!
post #5 of 49
Oh, I am so sorry, mama. This must be so hard for you.

I am jsut going to tell you flat out what I would do. I would get induced.

I might wait the week and pump up with steriods, and I would also talk to my doctor to make sure that the baby will be fine, but in the end your baby (thank goodness) is old enought to thrive already and we have the medical technology to help.

If it were earlier, I would wait, and I think waiting a week is a good idea, but your baby needs a mama.

I will be thinking of you.
post #6 of 49
I would do all I could to get the cancer. Even induce a slightly early baby. I had DD 100% naturally (although it was a surprise!) at 36 weeks, and she was born pink, breathing, and happy. So 36 weeks is not that bad, IMO.

Your baby is coming very soon no matter what- and she needs a mom. I would do what I needed to do to make sure she has one. She is not going to care what kind of birth she had if she doesn't have you.

My heart goes out to you. My prayers are with you, whatever you decide.

You are young, strong, and have every chance to beat this.
post #7 of 49
I am VERY against medicalized birth in general. But in this situation... if it were me.... I would probably induce and have a hospital birth. I agree with PPs that children need their mother. And also, I just believe that now that you know you DO have cancer... you should try to beat it as quickly as possible. Any decision you make, I am sure you know we will all support. This is just what I would do in the same situation... of course I am not IN your situation and you have to make the decision. s mama!
post #8 of 49
My thoughts are with you!
I agree it is a very hard decision.
I also don't know what I would do but either choice seems to have positives.
My first ds was born at 30 weeks. I was able to get the steroids for his lungs and he did very well. I would definitely try and wait til you can avoid NICU time for sure. Could you wait til 37 weeks?
36 weekers do extremely well though and I believe they rarely need the NICU.

Also, my "finding your tribe" area on MDC often has posts looking for donated breaskmilk. I know this is probably the last thing you are thinking about right now, but just thought I'd suggest it in case you want/ need any donated breast milk as a potentially good resource.

All the best to you!!! Good luck with the weeks ahead!
post #9 of 49
Not in your ddc either, but couldn't read this and not respond.

if it were me, i would induce at 36 weeks. i would pump like mad for the first few weeks (while breastfeeding), then have the surgery and feed baby the expressed milk. do you think you will be able to resume nursing after recovering from the surgery, or will you be having chemo or radiation? i guess alot depends on the results of the surgery.

HUGS to you, i cannot fathom going through this while PG. i wish you healing and health!
post #10 of 49
I agree! I would also let them get baby out ASAP - 36 or 37 weeks....
post #11 of 49
First of all, I am sorry that you need to make this decision. It would be a very tough decision for me to make too.

I have to agree with the other ladies though. I would see about getting induced around 36-37 weeks so that you can go after this cancer and get rid of it.

Lot of hugs coming your way with whatever decision you make.
post #12 of 49
I agree with most of the pps - induce at 36 weeks and go from there. My son was born at 35 weeks and he was very healthy - no NICU time needed. Can they do an amnio to check for lung function? In this case, mama, I think that medicalized birth is really the best option for everyone. I know what a hard decision that is but your health is so very important - only you can be the perfect mama so you need to do everything you can to beat this cancer.

My heart goes out to you - I am praying for you and sending you lots of good wishes. You have been on my mind a lot this week and I have really been trying to visualize peace and good health for you. Lots and lots of and we will be here to support you no matter what. :
post #13 of 49
I'm so sorry you're going through this.

In your shoes.. I would induce and have the baby in order to try to catch the cancer earlier. Giving up the birth experience will suck, but I think it's a worthwhile sacrifice in order to give you the best shot of having a full lifetime with your child.
post #14 of 49
I would choose to be induced--your baby won't remember the birth and you will always know you put your health (for baby's sake if nothing else) first.

Whatever you decide, I am sure you will make the right choice. *hugs* I'm sorry you are going through this.
post #15 of 49
DDC crashing, too. I know what it's like to be wedded to your plans for a natural birth; however, I can't compare those feelings to the need to present to raise my child to adulthood. Natural childbirth accomplishes a lot of wonderful things for both mom and baby, but in my mind, combating serious illness outweighs those benefits. As others have suggested, I imagine that under similar circumstances I would choose to get the steroid shots and induce at 36 weeks. Then do what you need to do to take back your health and be there for your baby. I'm so sorry you're having to make this choice.
post #16 of 49
While I can't truly imagine what you are going through, I do know about the best of plans being cast aside. When I was pregnant with DS I had planned a beautiful homebirth with my best friend as my midwife, studied hypnobirthing, and had so many ideas on how his birth would go. I ended up with PIH and 4 weeks of bed rest, followed by preeclampsia and a hospital induction. I won't lie to you, the induction was pretty horrible compared to the peaceful birth I had imagined. But I also felt horrid, and knew that the hospital birth was best for me and my baby. In the end- 2.5 years later, I barely remember nor think about his birth and I am just glad we are both here and healthy.

If it were me, I would get the steroids and deliver at 37 weeks. 2 weeks won't make much of a difference with the cancer, and then you can have some time to prepare for all of it. For the delivery, for the testing and possible treatment, and for your new baby. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
post #17 of 49
My thinking is a it different but i was thinking i would wait to have the baby till they were fully baked so that you wouldn't have the stress of a premature baby and the cancer to deal with. Can the cancer spread or be more of an issue if you wait the full month for the baby to come? If that were the case i would induce but if it isn't i would wait it out. I will be praying for you.
post #18 of 49
I hate to be the voice of dissent, and please no one jump on me, but I would want to wait and gather more information first before jumping into this head long. I know there is so much to think about, but I'm wondering about all the aspects that need to go into this decision. Is it all still pretty much a guess at this point as to whether or not the cancer had spread? Or are they relatively sure that it hasn't and and they just want to be sure? How much of a difference will a few weeks make, in both treating the cancer and for your baby? Will the birth center let you out of your contract, or will you be out all that money you paid them out of pocket if you have to be induced? If the insurance company won't allow you to keep your coverage, how will your hospital delivery and subsequent treatment be paid for? Do the risks of vacating your baby early truly outweigh not waiting on the biopsy? I know it is a lot to have to consider, but if it were me, I would want to know with 100% certainty that inducing would be a safer alternative to waiting. Your baby will already be at a disadvantage after he is born in that the biopsy is going to cause problems with breastfeeding. Is that worth compounding by forcing him out before he is done cooking? I know you and I have talked about some of these things one-on-one, and I know you are a strong, intelligent woman who will not make this choice lightly, and I just hope that you can find a way to work for your family.
post #19 of 49
I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this. We support whatever decision that you make.
post #20 of 49
I would induce at 37 if inducing.

One thing to know, after the surgery they usually won't let you start any type of treatment for another 28 days. So it will grow in the meantime. So really, the sooner you can get it done the better. I also would plan to formula feed (give the baby the initial colostrum and such), since you probably can't breastfeed for 24 hours after the surgery and then again if you're getting any sort of treatment. So getting your head around not necessarily having the choice to breastfeed and gathering supplies/info would be beneficial beforehand.

I'm a cancer survivor, fortunately it was before I had kids. It is a tough diagnosis to deal with, let alone when you are pregnant. I'm sure you'll make the right decision whatever it is. Hugs!
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