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

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#1 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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

Elijah Mercury (7/2009), TTC #2 with my new soon to be DH! Tattooed, 29 year old cancer survivor! treehugger.gif

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#2 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 08:43 PM
 
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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

Wife, and mother to a small fairy, a demolition expert, a special new someone this fall and a small dachshund.
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#3 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 08:46 PM
 
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Oh hugs mama! I can not imagine having to make that decision. I honestly do not know what I would do...

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#4 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 08:55 PM
 
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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!
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#5 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 09:07 PM
 
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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.
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#6 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 09:10 PM
 
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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.
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#7 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 09:13 PM
 
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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!

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#8 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 09:19 PM
 
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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!
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#9 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 09:29 PM
 
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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!

Momma to K ('01), E ('03) and A ('07)
Acting as a Gestational Surrogate for my cousin, EDD Jan 17th
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#10 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 09:30 PM
 
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I agree! I would also let them get baby out ASAP - 36 or 37 weeks....
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#11 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 09:46 PM
 
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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.

Lindsay - Mum to Logan (May 3, 2007), Graysen (June 26, 2009) and welcoming somebody new in September 2011!
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#12 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 09:50 PM
 
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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. :

hh2.gif Proud Mama to DS1 09/07 ribboncesarean.gif, DD 07/09 hbac.gif, and DS2 06/11 uc.jpg.  Feeling more and more blessed with each day!

 

 
 
 
  

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#13 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 09:53 PM
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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.
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#14 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 10:13 PM
 
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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.
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#15 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 10:14 PM
 
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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.
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#16 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 11:08 PM
 
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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.
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#17 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 11:09 PM
 
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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.
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#18 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 11:15 PM
 
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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.

Brittany- Wife to Eric : Mama to Asher : born 7/15/09
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#19 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 11:17 PM
 
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I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this. We support whatever decision that you make.

:,,:, to my three veggie ladies 12/09/05, : 10/03/07 & 07/10/09 hanging on for dear life to :
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#20 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 11:37 PM
 
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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!

Happily married to my dh, mama to ds1 (01/2005), ds2 (07/2007)  and dd (07/2009).
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#21 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 11:38 PM
 
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I do have to admit that my response is mostly knee jerk. My dad died from cancer a year and a half ago and a friend of ours who was in her early 30s died a couple months ago from... melanoma. I guess my main thought if it were me would be "if I wait 2 or 3 more weeks, will it move to my lymph nodes if it isnt' there now?" I mean, what are the chances that you would be cancer free after one surgery if you did it now than if you waited a few weeks... could it move in that time period? Is it likely to? I assume you asked your oncologist these questions, but I just want to let you know... AGAIN... that I fully support whatever decision you choose.

Angela lactivist.gif, married for 14 1/2 years to DHtwins.gif, mother to DD 8-5-97homeschool.gif, DS 8-5-09 uc.jpgbabyf.gif, and SURPRISE!!! pos.gif due 2-17-12

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#22 of 49 Old 05-29-2009, 11:42 PM
 
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Personally, I would induce at weeks 37-38. And I know firsthand the intense, godawful pain of losing the birth you want. But with my father passing away any day now from cancer, I wouldn't mess with it.

If you need any donated milk, please PM me. I have a freezer full I don't think I'll ever need.
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#23 of 49 Old 05-30-2009, 12:21 AM
 
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Sorry, DDC crashing-- couldn't read and not respond.

My first thought was that inducing at 36 or 37 weeks would be a really prudent idea.

But, then, you know, if the baby's not done yet... You could have a baby in the NICU AND be recovering from surgery and starting chemo/radiation... I think the stress might be too much for me.

There is another concern, though, and that's how will the surgery be affected if you end up with a c/s? Will it be a lot harder to recover? Does it make the cancer surgery riskier? Will the chances of needing a transfusion increase? If you get an infection from one, will it delay your surgery? I would guess that your immune system probably isn't functioning super-great right now. If you try to induce at 36 or 37 weeks to speed up the surgery, and your body isn't ready, you could end up recovering from two surgeries at once. Is that doable?

What about starting steroids for the baby's lungs and EPO/herbs or some acupuncture or something to really help your body get ready to go into labor, and then seeing if you can wait just a bit for labor to start?

Can you get a CT scan or something while you're pregnant? (I have no idea) to maybe get an idea of how big is the main mass now and a week from now so you can get an idea of how fast from week to week it is growing? If there is no way to know until the surgery, I don't think I would wait too long to go into labor.

Is there a possibility that steroids or pregnancy hormones might make the cancer worse? Is there any way to know?

Just some things I'd consider. How much difference does the oncologist think a few weeks to a month will make?

I think in the end, I would be doing everything in my power to start getting my body for labor in the hope that I'd go naturally by 38 weeks, and I'd induce if I got to 38 weeks.

I think I'd end up doing a LOT of praying, everything imaginable to speed my body and my baby's readiness, no matter how fruitcake-sounding, and aim for avoiding the induction if at all possible, but that's because I just can't imagine having to recover from a c/s AND cancer surgery all in the same two months or so. I mean, if I thought it was my only chance for survival, you bet your bottom dollar I'd be doing it. But I'd want to make as sure as certain can be that this really is my best bet before doing it.

This must be an awful, hard decision to make and I can certainly understand not knowing which way to go. It could be SO important to do this right away... and yet it might not be...

I am sure if you listen to your heart, you will end up making the right/ best decision. Good luck mama!
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#24 of 49 Old 05-30-2009, 12:27 AM
 
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What a difficult decision. I'd probably get the steroid shots and induce at 37 weeks. DH is a radiation oncologist, and cancer really freaks me out.

mama to DD (7), DS (3.5), and another DS arriving in August!

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#25 of 49 Old 05-30-2009, 01:15 AM
 
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Some things to consider:
* Being induced before term significantly increases the likelihood of induction failure, which would then land you in a c/section. If you think about the fact that with a regular hospital birth your chances are already 1 in 3 for a section... the odds don't look that great.
* If you did end up with a c/section - will they have to postpone your surgery further due to the increased healing time and/or complications (which are also common)?
* If you were in Canada you'd be waiting at least a month to six weeks for surgery... that's just how long things take up here.

hang in there.

Clinical Herbalist. Trained but never certified, licensed, or registered as a midwife.
07/10/09
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#26 of 49 Old 05-30-2009, 04:37 AM
 
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I don't have any pros or cons to add, but I couldn't read this without sending a or !

May you be blessed with peace and health, whatever decision you make.

Amy loving DH 5/04, raising DD 2/05 and DS 11/09; missing my mom& my babies 6/07, 12/07; and on the side
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#27 of 49 Old 05-30-2009, 06:53 AM
 
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I am against inductions before term - except for situations where the life of mama and baby are at risk.
You don't know how fast the cancer will spread. And you want to do everything in your power to make sure you will get healthy for your baby.
Inducing now might not be the ideal in most peoples cases, but yours is very different.
I would induce NOW and attack this cancer asap.
These are extraordinary circumstances, mama

Continuing to pray for you!
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#28 of 49 Old 05-30-2009, 09:19 AM
 
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DDC crashing,
First off.I am so sorry that you having to deal with this.
Flat out I would induce.
Reason being.I knew someone that this happened to.they found her cancer at 34 weeks,they waited,and waited for the baby to come on it's own.They didn't realise that the cancer was spreading so fast

She was such a lovely lady.she wished that she hadn't have waited.And now it is too late and she is gone.

I hope you don't mind me sharing this.I am only doing so as she would stress to anyone that discussed it with her,don't waste time,time is precious.I just feel like I should share it as I know she would want me to.

Don't waste any time Mama.
You will be in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Natasha,Mum to many.
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." ~ Sir Winston Churchill
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#29 of 49 Old 05-30-2009, 10:41 AM
 
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s I'm sorry you have to be faced with such a difficult decision. You're in my thoughts.

Kristen - doula and birth educator, wife to Ben and mama to Sydney Mu (8/06) and Cal Edward (7/09) :
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#30 of 49 Old 05-30-2009, 11:39 AM
 
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what a tough spot.

It is so difficult when you don't have all of the information on the stage of the cancer.

I would say do whatever is going to give you the maximum amount of strength. You are going to need lots of energy for the baby, not to mention for your own fight.

...will the medication required for a c-section have any effect on your surgery? i.e. will there have to be any delays until you get the meds out of your system?

We are thinking of, and praying for you and your family.
charlene
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