Maybe Baby?!! by Abby Newman - Read Online
Maybe Baby?!!
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A million miles away from her dream of ever holding her baby in her arms – or so it seemed at the time. A straightforward, honest portrait of the process of trying to start a family through surrogacy – as if your best friend was explaining the details to you personally. Abby doesn’t hold back as she takes us with her through her journey that is anything but a smooth, straight line to having a baby. You can’t help but root for her as she faces the (almost) unattainable head on, bumping into one roadblock after another. An educating and enlightening story of how the strength of a mother’s love can conquer all.
Published: BookBaby on
ISBN: 9781483504704
List price: $7.99
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Maybe Baby?!! - Abby Newman

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Chapter 1

Reality Check...I’m Not Invincible?

The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails.

~ William Arthur Ward

24 is a great age. You can get away with acting like a grown-up or not-so-grown-up, depending on your mood at the time. You’re old enough to be taken seriously but still young enough to sow your wild oats, which is exactly what I was doing at 24 – I was at the start of a very promising career, I had more energy than a bolt of lightning, and I was having a blast living on my own in the city for the first time after college. It was also the age I got the most unpleasant surprise of my life: cervical cancer.

The tumor didn’t rear its ugly head until pretty late in the game. I wish it had hurt, so I’d have known it was there, but there was no pain at all. No sign of anything wrong. I just sensed something wasn’t right, something seemed different with my body, but I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. So on May 18th, 1989, I had a pap smear. I asked the doctor if he thought anything was wrong and his response? I don’t think so. Of course he’d assume that – I was young, in great shape and had had a clean bill of health up to this point.

Four days later, while at work at a well-known Chicago advertising agency, my boss unexpectedly came into my cubicle and told me that my parents were waiting in the office lobby for me. I didn’t even put two and two together. But when you’re so caught off guard like that, your mind switches to auto-pilot and you just move without thinking. When I got there, the first thing I saw was my mom crying. She couldn’t even speak. My dad said, We’re going to the hospital. It was the first time ever that I saw fear in my strong, always-in-control father.

I didn’t comprehend what was going on until I sat across from the doctor in his office. This was not my regular gynecologist; I had never met this man, Dr. Schink. I didn’t know who he was, what he did or why he was the one I was talking to. All I heard was, You have cervical cancer, it’s a very fast-growing tumor, therefore, we need to do surgery right away...and you will lose your ability to carry a child. What kind of surgery? Tumor? Me? Are you sure?

I just stood up, put my head against the wall and started hysterically crying. My life had changed forever. There was a continuous loop in my head with the words, you can’t have children, over and over again. I was inconsolable. Then I suddenly realized something: I stopped crying and turned around and stared at the doctor for a second, afraid to hear the answer to my question, Am I going to live? He said, You have an 80% chance of survival, threw some statistics at me that I drowned out, and I went right back to crying. I’ve never been more shocked and terrified in my whole entire life. I’ve never felt more alone in my entire life. I’ve never grown up so fast in my entire life – it was at that point that I came to the realization that my parents couldn’t fix everything – they just stood there, for the first time in my life, helpless.

I went to two other doctors for a second and third opinion. The second doctor thought he was trying to make me more comfortable by comparing the exam to walking around a farm – he actually said to me, as though talking to a three-year old (with my legs in the stirrups and I was spread eagle), Now I’m going to open the barn door and visit the animals...ok, right now my hand is on the horse and I’m going to try and find the cow. I got on my tractor and rolled out of there as fast as I could.

The third doctor wanted to use me for an experiment: He wanted to perform the surgery and then do radiation on my ovaries, which would destroy them. Not only did I not want to be someone’s guinea pig, but the first doctor, Dr. Schink, wanted to save my ovaries if he possibly could, as I was only 24.

I sat in a restaurant with my family discussing which doctor I should go to. We were advised against Dr. Schink because he wasn’t board certified yet and he was fairly new in the area, so still an unknown in the local community. Everyone was talking about me as if I weren’t even there, so I finally spoke up and said, This is my body and my decision and nobody else is touching me except Dr. Schink. If it’s one thing I do have, it’s a sixth sense about people and I’ve never regretted my decision since. Actually, in 20 years, I’ve still never found a doctor that I’ve liked as much as him. Was that an emotional decision? Yes, partly – I needed a doctor who was kind and had a sweet disposition, but also I could tell he knew his stuff. He’s now the head of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at the Robert H. Lurie Center at Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation in Chicago, IL.

The surgery took six hours. I was told that I woke up in the middle of it, so the anesthesiologist had to put me out again. Apparently, he wanted to be sure this time and pumped me up pretty good, because it took five days for me to come out of it. That wasn’t the only complication. My temperature wouldn’t go down, the doctors couldn’t figure out why, and they wouldn’t let me go home until it did. The only thing I could think about after my surgery was getting my butt out of that depressing hospital room and into my own bed. Instead of feeling better, every day I got weaker and felt