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I’m not going to carry a baby

I’m not going to carry a baby

I’m not going to carry a baby. There, I said it.

Making that decision was not an easy one. There was a lot of soul searching that was involved. As I write this, I get a little choked up knowing that I will never be able to experience a life growing inside me.

As most of you know, I’m on the cancer preventing medicine called tamoxifen that inhibits me from having a baby while taking it. Originally, I was supposed to be on the medicine for five years. However, since starting, the recommended time frame has changed from five to 10 years. Actually, I would stay on this for the rest of my life if it meant that I would never have to deal with breast cancer again. Side effects and all!

When I was first diagnosed, I was encouraged to freeze embryos. That was the furthest thing from my mind at the time; however, I ultimately decided to go forward with the preservation. The plan had always been to stay on the meds for two years, come off it, have a baby (cause it’s so easy, insert sarcasm), and then go back on meds. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Oh, if it was that simple.

Whenever I would see my oncologist, I would ask what she thought and her response was consistent, “I will support whatever decision you make.” That’s not what I wanted.

I wanted her to tell me that of course I could come off the medicine and have a healthy baby and then go back on the medicine and remain cancer-free. Rainbows and unicorns, that’s what I was searching for; it was very clear I was not going to get the answer I was looking for. I had to dig deep and weigh all the pros and cons.

Clearly, I’m not a doctor, but after weighing out everything…to me, the logical answer was to choose to not carry a baby.

My cancer fed off of estrogen, which the tamoxifen in theory is supposed to block.  What happens when you get pregnant? Estrogen is a pretty major player in that game. How big of a risk would I be taking? Would my chances of reoccurrence go up because of this? Would I be putting my husband in a position to raise a child by himself?

Also, from a hormone standpoint, how upset would my body be with me? Going on meds, coming off meds, have a baby, go back on meds. Jeez, talk about agitating my already-confused hormones!

Here is the thing; there has not been enough research to prove whether or not coming off the tamoxifen would increase my chances of reoccurrence. Maybe in 10 years it will be clearer and that’s great for all those that will come after me, but with a heavy heart, my husband and I decided it was in my best interest to not carry a baby.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware that there are no guarantees either way. My cancer can come back whether I have a baby or not, but I would like to do whatever I can to stack the odds in my favor.

I did feel a sense of peace when I finally made this very difficult life-changing choice.  My friends and family were very supportive and nodded in agreement when I gave my reasons.

To clarify, nobody has to give a reason for not having or having a child. It’s a personal choice; but because it was always our intention for me to have a baby, it seemed like the question of “when” kept coming up.

Now the question is…where do we go from here? Well, we really are not sure.

Surrogacy is definitely an option because of the embryos we froze. However, we had a bit of sticker shock when we found out how much it cost to go down that road.

Unfortunately, most insurance does not cover these kinds of services. Actually, I would be stunned to hear if any insurance did. This is very disheartening to me.  Everyone deserves a chance to have a child, if that is their choice, and it should be somewhat reasonable so those dreams are reachable.

Recently, in front of my 5 year old Godson, I made some sort of comment about us not having kids. He turned to me and said “TT, you do have kids, me and Dylan (his little brother).”  He stopped me in my tracks with that statement; I couldn’t help but smile and thank him. We are surrounded by so much love. Yeah, technically, they might not be “our” children, but the love we have for them and they have for us is undeniable.

Maybe we were just meant to be an aunt/uncle and Godparents. And if that’s the case, we are completely OK with that.

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Comments

11 Comments

  1. Liz Donofrio

    Jeannine,

    After following your story for the past couple of years I am proud to see how strong you are and happy to see that you keep moving forward. You are inspiring so many people, including your Godson. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your journey! With faith there’s hope!

  2. Jeannine– you are strong and brave and beautiful and whatever decisions you make are the RIGHT ones.

  3. Jeannine,

    You’re an amazing woman and I appreciate you willingness to share your story!

    Linda

  4. Jeannine, thank you for sharing your story again, I met you briefly when we were getting ready for the “Story of the Girls” a few years back, in “wardrobe” in the basement of the home. You have a great outlook, being positive & staying positive will always help when going through this path that you are on. Thanks again for sharing your story with all of us.

  5. hi-randomly came across your page. random people have come into my life- especially in the journey of “building a family” topic … I’m 43 and after 7 miscarriages (obviously not the same medical story as yours – but still a lot of “what if/what should we do” convos for 7 years… I can tell you after using a gestational carrier (GC)… and having twins that are now 3…I can say “money and time well spent”… in the moment money matters… and three years down the road it just does NOT for us. yes, we work our tails off to pay the debt of a G.C (we had not insurance for the fertility – 100% out of pocket)…. but for us, it was the best money spent. my best advise is “never say never”… and “don’t close any doors until you are ready and then don’t have regrets”… good luck with the journey and where ever it takes you is the RIGHT journey for you~!!!

  6. It is wonderful how strong you have been through this tough decision and that you have so much support.. My younger sister has to be on a cancer med for life and she had to start the meds before she had a chance to do any type of harvesting. I have told her if she ever needed eggs or someone to carry a baby, I am in.

  7. I think lot of parents enjoy giving their love to adopted children. It maybe worth thinking about.

  8. I want to share my story that due to cancer(my husband has testicular cancer) we were not able to have a child of our own but God works in mysterious ways….we adopted our son 19 years ago and he is the joy of our lives. So please don’t give up on having a child

  9. Jeannine thanks for sharing your thoughtful decision. I agree with Noreen-it is your decision so it is the right one. I love what your nephew said tooo… God Bless you and your family…

  10. My husband and I years ago chose not to physically have children due to medical histories in both families. we have since been aunt and uncle to many children and fostered 2 wonderful boys thru their teens and into their adulthood. our oldest foster son is getting married next year and we are thinking of doing an adult adoption so that he may carry on our name and inherit our assets. we also mentor many young adults thru my husbands work, as they bring in many young people to work in the sciences field and most of these young people are from all over the world and have never been away from their support family. there are many ways to be a parent these days. if you choose to foster or adopt you will feel fulfilled.

  11. thank you

About the Author

Jeannine Canino Bieda
Jeannine Canino Bieda

Jeannine Canino Bieda has worked in the Options industry for the last 14 years and cannot imagine doing anything else; she enjoys all the craziness, the good, the bad & the ugly! She is a breast cancer survivor. She is married to the love of her life and does not have any children but hopefully that will change one day. She is a proud Southsider but lives in Evanston now because it’s where her husband is from; she learned quickly, you can take the girl out of the Southside but you can’t take the Southside out of the girl! She is highly addicted to reality shows & gossip magazines and is not ashamed of it.