Sweet Baby Ryan…

On December 3rd, 2014, life changed for my husband, David, and me in the most magical way.  We welcomed our son, Ryan, into the world.  Words cannot begin to describe the overwhelming love that we feel for our sweet boy.  Not too long ago, we were challenged by two emotionally and physically-draining experiences.  You see, Ryan is our Rainbow Baby.

I have been very open about our tumultuous year yet I have kept relatively quiet about what we endured in 2013.  I have decided to share our deeply personal story not only in hopes that it will prove to be a cathartic experience for me but that it might provide a bit of hope for someone else whose path to parenthood has been paved with struggle, uncertainty and heartache. We all have a journey, and this was ours…

In the spring of 2013, David and I were thrilled to discover that we were expecting.  At our first ultrasound appointment, we heard the exciting (and shocking) news, “It’s twins!”.  Over the next few months, we laughed, we planned, we prepared…except I could never bring myself to make any purchases for the nursery.   We had learned that our babies were not only identical twin boys but that they shared a placenta.  With all of the reading I had done, I knew that a shared placenta meant an even higher risk than is commonly associated with multiples.

At our anatomy ultrasound, our baby boys received the diagnosis of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS).  Basically, because they shared a placenta, they also shared their blood supply.  One of the babies was “donating” his blood supply to his brother.  This caused the donor baby to have a low volume of blood while the recipient baby was struggling because the excess blood was causing his heart to work too hard.  We heard the news and we absolutely crumbled.

We made arrangements to travel to Cinncinati Children’s hospital four days later.  At Children’s, they specialize in TTTS.   We never made the trip.  Devastatingly, on July 21st, three days after receiving the diagnosis, my water broke and our twins were born…far, far too soon.  We held them tightly, told them how much we loved them and, in between sobs that shook us to our cores, made certain that they knew they had forever changed our lives.  We then sent them up to Heaven, our hearts shattering into a million tiny pieces.

Photograph in remembrance of our sweet angels

The thought of trying to conceive again was daunting.  For many months, I had absolutely no desire.  I had lost my babies and I didn’t want to try to “replace them”.  I just needed to mourn.  (What I failed to realize at the time was that the mourning would never come to an end.)  Finally after about six months of emotional healing, healing that will forever continue be a part of our daily lives, David and I decided that we were in a healthy enough headspace.  I went to visit my doctor to make sure that my body was ready as well.

I have been going for mammograms since I was 28 because my mom had breast cancer 15 years ago.  I had always felt like I was “looking over my shoulder,” just waiting to be diagnosed…my instincts have always been eerily accurate.  I asked my doctor to send me for my yearly mammogram just to cover my bases, so to speak.  I had also been experiencing some unusual symptoms.  I went for my mammogram and an ultrasound but all was clear.  Phew, I thought, except my doctor wasn’t 100% comfortable with the results.  He reminded me that my body had been through a great deal and my symptoms were probably hormonal, BUT, he wanted me to go meet with the breast surgeon down the hall.  I met with the amazingly wonderful, Dr. Aimee Mackey from Duke.  She, too, thought that everything could be due to hormones but she wanted to send me for an MRI just to be certain.  The MRI showed two masses…one in each breast.  I then had to schedule an MRI-assisted biopsy.

On January 10th, 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33.

David and I had gone from talking about trying to have a baby to not knowing whether I would be around to have a baby, let alone be able to get pregnant.  Our lives were once again flipped upside-down.  Thankfully, we caught the cancer early.  That, coupled with my decision to undergo aggressive surgery, allowed us a chance to have our own child.  In March of this year, we found out that we were expecting again.  BEST NEWS EVER.

We found out that we were expecting another little boy.  We chose his name, Ryan, very early on, but kept it to ourselves.  I kept saying, “Until he is here and healthy, I want to keep his name private.”  That is because I am forever scarred.

Although I felt much differently about this pregnancy, I was still worried.  I put off getting the nursery ready until late in my pregnancy.  I was still fearful.

On Wednesday, December 3rd, that all changed.  We met our sweet, sweet, son.  After the birth of our twins, I had read something that really resonated with me…I read that even though you lose a baby, you are still a mom, you were just never able to parent.  I was finally being given the beautiful gift being both a mom and a parent.

The love we immediately felt for Ryan was overwhelming, to say the least…overwhelming, all-consuming, and euphoric.

We all have our journey and our journey lead us to this amazing little guy…

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Me and my boys...

My boys and me…

He takes my breath away...

He takes my breath away…

We began our year on a frightening low note and ended it on a beautiful high note.  I truly do not think that the timing was by coincidence, nor do I think that the fact that Ryan was born in December, the same month of the twins’ due date, happened by chance.  

Words cannot express how grateful David and I are to have been surrounded by such unconditional love and support throughout the past year and a half.   We are ridiculously blessed to have such incredible families to take care of us emotionally and physically when we needed it most.   The outpouring of kindness from our friends amazed us both.  We are constantly thanking our lucky stars.  I also would like to take this opportunity to thank my incredible husband.  He has had to give up so much the last couple of years in order to take care of me after all of my medical procedures.  He has been by my side, loving me unconditionally.  I can only imagine how difficult his own experience must have been.  I am elated to begin this next chapter of our lives together and Mom and Dad!

xoxo

Lindsey

Comments

  1. Love you my brave and sweet friend! We are beyond happy for you and David! xoxo

  2. I love you sweet friend. You’re strength amazes me every day! I’m so blessed that our paths crossed and I can now call you my friend. Rudy and I adore you and your boys. We can’t wait to make more memories in the years to come!!! Xoxox

    • baublesandbackdrop1003 says:

      I cannot imagine what life would be like had you not made the move to Raleigh. You play such a major role in my world. Thank you for your constant support. Love you!

  3. Beautiful post Linds, xx

    • Linds…my god. What a tragically beautiful blog, honey. We never know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice. I love you. Ryan is beautiful, and such a gift. I’m happy for you beyond what any silly words could express. Hugs and love and peace to you and David and Ryan. <3

      • baublesandbackdrop1003 says:

        Thanks, Stace! I couldn’t agree with you more. Prior to the cancer ordeal, if someone asked me to list 10 qualities about myself, I have no idea if “strong” would have even made the list. Now, it would be at the very top of the list. Love you and hope to see you soon!

    • baublesandbackdrop1003 says:

      Thank you, Cin! Miss you! xoxo

  4. Such a moving post. Thanks for sharing your brave journey.

    • baublesandbackdrop1003 says:

      Thanks, Jen! By the way, I totally agree that you need to write a book or start a blog. Your posts literally make me laugh out loud. You have such a great written voice!

  5. I had the pleasure of meeting you at Lynette’s wedding festivities a few years ago. We talked a little about nothing very important. I knew immediately that you had a kind soul and you were a special person. I’m so glad you are well and you have precious Ryan.

    • baublesandbackdrop1003 says:

      Thank you, Leandra! I know that you play such an important role in Lynette’s life. She is so lucky to have such a sweet and supportive friend!

  6. Lindsey,
    How brave of you to come forward and share yours and David’s personal journey! And what a magnificent gift Ryan is!!! You’ve been blessed with some of the most beautiful gifts life has to offer: a strong, attentive and loving husband; a wonderful disposition to handle love and loss and then love again; life itself by way of your resolve to undergo such aggressive cancer treatment; and finally, the gift that will keep on giving for the rest of your life: parenthood. May you enjoy each every single day. You have always been inspirational to me and now, with this story, you are even more so. Wishing you nothing but the best!! Lots of love, LaTanya

    • baublesandbackdrop1003 says:

      Thank you for the sweet words, LaTanya! One of the reasons that I am thankful for social media outlets is because it has allowed me to reconnect with people like you. It is so great to feel so connected after all these years! xoxo

  7. Beautiful post!! You are truly an inspiration! Thank you for allowing us to be apart of your emotional journey. XoXo Sara

    • baublesandbackdrop1003 says:

      Thank you, Sara! We are so excited to be Mom and Dad to Ryan! Based on recent pictures, it looks like you are wonderfully happy! ; )

  8. So beautiful. Such a wonderful blessing at the end of your long, difficult journey. Sending love your way. Xoxo

    • baublesandbackdrop1003 says:

      Thank you, Ashleigh! Looking so forward to finally meeting you as soon as we are on a bit more of a consistent schedule!

  9. Your story truly brought me to tears.. I know this experience has only made you stronger and brought you closer together as a family as well. I hope this year is your best ever!

    • baublesandbackdrop1003 says:

      Thank you, Jamie! What we have been through has absolutely pulled us together. David has been AMAZING. Hope you’re doing great!

  10. Debbie Olifiers says:

    So so happy for the both of you and Ryan is a beautiful little guy !! He is lucky to have such great parents. Thank you for sharing such a personal and emotionally story.

    • baublesandbackdrop1003 says:

      Thanks, Debbie! Also, thank you so much for constantly showing support for our blog…so awesome! Saw that Taylor got her license…how is that going?

      • Debbie Olifiers says:

        Not so good !!! Lol actually she is a good driver I’m just a nervous wreck. Lots of love to that sweet boy xo. Keep up the great work with the blog.

  11. Mary Lyons O'Connor says:

    amazing Lindsay – inspirational! So happy that you are now snuggling with that bundle of joy…

    • baublesandbackdrop1003 says:

      Thanks so much, Mary! I love seeing your adorable little ones on Facebook. They are so darn cute!

  12. You are so wonderful. So brave, so strong and so, so deserving of this joy in light of so much sorrow. Love you, friend.

  13. Ginger Allen says:

    I am amazed by your strength and overjoyed with the potential your story has to help others. xoxo, g

  14. This is amazing! My husband and I lost a baby as well and we also welcomed our second son on Dec 3rd but of 2010. It’s crazy our rainbow babies share a birthday! Enjoy the road. The pain is tough and having lost my first changed the way I view everything. The joy of having the time I did has helped me through and I pray you have a similar experience.

    • baublesandbackdrop1003 says:

      Hi, Krista! First of all, I am so incredibly sorry that you had to experience your loss. It is just so heartbreaking. However, I am thrilled to hear that you have a beautiful little boy to love and cuddle! I cannot believe the commonalities that we share! Kind of crazy, right???

  15. Oh and our rainbow babies are both named Ryan!

  16. Lindsey you show amazing gratitude inspite of your great addversities. This is a true sign of a happy person. Congrats to you and your family again. All the best, Kat (from ASL)

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