Dec 5, 2009

The Happiest Mom in the World

Ethan just 2 days old!

I am a happy Mom. A really happy Mom. I think I may be the happiest Mom in the world. And I’ll tell you why…

I was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago. My world came to a stop. I was shocked and devastated. My life was great ---- wonderful husband, great career, very dear friends, and caring family. I was active, fit, and enjoying life. I was only in my 30s. My husband and I were hoping to have a family and were undergoing infertility treatment. After our first IVF cycle, we had gotten pregnant but the pregnancy didn’t hold. We were optimistic that we would be parents sometime soon. It was supposed to be a “routine biopsy”. I can still hear my surgeon telling me the news. My first thought was “will I live?” and then “will I ever have a baby?”

From that day on, I learned to live for each day. I reached out to friends and family to put me in contact with anyone who could help me find the best treatment, understand the disease, and deal with all the emotions --- anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, depression. I was lucky that although the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes, it had not spread to other areas of my body. I chose the most aggressive treatment possible and tried to move on with my life. I learned about some great organizations dedicated to helping women deal with breast cancer and fighting for advancements in treatment. I met so many wonderful, dynamic, strong women survivors who helped me through every stage of dealing with my diagnosis ---- choosing physicians, going through surgery/chemotherapy/ radiation, and learning to live my life again. Women who laughed and cried with me, offered me advice and talked to me for hours. The tremendous love and support from these women and my family and friends was incredible. Words cannot express my love and gratitude to all of these special people in my life.

After my diagnosis, in many ways the world became more vivid to me. I noticed more things and took more time to listen, look, and explore. Every moment became precious. I left behind the quest for a high-powered corporate career to focus on having a family, quality of life, and giving back. Every week throughout my treatment and beyond, I bought one children’s book and put it on a shelf to save for my “baby-to-be”. That focus on the future…on having a child someday, helped me through the toughest days of treatment.

After my treatment was completed, my oncologist recommended against trying to become pregnant as my tumor had been estrogen receptor positive (and during pregnancy estrogen levels increase significantly). Our precious embryo was carried to term by an amazing woman (a gestational surrogate). Ethan was born in September of 2005. I became a Mom. I am so grateful to this amazing woman who has become a dear friend, part of our family, an “Auntie” to Ethan. To this day, when I hold Ethan in my arms, it brings tears to my eyes since I never thought I would be a Mom. And my little boy is the absolute joy of my life.

When Ethan was born, I think I was the only new Mom on the planet who was not just happy…but thrilled to wake up during the night for feedings…fine with sleepless nights…happy to deal with anything! The happiest Mom in the world! If I’m ever telling you a story about Ethan and something he’s said or something we’ve done together…don’t be surprised to see tears in my eyes. In fact, I can get very weepy when I talk about him! I love to see him explore the world and learn new things…love to hear his little voice tell a story or break out into song…love the “why?” “why?” “why” questions…and love his every developing sense of humor (right now he thinks the funniest thing is to say “Mommy?” I answer “Yes, Ethan?” He says “Nothing!” And breaks into giggles. Ahhhh, the simple pleasures in life.

I am truly grateful for every precious moment in this world. For many reasons, I’m driven to try to make some small difference in this world. I was happy (and lucky) to stay at home full-time with Ethan for his first 2.5 years. It was a wonderful time. Since he was born, I have spent lots of time showing him the outdoors, introducing him to art and music, reading books and have seen how exposing a child to nature/art/music at a young age can inspire such a curiosity about and an awareness of the world. I began playing music for Ethan when he was just a few hours old...started reading books to him when he was just a few days old…and took him outside to feel the rain when he was just a week old. I love every minute of time that I spend with Ethan…love watching him grow and learn…love his curiosity and interest in the world.

When I thought about working again, I had no interest in the corporate world. So, Rosie Hippo was perfect –a combination of my love for children, my interest in child development, my creative side, and my marketing/business background. And I love what I do! I love bringing toys and books and music to children that will help inspire them, teach them about the world --- issues like diversity, giving, greening -- and help instill good values and a foundation from which to grow. And I’m dedicated to trying to give back…to trying to make some small difference in the world. I want Rosie Hippo to be a toy company with a what we stand for, in what we sell, and in what we support. I’ve sought opportunities to partner with like-minded organizations dedicated to trying to make a difference...for children...for parents...and for our planet.

Every time that I hug my little boy, snuggle with him and read a book, hear him say “Mommy I love you” and experience so many other beautiful moments reminds me of how precious life is…how precious children are…and I am truly grateful. I am indeed the “happiest Mom in the world”!


The Boss Cappo of OG'Z said...

What a journey, a truely inspirational, inspring story. Since recentlybBecoming a new father, when I thought those days may have passed me by, I competley identlify with so much that you have written. I wish you continued success in Rosie Hippo!

Sarah Brown said...

Wow--what a story you have. I am so glad that you continue to do well and are cancer free. May you and yours continue to be blessed this holiday season!

S Franks said...

Kim, On friday I told you that I loved reading your blog, today I realized that I needed to catch up, and I have say I just started crying when I read this. You are an amazing woman, mother and my son is so lucky to call Ethan his friend. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and are blesses with good health for the future. SF

Benenden Fertility Centre said...

What a great blog, truly inspiring.
It's so great to see you've gone into detail, and aren't afraid to be honest and open. The IVF process can be a highly emotional one, and does not always have a happy ending, so it's refreshing to see someone speak so openly about it.
This would be an invaluable resource for anyone looking to take the first step on the IVF journey, and because it's your personal journey, this will really help those people associate, and could convince them to start the journey

Inspiring words.

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