By Jeanette Nicholson
I always wanted to be a mother, even though I was told I would probably never be able to become pregnant.
You see, as a child, cancer took my kidney. My mom and I were told because of the effects of chemo, and radiation, my chances of conceiving were highly unlikely.
I was too young at the time to understand the impact of that statement, I just knew I hated cancer and how it could destroy hopes and dreams.
When I met the love of my life and soul mate, I knew I wanted to marry him, but I was worried he would choose a different path, and life partner if he knew I would never be able to give him a biological child.
Lucky for me, I was wrong in assuming that. Anyone who knows my husband can speak to his unequivocal loyalty, and compassion for those that he loves. He loved and chose me.
He reassured me we would always have children in our lives, whether that meant fostering, adoption, or being there for any children my sister would have. We would be blessed.
The next couple of years were a whirlwind of excitement, and heartbreak. We were married, and later blessed to have conceived twins girls.
My diagnosis of not being able to conceive was wrong!!! We were elated. They looked like me. They both had my lips, and my husband's nose.
They took one breath each, and passed away in our arms. They were so premature they couldn't survive, and we were devastated.
Always with a place in our hearts everyday for our twins, our hearts slowly grew less heavy as time passed.
When we found out we were pregnant again, we were excited, but scared. Doctors reassured us we had nothing to worry about, but they were wrong.
When I went into premature labour, I became numb.
We had been here before, and I knew how this chapter of our life together ended. I was only 28 weeks pregnant, and the doctors said the baby was barely 2 pounds and 11oz.
When I was being prepped at the hospital to deliver, one nurse reassured me the NICU at Sunnybrook and Women's College Hospital would do their best to care for my son when he was so medically fragile.
She said, "Don't worry! They grow the babes like little chickens in their incubator."
She was absolutely right! All the little premature babies fighting for their lives looked like tiny plucked chickens.
Seeing my little 'chicken' hooked up to countless tubes, and monitors 24/7 was exhausting, yet comforting that he was a fighter. He would make it.
He has now grown into a wonderful young man, and is currently entering his teen years.
His nickname of 'chicken' has stayed, although sometimes people look at me funny when I still call him that. That nickname is a reminder of his experience, and ours. It means resiliency, and unwavering love.
We have since lost one more daughter due to premature labour, our daughter Gabrielle.
Our hearts could no longer bear any more loss, and we decided to no longer try to conceive. Only now do we feel at peace with the path we were put on.
People tell me they don't believe in miracles, but I disagree.
I look at my life; I am a cancer survivor, my son is a survivor, and my husband and I have been blessed with a miracle. His name is Calder.
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