Pregnancy stories, childbirth accounts and real life stories wanted! Do you have a story about your own pregnancy or childbirth experience that you’d like to share? Here are some pregnancy stories sent in by our readers…A Great Birth – and Then the Shock of Cancer.We’d like to thank Heather Von St. James, Mesothelioma Survivor, for her story about how she discovered she had this rare and dangerous form of cancer – just weeks after her daughter was born. This is one of the most touching, and inspiring, pregnancy stories we’ve ever been sent.Here is Heather’s story:”As with all first-time parents, my first pregnancy was a roller coaster of emotions. My joy was tempered by the fear that something would be wrong with the baby. Fortunately, all of my fears were unfounded and I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, Lily,

All of my energy and all of my attention was spent caring for this perfect little being that depended on me. The baby weight just seemed to fall off without effort. Delighted, I attributed the weight loss to the wonders of breastfeeding. Returning to work after only four weeks of maternity leave, I was terribly tired all of the time. Dismissing my fatigue as normal for a new mother who has a lot on her plate, I trudged along. Being a new mom and working at the same time is a lot for anyone to handle. My doctor didn’t find any reason for concern, so naturally I didn’t either. I didn’t really give much thought to my own health; I was consumed with the duties of motherhood.Warning bells started to sound after a while, because the symptoms began to get worse. I would run a fever every night, and began to feel heaviness in my chest that wouldn’t go away. I felt so deeply exhausted all of the time.One day while doing laundry at home I found myself pausing halfway up the stairs, trying to catch my breath. I struggled to the couch and closed my eyes to rest a moment as Lily sat in her swing beside me. I awoke two hours later, knowing that something was very wrong.November 21, 2005 was the day that changed my world forever. The day that I heard those three terrifying words, “you have cancer,”

was the day that my fight for survival began. My baby was only 3 ½ months old. The horror of the situation was overwhelming. My little girl was depending on me and I could not leave her.Today, nearly six years since that terrible diagnosis, I am cancer-free. My loved ones and I sacrificed a lot and struggled through adversity to finally triumph over Mesothelioma, a rare cancer that claims the lives of 90-95% of its victims. Those are some terrible odds, but I beat them. This is the story of my fight to survive, the treatment I went through, and how I became the person I am today.”Heather is now involved in working to raise awareness of Mesothelioma and you can read more of her story here on her blog. We think she is a very courageous and inspiring lady and would like to send her, and all others who find themselves battling with cancer of any form, our love and very best wishes.Editor and Team, Pregnancy Information Guide

Pregnancy Stories 2: My First BabyThey Took My Newborn Baby Away!My first baby was due two weeks before Christmas but by the 20th December, still there was no action. At my checkup the doctor said that he wanted to induce labour but I was reluctant, as everything seemed to be going fine and I figured the baby just had its own ideas about when to arrive! He said he’d give me another couple of days.I tried everything to hurry things along, chopping wood, hot baths, going for long walks…and nothing worked. But then, at 5am on the 20th December, my waters broke. I called the hospital and they said to come in right away.By late afternoon we were still waiting for something to happen. So I was put on a drip to induce labour…and yet, by next morning, things were still pretty slow. I’d have a contraction, then nothing, then a few more…so they increased the dose. The day wore on and the contractions got to be more regular, but by 6pm I was exhausted. This wasn’t how I’d planned things! I was finally given pethidine to ease the pain and from that moment it all felt weird and remote…like a strange dream.

I’ve always been sensitive to medication so it really hit me – I was almost hallucinating!Eventually, at 9.30pm, after a lot of pushing, which felt great after so long in limbo, our daughter was born. She was handed to me right away, which was lovely!I kept looking into her screwed up little face and feeling amazed that my body had produced this perfect little being. I was still feeling woozy so it was hard to really understand that I’d actually had my baby! But then a doctor said he wanted to take her to the nursery for a check up. We asked what was wrong but they wouldn’t tell us. I had a few stitches for a small tear and then was whisked up to the ward, where five other mothers were with their babies beside them. I kept asking, ‘Where’s my baby?’ but no-one could tell me.’Just have a good sleep, dear, and she’ll be here in the morning,’ said the nurse. But I was horrified, convinced there was something dreadful wrong that they weren’y telling me.By 11pm I still hadn’t had a sensible answer out of anyone.

So I got out of bed, put my dressing gown on and headed out of the ward towards the elevator. A nurse came running after me, shouting, ‘Hey, you can’t leave the ward! Get back into bed!’I ignored her and pressed the lift button. In moments the ward sister arrived, very cross and forceful. Ususally I’m not a person who rebels a lot but this time I was furious: it must have been the ‘mother tiger’ syndrome! I just kept insisting, ‘Unless you take me to my baby now, I’m going to search this whole hospital until I find her!’A few minutes later a wheelchair arrived and they took me down to the nursery, where my daughter was sleeping in her crib. They said she was fine, she’d just had a few red spots on her tummy that they’d wanted to check out, and that she’d had a bottle. Since I’d made it plain I wanted to breastfeed, I was none too pleased about this, but soon she woke and I was shown how to feed her. It was a struggle at first, as she wasn’t very hungry,and I still think the first weeks would have been a lot easier if she’d been able to stay with me from birth. From that moment on, she stayed by my side!Because of this experience, I had my second baby at home – but that’s another story!Laura

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