The lovely Kimberly Page, John (3), Jessie (almost 2) and Nick (2 months).
Kimberly and her husband had trouble conceiving and needed the help of a fertility specialist for both John and Jessie's conceptions. She had great pregnancies but they were both born a bit prematurely, John at 36.5 weeks and Jessie at 35.5 weeks, though both were healthy.
Kimberly had thought they were done having children and says that she was ready to not be pregnant or breastfeeding anymore and was looking forward to reclaiming her body as her own. When Jessie was around a year old, Kimberly conceived naturally by surprise and went on to have a very difficult pregnancy. From the beginning, things were different, she was very sick and nauseous in her first trimester and her vision began to worsen. Her OB referred her to an optometrist who diagnosed her with double vision and prescribed glasses to help. Going through all of the changes in this surprise pregnancy and then wearing glasses for the first time in her life was difficult for her. However, her vision came back in her second trimester and she felt quite blissful. Kimberly's vision worsened again in her third trimester and she also began having horrible migraines. She went back to the OB who again just brushed it off as more strange side effects of pregnancy. Kimberly let it go for a bit thinking everything would be okay but looked in the mirror one day and realized her pupils were two different sizes. This time she went in to see an ophthalmologist who sent her immediately to the ER for an MRI because he saw something pushing on her eye.
Her MRI at 34 weeks revealed that the pressure on her eye was a brain tumor. The tumor was found to be a benign meningioma but there was some fear that if it continued to grow she could lose her vision. Kimberley found that this type of tumor responds to progesterone which could have caused it to grow during her pregnancy. In the 10 days following her diagnosis, she met with 6 neurosurgeons to discuss treatment options. 5 of the 6 assured her that she was fine to have a typical delivery and wait to address her tumor until after the baby was born. The remaining neurosurgeon, who she liked the most, felt that because her symptoms were worsening so quickly she should see a doctor of maternal and fetal medicine (MFM) to see how the baby was doing and if was safe to deliver early so she could have a craniotomy to remove the tumor and save her vision.
Kimberley saw an MFM at 35.5 weeks who felt that the baby was doing well and was developed enough that she should be going into labor soon. She ended up carrying until 37.5 weeks, longer than she ever had before. Her water broke and she went to the hospital but wasn't able to get an epidural. They had asked her to "labor down" and allow her body to expel the baby without pushing so that she didn't cause any additional pressure in her brain. Nick was born healthy without any complications.
Kimberely's next step was to have an MRI with contrast once the baby was born but her symptoms began to lessen and she decided to hold off. She scheduled the MRI a month later and the craniotomy for later that same week on December 8th, 2015. She was terrified about undergoing such a dramatic surgery while having a newborn. She pumped as much as she could in hopes of protecting her breastfeeding relationship and set up childcare for the month of December. Two weeks after Nick was born she started to feel better - her vision was coming back, her pupil was responsive to light, she didn't feel the swelling of her tumor and by time she had the MRI she was almost symptom free. At this point, the risks of the craniotomy or radiation were too great and her surgery was cancelled. Kimberely is now on watch and wait monitoring to keep an eye on the growth of her tumor but she's doing well and has felt such relief that she is feeling better physically, emotionally and mentally. There's a chance that she will never need intervention and she's trying not to stress out about what she can not control.
Kimberley had learned about this movement just after her daughter was born and thought that it was beautiful and powerful but didn't necessarily feel compelled to participate. After the year she's had she's decided it's imperative to treat herself more and do the things that she wants, it's not just about her husband and kids, life is about what she wants too. Everyone's story is so inspirational and she wanted to have a space to share hers as well.