She never even had a chance to hold her child
I am heartsore to have turned to Laurel’s blog today and learned of her death. Another beautiful, vibrant, young woman taken from us. Earlier this year, Laurel was a guest contributor to a series of posts I ran here on the impact of cancer on fertility, and the different paths chosen to becoming (or the choice not to become) a mother. Laurel shared her story of choosing the option of surrogacy. Here’s an extract from that post.
They say that having cancer changes you. Not just in the obvious visible ways—but fundamentally, as a person and on the deepest of levels. Since my initial breast cancer diagnosis in 2010 I’ve probably been transformed in a thousand ways but none greater than in my relationship with my dreams and the downright rabid determination I now have for making them come true.
As it happened, the “have a baby” line item on this infamous list ended up being a real stickler. Turning this dream into a reality had me heartbreakingly stumped. All my life I’d dreamed of one day becoming a mother, but things weren’t looking too good. After the devastation of several miscarriages I had just been handed the diagnosis of hormone-receptive cancer—a twist that made gestating my own offspring a life-threatening proposition. For various personal reasons, adoption was off the table as well. That left me with just one choice: surrogacy. Wait? What? Was that even a choice? Do regular people do this? In my mind, the whole idea seemed a strange cross between the dystopia of A Handmaid’s Tale and the decadence of an episode of The Real Housewives, but my new pitbull-like determination to live each day of my life to the fullest meant that it was an option that I was going to explore, like it or not.
Laurel found her surrogate and shared how “she sends me text messages when the baby is “dancing” and baffling ultrasounds. “That’s its leg? Are you sure?” I stare hard at those photos during my infusions. She holds this tiny being safely for me while I concentrate on kicking this cancer’s ass.”
Laurel’s dream became a reality on July 27th this year when her beautiful daughter, Kirsa Dare Bond was born via surrogate on July 27, 2015. Laurel’s husband Brett shared the news with these words:
And some part of me feels this is all Laurel’s architecture unfolding. You see, she loved being in her bubble: living life, being creative, having fun, but some tiny part at the deepest level of her courage was realistic. Although I know she hoped to hold and kiss our daughter at least once, I don’t think she was under illusions of cap and gown. Sadly, even the former didn’t come to pass.
I know I’ve said this so many times before but through my tears today I am going to type these words once more. Cancer is a cruel, heartless thief. It steals our most precious love ones from our lives. When is it ever going to stop?
But I don’t want those to be the final words – let me leave you with the simple, heart-felt words Laurel wrote on this blog:
So far, no one’s come right out and had the audacity to ask just what the hell I think I’m doing bringing a child into this world when I can’t be certain how long I will be here, myself. If they did though, I would simply ask them the same thing. None of us know how long we have here. I’m pretty sure if I were to disappear tomorrow, my husband would do a bang-up job raising our little one on his own. And if I leave only one thing of lasting value behind for my child, it’ll be that old bucket list of mine; the one with each and every item scratched off. That, along with the idea that with determination, team work and love, there is literally no dream that is beyond reach.