Post written by guest blogger and friend, Vanessa Santiago.
The Family ~ Christmas 2011
My name is Vanessa and I'm happy to say I'm a mother of two. I had my daughter in 2001 when I was 20 years old. At the age of 26 I was diagnosed with abnormal cells on the cervix and that's when my journey began.
The JourneyI've always felt like one of the "lucky ones" because my abnormal cells were found before they became an invasive cancer, but by no means has the journey been an easy one. In the past five years I've had many procedures done to prevent a cervical cancer diagnosis. Just to name them, I had one colposcopy, two cryotherapies, three laser therapies , one cone biopsy and one LEEP procedure . Due to all these procedures the doctors told my husband and I that even thought I can conceive, there was no guarantee that I can carry a baby full term.
Back in 2007 when I had my cone biopsy, my husband and I made the decision that we wouldn't go through the painful situation of having a miscarriage. We basically accepted that we will not have any kids together (my daughter is from a previous relationship).
An Unexpected Surprise I had a PAP test done on November 2010 and the results were negative. December of that same year we moved to a different state. During the whirlwind of the move, I found out I was pregnant. We had so many different emotions, we were happy, we were excited, but most of all we were scared. The words of the doctor kept resonating in our heads. We didn't want to go through a disappointment, but we hoped for the best.
Everything was looking like a normal pregnancy until week twelve when I started bleeding and was diagnosed with a cervical hemorrhage. The doctor said that there was a possibility of a spontaneous rupture in the placenta and I could lose the baby, therefore, I was put on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy.
Medical Procedures Because of my history with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) , I had to have vaginal ultrasounds every week for the first 20 weeks to monitor the length of my cervix. Due to the prior cone biopsy I've had, the cervix can get shorter than a normal cervix as the baby gets bigger causing a miscarriage. After the 20th week sonograms were done every two weeks, which I looked forward to, because I got to see my baby every time.=-)
At week 30, the ultrasound showed that my cervix was measuring 1.5 cm when a normal cervix should measure 7.5 cm. I was sent to the emergency room immediately and was given a round of shots of steroids to make the baby's organs and lungs develop faster in case I went into an early labor.
Baby Michael (Our Miracle)
The Miracle The family jokes by saying that we prayed so much for the baby not to come early to give him a chance to fully develop, that in the end, I had to be induced in order to have him. The delivery was painful and the doctors had to use a vacuum to help him out. I was told that because of the many procedures on the cervix, it wasn't going to be easy for the baby to slide out.
On September 21, 2011 we welcomed baby Michael. As you can see miracles do happen. We never lost faith, even though we were uncertain of the outcome.
I want to take this opportunity to thank my family, friends and especially my husband Joe and daughter Stephanie for the support, prayers and encouragement. We thank God for our beautiful miracle. I hope that by sharing my story it will give hope and peace to women that are going through the same situation and are thinking that having a baby after experiencing so many procedures can't be possible.
"Miracles happen to those who believe in them" ~ Bernard Berenson
Vanessa Santiago- is 30 years old. She lives in Manassas, Virginia with her beautiful family. She is an advocate for cervical cancer awareness and volunteers for Tamika and Friends, Inc . a non profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about cervical cancer and HPV.
Editor's Note: Congratulations to Vanessa, Joe and Stephanie for the beautiful addition to their family. Wishing them all the very best. Thank you for sharing your inspirational story. Much love and health.