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Meredith Israel Thomas Headshot

I Remember...

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I remember the day I found out I was pregnant and the emotions that went through my head. I remember telling Gary the news and the shock of his reaction. I remember him saying, 'We are having a baby!' I remember telling my parents. I remember their faces when we told them. I remember their reactions -- good and bad. I remember getting a CVS to see if the baby was carrying the Turner's Mosaic Gene I carried. I remember the news that the baby was healthy. I remember us being able to take a deep breath and reveling in the joy of me being pregnant.

I remember being the clumsy pregnant woman who cut her foot open dropping a bowl. I remember forgetting to put the bottom of the blender on the same day. I remember knowing life was going to change and there was no looking back.

I remember the day I was going into the hospital to have the baby. I remember how mad I was at Gary for going out for a run while I paced the apartment waiting to leave. I remember going into the hospital and the doctor telling me that I was already in active labor. I remember telling my parents the name of the baby -- Ethan Tyler for a boy or Niomi Tyler for a girl. I remember seeing my dad and Gary looking at the fetal monitor and watching the baby's heartbeat.

I remember feeling my breath getting labored and telling my mom to get Gary as he had left the room. I remember feeling spacey, knowing that something was off. I remember them saying I needed a c-section and the baby and I were in distress. I remember crying as they rolled me away. I remember telling my mom to tell my brother how much I loved him and that he is a good person. I remember Gary telling me he would see me in a few minutes.

I remember the cold room and the nurse trying to keep me calm. I remember Gary coming in and holding my hand as my arms were strapped down to the table. I remember telling Gary, 'we did it, we made it.' I remember them telling Gary he could look over the drape if he wanted to. I remember his eyes filling up with tears as he told me that was the most amazing thing he had ever seen.

I remember them saying 'it's a girl' and us saying, 'it is?' I remember them showing her to us and holding her upside down. I remember them saying, 'she has a vagina.' I remember crying that I was scared she had Turner's Mosaic Syndrome. I remember the doctor reminding me that they ran the test and that she was fine. I remember hearing her first cry. I remember wanting to hold her. I remember the joy and wondering if this was real. I remember asking Gary if she was a Niomi or if she was a Madison. I remember him telling me she's a Niomi. I remember them putting her on my chest for 30 seconds and me meeting my baby. I remember them taking her away. I remember Gary saying he was going with the baby and would see me soon. I remember telling the nurse it didn't feel real, as it was a c-section and I felt disconnected from Niomi. I remember her telling me that it's a normal response and all would be fine once I really held her.

I remember being scared and lonely. I remember being in recovery and the inconsiderate people on their cell phones. I remember the nurse putting pads down below and looking concerned. I remember seeing the blood on the pads. I remember her saying to get the doctor. I remember the charge nurse telling my nurse that her shift was over. I remember my nurse saying she wasn't going to leave me. I remember the doctor saying they needed to bring me back in the OR as I was bleeding out. I remember being scared like never before and telling them to find my family.

I remember being wheeled back in the OR. I remember needing a DNC. I remember them giving me two more epidurals. I remember waking up again and realizing I still hadn't held Niomi. I remember insisting that I leave recovery and go to my room to meet my baby. I remember waiting for hours to see her. I remember Gary bringing her into the room and handing her to me. I remember falling in love with her big eyes. I remember thinking, 'wow, we created a miracle.' I remember meeting Niomi Tyler Thomas, the most beautiful baby in the world.

I remember the pain shooting through my chest. I remember the mass in my right breast. I remember thinking something is wrong. I remember going to the breast center. I remember them saying it's an infection and not to worry. I remember feeling relief and celebrating. I remember having my mammogram the next day. I remember the pain in the mammogram machine as she squished the breast in between the plates. I remember looking over to the screen and seeing a huge mass. I remember waiting and waiting in the waiting room. I remember watching Forces of Nature while waiting. I remember them calling me back for another mammogram. I remember going back to the waiting room and watching more of the movie. I remember watching women come and go as I just sat there. I remember thinking this isn't right. I remember them saying they wanted to do another mammogram on my right breast to get different shots. I remember waiting again and the movie almost ending. I remember them telling me they wanted to do an ultrasound. I remember my mom calling every 15 minutes wondering what was happening. I remember being scared.

I remember the ultrasound. I remember the lady keeping a stone face and turning the screen away while she did the ultrasound. I remember thinking how often I had ultrasounds during my pregnancy and never feeling scared. I remember her wishing me luck. I remember telling the nurses its been three hours and to let me know what was happening. I remember being brought into a stale room and the radiologist coming in. I remember him saying there are spots that look 'suspicious.' I remember me saying, 'I have cancer.'

I remember him speaking to my mom on the cell phone and hearing her yell at him. I remember her saying, 'who missed it?' I remember her saying I had a mammogram six months earlier and them telling me not to worry. I remember pacing the room and shaking while they spoke. I remember having a nervous cry thinking about my baby girl.

I remember the nurses telling me all would be okay. I remember knowing it wasn't. I remember calling Gary and telling him I needed biopsies. I remember sitting in the doctors office crying and telling Gary this wasn't fair. I remember saying I wasn't a bad person and didn't do anything to hurt anyone. I remember wondering 'why me?'

I remember asking the rabbi at Niomi's camp to say the Misha Bee Ha for me. I remember at that moment knowing I had cancer. I remember sitting next to my mom in bed when we called for the results. I remember him saying I had breast cancer. I remembered handing her the phone and going to my room. I remember calling Gary and crawling in a ball. I remember telling him its official.

I remember having the scans. I remember waiting for the results. I remember the days of waiting and hugging Niomi. I remember telling my friends. I remembered that I wanted normalcy and that it would be fine. I remember seeing the first results and reading that it was only in my right breast. I remember calling my dad, elated, saying we would beat this.

I remember the fax machine ringing. I remember walking upstairs with Niomi. I remember her jumping on me when I picked up the paper. I remember the empty feeling when I read what it said. I remember it saying my liver, bones and other areas had cancer. I remember knowing this wasn't good. I remember breaking down in front of Niomi. I remember her hugging me. I remember me calling my friend Chad to get over to the house and to take care of her. I remember thinking I can't believe these results were faxed to me.

I remember telling Niomi it would be okay. I remember crawling into my bed waiting for Gary's flight to land from New York City. I remember my friend Anna Marie calling and me telling her the updates. I remember her scream and saying she would be right over. I remember hugging my friend and crying together. I remember wanting to be alone until Gary got home.

I remember hearing Gary's footsteps racing up the stairs. I remember hugging him. I remember him saying we should wash our faces and go see Niomi and go downstairs. I remember hearing the sounds of kids' laughter. I remember seeing Niomi and her friends having the best time running around the house.

I remember being tired that night. I remember lots of company. I remember putting Niomi to bed that night. I remember sitting in her pink chair and telling her how much I loved her. I remember me telling everyone I needed to rest. I remember saying 'so long' to my brother and his family that night as we were heading to New York City. I remember collapsing in my brother's arm and saying, 'Why me? It's always me.' I remember us both crying and telling each other we loved each other.

I remember pacing the waiting room at Mt. Sinai and seeing sick people. I remember being snappy at my dad and Gary and wanting to get the fuck out of there. I remember the nurse taking me to a room in the back as she could tell I was getting upset. I remember the doctor telling me I had stage four metastatic breast cancer and had approximately one year to live.

I remember hysterical crying and not hearing what he was saying. I remember looking at Gary and saying, 'I can't believe you are going to be a widowed father.' I remember walking with my dad through the park to meet my mom and Niomi. I remember that nothing would be the same after that.

I remember hugging Niomi and looking in my mom's eyes. I remember me teaching Niomi to say, 'Kick its ass.' I remember telling her that was going to be our motto. I remember hugging her and trying not to cry in front of her.

I remember going to Memorial Sloan Kettering later that day with my parents and Gary. I remember the oncologist coming in the room. I remember him saying, 'I'm not giving you a time frame as you could get hit by a bus tomorrow.' I remember us smiling. I remember him saying, 'We will fight the disease and keep you alive as long as possible and as comfortably as possible.'

I remember Niomi turning 5 in July 2012. I remember to live each day to the fullest. I remember I have a baby girl to fight for. I remember every day and every memory with her. I remember that I must kick its ass. I remember...

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