I often feel ooey and gooey when piecing together a baby shower post, but this next one has undoubtedly tugged hard at my heartstrings. After being diagnosed with cancer at a young age, this brave mama, with her adoring husband alongside her, fought 9 long years to bring her two baby boys into the world. And if that isn’t a reason to celebrate, I simply don’t know what is. With photos from Melissa Mlejnek and designs by White Peacock, there’s more from this elegant celebration right here in the gallery.
From the mama-to-be… The journey to this pregnancy started exactly 9 years ago. I was just out of college, and living life haphazardly on the West Side of LA. It was a fund time and I was “living it up” like a girl with an amazing shoe closet.
On March 1, 2005 it all came to a screeching halt…I was 25 and had just been diagnosed with Stage 3b Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Thankfully I was smart enough then to think about how after chemo and after the triumph of moving beyond cancer I would take life by the reigns and really LIVE to my God-given potential because surviving doesn’t just mean staying alive.
I kept head-strong by thinking about my life as a mom. I knew that was not going to be taken away from me if I had anything to do with it. As long as I can remember, whenever I visualized my future self I didn’t think about an accomplished career or owning a business. I visualized myself as a mother.
Before starting treatments I chose to freeze a cycle of eggs. I am so thankful for Fertile Hope, an organization very dear to my heart, who helped financially to do the procedure and was a source of refuge during a very confusing time. I am also thankful for my Mom, who helped financially as well ( since all my investment funds where in that amazing shoe collection ) and for always holding my hand even with eyes that told a story of her own personal battle with fertility. We both knew I would be ok and that was all that mattered in those moments. The act of freezing those 19 eggs provided me such a force of strength in knowing that after I was done with cancer treatments, I would be able to move on and live the life that I so desired. It gave me an enormous confidence boost and fighting cancer wasn’t as hard as I think it could have been.
When I met Lance I was just 8 months out of treatment and starting to grow my hair out. I had rewarded my self with a convertible and that, along with my strikingly cute round head, surely sealed the deal for him. After a trip to Hawaii and weekend trips to wine country, we quickly were in love and 10 months later engaged. He attended all my speaking engagements for fundraising events with Fertile Hope, the American Cancer Society and the Lymphoma Leukemia Society. He was my biggest fan and so proud of the work I was doing to spread the word about being young with cancer and the specific challenges this demographic faces- including infertility. At one said event, Lance purchased a baby stroller off the silent auction because he was so excited to become a parent with me, We weren’t even married yet. God I love him!
We tried starting a family immediately after our wedding and although it has taken almost 6 years and 2 IVF treatments to finally achieve our dreams, we know these two little boys were especially chosen to be our sons .
Photography: La De Da, Melissa Mlejnek | Floral Design: Just Bloomed | Stationery: Paperista | Catering: France 44 | Venue: L'atelier Couture Shoppe | Illustration: Cait Courneya | Rentals: Apres Party Rental