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Pregnant and far away while Mum has terminal cancer

(20 Posts)
izzytwobells Mon 13-Feb-17 05:45:08

Hi all,
I'm looking for some advice and to hear from people who have been through similar experiences.
I'm 6 months pregnant and have lived in the UK with my husband for 8 years (I'm originally from Australia).

A few days ago, I got the call that I guess every expat dreads: my Mum's cancer has spread and she has just months left. We are all devastated as she was seeming so much better.

When she was first diagnosed with cancer 16 months ago, I was four months pregnant at the time and flew back straight away. I stayed to care for her for a month and then returned to the uk to have my 20 week scan. Sadly, at the scan we found out that our baby had abnormalities that were incompatible with life and we had to make the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye to our little girl. That was in January 2016.

Losing our baby was the hardest thing I've ever had to go through and I never thought I would get pregnant again. On a holiday to Australia in August, I found out that I was and it seemed like everything was getting better again.

My whole pregnancy has been plagued by stress and worry that the same thing will happen again, but I had started to relax after getting past the 20 week scan this time and things are going well. And my Mum's operations have gone well, her hair is growing back and my Dad and her have been making plans to come over for the birth in May.

So, finding out that she won't be here for much longer has been such a shock and hugely upsetting and confusing. My Mum wants me to stay put and have the baby in the uk and fly over once our baby is born.

I feel a desperate need to be back with her and spend whatever time she has left by her side. My husband thinks I should fly out in the next couple of weeks and have the baby over there. He would fly out a couple of weeks before my due date and we would take it from there. My dr has said it's fine for me to fly for the next few weeks.

The practicalities of it all make my brain hurt so much and I don't know how it's all going to work. Being away from my husband for 7 weeks or so while heavily pregnant is going to be so hard, and I'm worried I'll go into labour early and he'll miss the birth.

On the other hand, if I don't go and my Mum deteriorates quicker than expected, I'm worried that she'll never get to meet her grandchild and I'll regret not being there for the rest of my life.

We both have good jobs and a house and a life here that I don't want to lose, but we are thinking that I could spend most of my maternity leave in Australia for as long as my Mum has, and my husband will either try to take a career break, leave his job, or we travel back and forth as a family as much as we can afford to.

I feel so sad that it's all happening this way. I guess life is messy and imperfect but it is hard to know what the best path is to take.

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has been in a similar situation for advice.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.
flowers

Weebleswobbles Mon 13-Feb-17 06:13:04

flowers for you and your family

You are in shock - and it really does freeze normal competent thought process. I was the same when my lovely Mum was diagnosed. Not the same situation as you but my very brace Mj went within a month of being told it was terminal. My Dad and I were able to be with her holding her hands when she was in the hospice and passed away.

Go and be with your Mum - you have your DH support and family over there

Weebleswobbles Mon 13-Feb-17 06:15:21

Posted too soon

'My very brave Mum'

I hope this has helped a little

meladeso Mon 13-Feb-17 06:25:54

Oh Izzy I am so sad for you flowers

What an emotional rollercoaster.
You sound like you have a great husband and mum.

And I agree with weebles, go to your mum. On reading your OP there was no other thought in my head.

clementineorange Mon 13-Feb-17 06:28:25

Oh OP flowers
I'm so sorry.

If you can go and have the baby in Oz, go. I wouldn't think twice.

Cousinit Mon 13-Feb-17 06:55:28

You poor thing, you have my sympathy OP. I also live on the other side of the world from my family. My DM unexpectedly died of cancer when my youngest was just four months old. I got the call to come over but didn't make it to her on time and she never got to meet her new granchild. So, if I was in your shoes I wouldn't hesitate to get back to Aus and spend that time with your Mum while she's still here.

Sandgroper Mon 13-Feb-17 10:14:12

Hi Izzy

I am really sorry to hear your sad news about your Mum.

I can offer some insight as I was exactly in the same position as you nearly 9 years ago with my Dad. I am an Aussie (been in U.K. 20 years) and you always hope that you don't get that dreaded phone call.

One thing I can can say is go, you will regret it if you don't and that time with them is so precious. All the other stuff is just that stuff and doesn't matter. You will find a way - we did!

I was nearly 4 months pregnant at the time with DS2, had DS1 was 18 month. I got that dreaded call in October and was told that Dad had terminal cancer and might not make it to Xmas. Problem was we hadn't told anyone I was pregnant, had 3 miscarriages trying to have DS1 so I can understand your fears and concerns. After much discussion with consultant, husband and family I decided to go and spend what time I had with my Dad, with the risk of being stuck there and having baby in Oz.

I ended up going first with DS1 and was sick for the entire 19 hours flight as I had really bad morning sickness (for most of the pregnancy) it was horrendous. Had to leave DH behind, we were apart for 7 weeks. He Stayed behind to sort out our house as we decided to rent it out for 6 months (which turned into 12) just in case I got stuck and had to have baby in Oz. luckily DH worked for an international firm and was able to get a 10 month secondment to the local office.

My Dad struggled on past Xmas and died two days after my DS2 was born a few weeks early in March.

Looking back now it was a time with great joy and sorrow. I can say for sure that precious time I got to spend with my Dad made that decision the right one. for him to bond with DS1 and with his unborn grandson and share the journey gave me many special memories.

If you want to chat more feel free to PM me.

HPandBaconSandwiches Mon 13-Feb-17 19:41:23

Go and be with your mum.

I'm so sorry you're facing this. Your maternity leave gives you such a long time you can be with her. Of course she says you should stay, she'll always put you above her needs and tell you to do what she thinks is safest for you, she your mum, it's what mums do.

As a mum though, I can tell you if I was facing the end in the not too distant future, I'd want every minute possible with my children.

I cannot imagine you would regret going, but I'm very sure you'd regret not going. That journey will be so much easier pregnant than with a tiny baby. Flying before 4 weeks isn't recommended either so you may find yourself unable to go if you really needed to later on.

Thank your lucky stars you have such a supportive husband and get on a plane ASAP.

I'm in Australia as a Brit expat and dread this sort of decision. With you almost ready to go on mat leave anyway, I'd not think twice. Start your mat leave early and go.

Laptopwieldingharpy Mon 13-Feb-17 22:07:43

So sorry to hear.

I' ok just on the other side of this. I still ent the last few months caring for my dad while my family remained in Asia. No question in my mind that it is the right thing to do.
Consider it a blessing that you do have options and they allow you to do it.
Joy and sorrow as a poster said but no doubt better than the incredible anxiety and subsequent void of being away.
A peaceful passing is important for all of you as you welcome your baby. These moments together are a true gift.
Take good care of yourself. Rest and surround yourself with loved ones.

izzytwobells Tue 14-Feb-17 06:54:26

Thank you all for your kind and helpful messages. It's so sad to read that so many of you have been through similar experiences.
My Mum is still adamant that I wait to come until after the baby is born, but I'm hoping I can talk her around over the next few weeks. I still have a bit of time up my sleeve for flying back, according to the dr.
Thanks again, I really do feel a little less alone knowing that so many of you have gotten through this.
Lots of love
flowers

HPandBaconSandwiches Tue 14-Feb-17 08:07:50

Just watch the flight company restrictions OP. And personally, having been pregnant twice, it would be much much easier doing that trip before 30 weeks than after.

user123691 Wed 15-Feb-17 08:54:28

Such a horrible situation. I lost my mum to cancer. I recall the doctors telling me she had another six months and wanted to know about moving her to a hospice. Within three days of that meeting, we were called in....
I'm not saying this will be the case with your mum, but please don't go on timescales as a given.

Forget trying to convince your mum. You really need to get on the first plane, you possibly can. I'm sure once you are there, she will be very greatful to see you.

Farandole Wed 15-Feb-17 14:28:53

Very sorry OP, I have also been in something similar to your situation.

My dad took a turn for worse when I was pregnant. My pregnancy was our 4th IVF and was horrendously complicated (lost one twin, placental abruption, very high risk of stillbirth, on full bed rest from 12 weeks). I don't think it compares to what you went through after losing your first girl, but I can relate with the constant agonising pregnancy worry.

Because of all this, I couldn't get a fit-to-fly letter until 6 months pregnant. On the day I finally got it, I flew out to be at my dad's bedside. He died a week later. I only had time to bury him, flew back to the UK and my son was born, 7 weeks early.

He had various issues and the first few weeks and months were very tough, with a mixture of grief for my father, worry for my son and relief that he was alive. I felt very aware of the importance of bonding, and worried about PND. Thankfully I was okay.

I'm happy to say my son is perfectly fine now.

I wish my children had memories of my father. My son in particular reminds me of my dad, they are/ were both quirky in similar ways. I try not to think about it, but it makes me sad that they will never know that bond that they have.

If you are able to go back to Oz and give birth there, that might be a solution. However, do not let anyone guilt you into going/not going. I don't think most people understand the mind-numbing pain and anxiety that comes from pregnancy after late loss. Do what you think is good for you, and your baby and family.

Very sorry about you mum (and my waffling!). Big hugs.

izzytwobells Fri 24-Feb-17 08:32:25

Hi everyone, thank you all for your messages and advice. I just wanted to let you know that I've decided to travel out to Australia next weekend to have my baby and spend time with my Mum. I finally talked her around and got the dr said it was fine too. It's going to be a long journey but I feel better now that I've made a decision and have a plan.
Take care and thanks again flowers

chocolatewine Fri 24-Feb-17 09:04:47

I think you've made the best decision and hope that you get to spend some lovely time with your mum. I had a similar situation 20 years ago with my mum although I'm not so far away - Greece. I've always been grateful that I could spend time with her. Will be thinking of you both xx

HPandBaconSandwiches Fri 24-Feb-17 13:05:52

Well done OP and all the best for the journey.
If you can stretch to business class at all it'll make it so much more pleasant. We got a great deal on skyscanner for our trip out.
Get yourself some of those really attractive anti thrombosis stockings and some good headphones. Lots of fluids and you'll be fine.
Truly hope you have some wonderful memory making time with your mum. flowers

Laptopwieldingharpy Sun 26-Feb-17 00:40:53

flowers safe travels

1frenchfoodie Sun 26-Feb-17 18:29:38

Safe travels Izzy and big hugs to you, sand and others who have experienced this. You brought tears to my eyes and my DM is only a short flight away (looking after my 11 month old DD).

Sandgroper Sun 26-Feb-17 21:48:43

Izzy, hope you have a safe flight and I wish you all the very best for the birth. Cherish and enjoy the time with your Mum and create special memories. Keep us posted on how you get on. 🌷

neitherthisnorthat Thu 13-Apr-17 17:44:23

Just reading these posts has made me cry. I also lost my beloved mum just over a year ago, out of the blue, cancer. A few weeks from diagnosis to her not being here. I still can't write the d-word in relation to her. I went back the day after I heard she was ill and was there all the time. However, I am still on antidepressants now. I miss her every single day. I cry a few times a week. I regret like hell not spending more time at home with her when she was well. I don't regret those few weeks when I was with her, and I can't imagine how awful it would have been if I hadn't been there. You only have one mum. Go.

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