A winter vacation at home

Our Christmas holiday disappeared in the flu. Which we made up for with an extra week’s winter vacation now in February. Two weeks at home with nothing but stay-at-home-cosiness. It goes surprisingly smoothly.

The first week of vacation starts with a snowstorm, whereupon travel by car is abandon. Instead, we go bobbing one day and plod in the non ploughed city environment to the bowling alley another day. (One thing we never thought we would do. Plod in snow when you don’t have to, that is). The kids play for a while but then think it is more fun to jump up and down on a seat cushion. Unfortunately, the lack of perseverance seems to be a trait inherited from me. My first series goes pretty well, the rest goes less well. That was probably why I ended up with bowling once in a while. I wasn’t good enough in series three and four.

The kids are at Dad’s job one day. Which if you ask them is the most enjoyable thing with any leave. To go loose completely on a lot of instruments. Drum, marimba, chimes – everything that you can bang on is of course highly appreciated. I love that my children get to grow up surrounded by music. And that Vera exclaims “I love music” is of course music in my husband’s ears.

Henry loves to be at home he. But then of course he misses his best friend E. Which we to Henry’s happiness deal with that dad and Henry go home to E and play for a while. Vera and I instead go to the playground and swing, to her happiness. “Higher mother, higher”. To our happiness, the children sleep one hour longer than usual the next day.

We go to the coffee house. Henry wants a brownie with cream instead of his standard, the chocolate ball. Parents of children with selective eating disorder (yep, it’s a real thing), you understand how big this is. That he chooses something else. That he tastes something for him, brand new. And it doesn’t stop there. Before the vacation has come to an end, he has tasted both orange and homemade pizza. I am still completely shocked. But cautiously optimistic. Is it now, the winter vacation 2019, things are beginning to turn?

We relax a lot. Watch movies and play restaurant and shop. Henry plays Mario Kart, Mario Party and Mario Odessey, Vera paints. Tint pens, ink pens, watercolor, acrylic paint. She has a thousand ideas and every idea she performs with equally great dedication and determination. Don’t dare to interrupt her when she is in her flow.

The husband uses the vacation to practises his trumpet little every day. I use it to read books and clear wardrobes, two activities of equal enjoyment. A dentist’s appointment and a eye infection book their way into my winter vacation. And suddenly two weeks have gone by. The snow that lay in drifts on the streets is practically gone and it is almost spring in the air. Very and little can happen in two weeks.

The ways we connect

A dull November morning when I left the children at the day care, I meet with one of the teachers. She has been on sick leave for a long time and the staff has been quite secretive about why she is absent. I had my suspicions though.

I see it in her eyes when she comes out of the personnel entrance. Somehow I just know. She starts to tell. About the bleeding from nowhere and the doctors who thought it could be cancer. About the scare. About the anxiety. The fear of perhaps having to leave her children. She was operated on and the doctors could thankfully say that it was a false alarm. There was no cancer.

Now she is without a womb. Puzzled. But incredibly grateful to be alive. Not having cancer. Shaken by the experience, she can continue to be a mother. I’m listening. Recognize so well what she tells me. The frighten. To no longer take anything for granted. The terrible in not having control over your life and your body. Much of what I have experienced, I have put behind me, of course thanks to the children. But also because I didn’t want to be someone who identifies herself with cancer. Surprisingly, however, much will come back when you have reason to be reminded of it.

It feels good to tell

She is only a few years older than I am. She could have been my sister, my friend. At this precise moment when we stand at the gate to the day care, it feels like I´m very close to her. There is so much I want to tell her. That I know what it is like to go from “deadly ill” to healthy again from one moment to another. What it does to you. That I know how it feels when something big within one has changed but everyone else live their lives as usual. How frustrating it sometimes is. And that I understand the need to talk, talk, talk. Let the world know what you have been through.

So I tell her. My story. That I also got my uterus removed. She is puzzled. How does that work? “I saw you when you were pregnant”. So I tell her that too. That I got my mother’s womb. She gets tears in her eyes. Obviously, I affect her. I try to convey her though that I am not telling her to overtake her story. But for her to know that I understand her. 

Because in fact she affects me. Although our stories are relatively similar, there is a big difference. She is a mom when all the terrible things happen. I have touched on the thought a couple of times. Now it becomes more difficult to defend myself against it. What if it had been the other way around? That the children came first and the cancer afterwards. What if it hadn’t been possible to remove it? I feel it in a completely different way now. The fear. The power of it is merciless.

She tells. I tell. It feels good.

An enchanted life

On the fifth street from town, in the apartment at the top, life has been transformed. As in a fairytale. Among keystrokes and trumpet solos is the sound of little feet running around and the laughter from tumble and play. And on the floor there are toys – cars, bricks, books and dolls. In our castle of love, music and semi strong values, lives today a prince and princess, the most beautiful of them all. We gave them the names Henry and Vera.

The enchanting life as parents is everything we dreamed of – and a little bit more. It is looking in your child´s eyes and see yourself. Be totally floored. Of love, of responsibility and of fatigue. It is to rediscover life and revive your inner child. Crawl on the the floor, play hide-and-seek and tickle til you lose your breath. It´s long walks in the sunshine and be in the present. And push a stroller in snow and grit uphill. Life as parents is reading bedtime stories and rock your child to sleep in your arms. Stomach-ache, toothache and a comfortless shaking until late night. It is two expectant kids in the back seat on a road trip. And screaming from start to finish for ten miles. It´s kisses on the mouth. An unconditional love. A constant worrying. Life is someone holding your hand across the street. Someone who calls us mom and dad. The best words there is.

Life as parents is amazing … (And sometimes a bit frustrating)

Uterus transplantation. Who knew…

At night time, when the serenity descends in the apartment and you get devotional silent with your thoughts and feelings – that’s when it becomes extra clear. What a divine life we ​​live. The journey we have made. And everyone we give thanks to.

Mats Brännström and Ash Hanafy – two men who discovered the lack of treatment for women who have no uterus and their grief of not being able to become a mom. And who decided to do something about it. Sticked to the idea for so many years despite all the skeptics they met.

The team that Mats built up… Randa Akouri, the woman who made the entire treatment possible through her animal studies. And as a result of the project, studied to become a doctor. Her determination never ceases to amaze me. Pernilla Dahm-Kähler. If I in another life would become a doctor, I want to be like her – strong, dedicated and with a heart of gold. And a damned good surgeon. Michael Olausson and Niklas Kvarnström who did what no transplant surgeon hade done before. Sewed in a transplanted uterus. Anders Enskog, the anesthetist who sat at my side during the transplant. And the birth of my first child. Lars Nilsson, the man who have made more IVF treatments than most and who gave us Henry and Vera. César Díaz-García, gynecologist. Liza Johannesson, gynecologist. Jana Ekberg, neprologist. Hans Bokström, obstetrician. Stina Järvheden, psychologist. There are a lot of you who have cared about me and who will always have a place in my heart.

Everyone related to the above – who supported and wet for their loved one´s job. Our happiness is as much because of them.

All nurses – operating nurses, transplant nurses, IVF nurses. Nurses at the care unit. Midwives. The amount of people that helped me in my weakest moments is countless.

People I have not met until recently, like pathologist Johan Mölne. Who kept me safe all the way, with the help of all biopsies.

Postgraduate and medical students who have been and will be coming. Paving the way for a new future.

My mom… Who gave me the greatest gift of all. Her uterus.

The list of all who contributed to giving us our miracle life can be done long. A simple ”thank you” to these people is not enough in a long way. But it´s the word that best describes gratitude. Thank you. For every smile and progress that my children do, I will always remember you <3

Uterus transplantion. Who knew… After all those years of research, I was in the right place at the right time. It happened to me.

Brother and sister among toys. Hugging each other.

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