Hi, I'm Kieran
If I were to be introducing myself before life decided to kick me in the ass repeatedly, I would have said something like: Hi, I’m Kieran. I’m easy-going and adventurous, with a love of writing and travel. I have a beautiful and brilliant husband and an adorable yet poorly behaved dog.
Then over a period of about 5 years, I got dealt bad hand after bad hand.
Less than a year after I got married, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. After two surgeries to remove parts of my cervix and a bunch of lymph nodes, I went into remission and my sole focus became becoming a mom. Three months later I was pregnant, but my naïve pregnant lady bubble was quickly burst, along with my fallopian tube, when we learned it was an ectopic pregnancy.
After that, we tried for several months to get pregnant with the help of monitored and medicated cycles at our fertility clinic, before turning to magic science, aka IVF.
Beckett was born on July 24, 2017. He died in my arms after a short but fierce fight.
Lincoln was born on May 2, 2018 at just 22 weeks. He spent four and a half months in the NICU before coming home.
So here I am, putting one foot in front of the other. It has been a dark path but at every step along the way there have been moments of joy and glimmers of light. The love and the pride that I feel from being Beckett and Lincoln’s mom will never be eclipsed by the darkness. They are forever my beacons of light.
My pregnancy with Beckett was complicated, terrifying, and wonderful. I was high risk as a cervical cancer survivor, and full of anxiety navigating pregnancy after loss. But then we hit that all important 12 week mark, when everyone tells you "you're in the clear", and every two weeks at my ultrasounds I got see my baby kicking away.
At 22 weeks pregnant my water broke and I was put on bedrest, hoping I could keep my baby safe in my belly for weeks, if not months. But after a series of complications, he was born 9 days later when I was 23 weeks and 5 days pregnant. He was one pound, two ounces and twelve inches long. Impossibly small and impossibly perfect.
Beckett died, enveloped in his parent's arms, surrounded by love. We spent about seven hours as a family of three, soaking every inch of our boy in. Those seven hours contained a lifetime of love. And a lifetime of heartbreak.
Beckett's life and death has changed me to my very core. There is a darkness to me now, that wasn't there before (which often manifests as dark humour) and there is also a light that had never before been ignited. The light and the dark coexist, just as the grief and the love do. And that's ok.
Watch this video to hear more of Beckett's story
Lincoln was born at just 22 weeks and 5 days, tipping the scales at a whopping one pound, three ounces. He was given less than a 30% chance of survival. If he had been born even a year earlier, the hospital we were at likely wouldn't have even attempted to save him, and many still don't consider 22 weeks "viable".
Lincoln spent 141 days fighting for his life in two different NICUs. He had sepsis, meningitis, three kidney infections, a grade two brain bleed, three codes..to name a few. He spent 127 days on breathing support and 136 days with a feeding tube. He has chronic lung disease and a crappy yet improving immune system. Since he's been home there have been hundreds of specialist appointments. We spent six months in isolation for his first cold and flu season (and we're creeping up on another year for COVID-19).
He wasn't expect to survive, and he is thriving. He has surpassed every expectation that he was given, and beaten every odd so far.
He is fiercely determined, fearless, sweet and hilarious. He brought the light back to my life when it had gotten so, so dark. After Beckett died, I didn't know how to live a life without him in it, and then Lincoln came along and showed me the way. He is my light, he is my joy, he is my hero.