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My 1st Mothers Day!

Words can't even describe how absolutely excited I am for my first Mother's Day. After spending the last two Mothers Days feeling sad and defeated, because I still hadn't received a positive pregnancy test, I'm just happy to be able to hug my 4 month old! I never thought that the holiday would mean so much to me personally. Of course it was always special to celebrate with my own mother, but there is just something about actually being a mother that makes it so awesome. Maybe it's because I understand how it feels to be a mother now. The feeling of unconditional love and the enjoyment of seeing your child grow and learn. It makes me appreciate my own mother more!
Last year on Mother's Day, I spent it alone! My mother and father went to Niagara Falls to celebrate, so I didn't have any plans. I went and got my hair cut! I felt I needed to be pampered, so that's what I did! I remember sitting in the chair at the salon holding back tears. I just really did…
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Quick Melanoma Update

If you have by chance read one of my previous blog posts you know that at the end of August 2017, I found out I had Melanoma. I saw an oncologist in September and surgery to remove more tissue surrounding the lesion called a Wide Local Excision and to remove and test lymph nodes called a Sentinel Node Biopsy was performed in the beginning of October.

October 4, 2017: SURGERY DAY

Nuclear testing prior to surgery:
I had to arrive much earlier than my scheduled surgery time, because I required nuclear dye testing to locate which lymph nodes that area of my thigh “drain” to. A tracer material was injected at the site of my melanoma (upper thigh) and it was tracked on a screen to see which lymph nodes it reached first. During this process I had to lay on the skinniest metal “bed” I have ever been on. It was most uncomfortable 45 minutes! The lymph nodes that the dye reached first were the ones in my left groin area. "Lovely!"

My surgery:
The melanoma located on my left upper thigh…

Overcoming my hatred for breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the mother of all topics when your pregnant. You get asked the same question over and over again from your doctor, family, friends, and even complete strangers, “are you going to breastfeed?”

Before I go any further, I’m going to go ahead and make one thing clear. I am 100% pro “fed is best.” This post is in no way meant to offend or put down those who couldn’t or did not choose to breastfeed.

This is my story and journey through breastfeeding...

Here's the deal, I've never been fond of the idea of breastfeeding. The thought of having a baby attached to my boob just never sounded glamorous. Of course, when I got older and understood the benefits and the purpose of breastfeeding I decided it would be something I'd at least attempt when the time came. I knew even before I became pregnant that breastfeeding is and can be hard, but it wasn’t until I had my own baby that I fully understood what all went into breastfeeding.
Establishing a proper latch is the fir…

I saw the oncologist today...

If you read my prior post, you know that last week I found out I have Melanoma. You also read about how I'm a researcher and googled probably every case scenario for my melanoma. It really does come in handy to have a prior knowledge of what to expect going forward. I find it helpful and less stressful to have an idea as to what will be said and happen at my appointments.

Bright and early today, well actually it was very cloudy and rainy, my husband and I made the 1.5 hour trip to the UPMC Passavant Cancer Center in McCandless, PA. If there was ever a more organized and laid out hospital, it was this one. All the doors outside were labeled so that you knew which one to enter that way you were closer to your actual destination. I got to see the main lobby, the lab, and obviously the cancer center wing, and they were all so nice. Anyways to the point..
The surgical oncologist told me pretty much everything I expected to hear. I will need a wide local excision and a sentinel lymph n…

Today I went for a drive

Today I went for a drive. In the seat next to me, the pathology results from a mole I had removed one week prior. Diagnosis; Malignant Melanoma. Yes, you read that right, I have skin cancer. 
What do you do when you find out you have cancer at 26 years old? You go for a drive! So, that's what I did with my 7 month old son, snoring in the backseat. 
I have a great appreciation for the great outdoors and today was a great day to take in the scenery. On a back road I passed a large gathering of Amish, I'm assuming it was for a wedding. I passed some of the prettiest and most unique homes I've ever seen. At a four way corner stood an very old convenience store that was surprisingly still operational, even though it was out in the middle of nowhere. I wish I could have stopped to take a picture because it honestly looked like an old photograph. The other great thing I witnessed today on my travels was the already changing leaves here in northwest Pennsylvania! Oh how I love fall.…

The heart-wrenching part of Trying to Conceive

Trying to conceive (TTC for short) is an emotional roller coaster, but there are heart-wrenching moments during the journey that are hard to face. Moments that you know you should feel a different way but you can only feel your heart tearing to pieces. Those moments are what I am writing about in this post.

I began officially TTC in December 2014, but more like January 2015. I was excited, eager, and just plain naive! I mean how hard could it possibly be to get pregnant? Especially since guess what...Your best friend AND sister-in-law just told you they were PREGNANT! It was so exciting thinking that my best friend and I would be pregnant at the same time! I believe we even went as far as planning out our summer drinking lemonade by the lake...

January and February came and went without a positive pregnancy test and by March I was already getting the feeling that this wasn't going to be easy for me. When March also ended without me being pregnant I realized my chances of having a…

An Introduction

A short introduction....where to start....

Hi! I'm Stephanie, the author of The Hilliard Clan, which is a blog about my family, my journey with struggling to conceive, and being a new mom. I'm really excited to get my thoughts and experiences on paper so to speak!
Meet my clan!
My husband Alex and I were high school sweet hearts and were married in May 2014. He's an avid fisherman and enjoys a cigar or two.

My son Carson was born in January 2017 and is basically my whole inspiration for starting this here blog!

My boxer Bruno! He's three years old and my first "baby!" Bruno hasn't been the easiest dog to have, but I wouldn't change him for the world!

My cat April! She's sometimes sweet but mostly evil (aren't all cats?!) April is eight years old and a diva!

The main purpose of my blog is to open up about my journey of trying to conceive in hopes I reach others struggling, so that maybe I can help them even if it's just for that day. I will …

Reflecting back to last year

May 27, 2016, it was a Friday and I felt off and even felt weird the day before, but just assumed it was my new workout routine. I remember helping a coworker get something in the storage attic and getting dizzy for no apparent reason. I ignored it, but still throughout the day things were just weird. It hit me sometime in the afternoon "hey you might be pregnant." Listen, I thought that I was pregnant every month for over a year and never was, so again I tried to ignore the odd symptoms I was having. Well that's easier said than done when you hang on to any glimmer of hope that you could finally be pregnant. I left work and picked up a test. Once I got home I had about 5 minutes to go home, take the test, let my dog out, and make it to my nephews baseball game. 
IT HAPPENED! I got that ever so wanted second line! "OMG," I said over and over again as tears filled my eyes. My dog thought I was nuts! I didn't have time to really let it hit me, because I had to…