PORT CHARLOTTE — So much has happened to Melanie and Cesar Ramos over the past year and a half.
So much fear and heartache when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, so much relief and hope when she successfully completed nine months of treatments, so much joy and happiness when the Rays reliever and his college sweetheart were married last month.
And now this:
Against the odds, and medical history, Melanie is pregnant.
"We realize it's definitely a miracle," she said.
The baby is due in late June, and all tests and indications are that it is healthy.
"It's weird to say I don't believe it because my stomach isn't what it used to be, but it's still kind of surreal," Melanie, 29, said Thursday. "It's just been very emotional. We didn't expect it, we weren't planning on it. That just makes it more of a miracle because of what I did go through."
When Melanie completed the chemotherapy and radiation treatments in California and was cleared by her doctors last June to rejoin Cesar for the rest of the season, they were told they would have to wait at least a year, and possibly several, to have kids. And even then, the chances would be 50-50 at best that they could conceive naturally.
With a late January wedding planned, that seemed a workable timetable to try, though they figured their future plans eventually would include Melanie's eggs they had frozen before her treatment and in vitro fertilization.
And then Oct. 21, a year to the day after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's — "Isn't that crazy," Melanie said — they were looking at a home pregnancy test stunningly showing positive.
"At first, we're like, "Oh, crap, we're pregnant — is this okay or not?' " Cesar said. "We were both excited she could get pregnant, but once the doctor said, 'No worries, you're fine,' then it was like, 'Let's celebrate!' "
They told their parents but waited until 12 weeks in to make sure everything was okay before sharing the news with others. And then, with 123 friends and relatives gathered at the historic Langham hotel in Pasadena, Calif., for their Jan. 25 wedding, they made a very public announcement.
"There were a lot of happy guests," Cesar said.
That included Rays star Evan Longoria, who teamed with Cesar at Long Beach State and knew Melanie, who was a pretty good softball player for the Dirtbags.
"For them to not really expect it, that makes it that much more special," Longoria said. "And you know it was meant to be. Somebody above us has a plan for them. So it's really cool, and I'm really happy for them.
"It's something that's almost deserved after everything they went through, all the hardships and everything they dealt with."
Melanie accompanied Cesar, 29, to spring training and said that with the stress of the wedding — including two final-week adjustments so her dress would still fit — behind them, she is able to relax and enjoy being pregnant.
"I have never been happier," she said.
Doctor visits can still be traumatic, as it's hard to shake the fear that even routine prenatal blood work would show signs of the cancer recurring, but all tests and results have been good for her and the baby.
"We feel so fortunate," Melanie said. "It's just amazing. Pretty awesome. We're hoping this continues and just praying for a healthy baby. … I've had enough bad news, let's keep the good news going."
Standing in the Rays clubhouse Thursday morning, Cesar said it's staggering — without even considering what's happened baseball-wise — to reflect on what they've gone through, and what they have to look forward to.
"We're just blessed things have worked out how they have," he said. "It really is a miracle."
Marc Topkin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.