As this holiday season draws closer, I find myself preparing for a different kind of gift. Although my actual due date isn’t until later in January, my past history and present factors lean towards having a baby before the start of the new year.
I didn’t let myself get attached to this pregnancy early on. I didn’t even tell my friends I was pregnant until I was 6 months along–the fear of having to recant my announcement was too great. (Talk about people thinking you are a weirdo–the trend to announce as soon as the stick shows a plus was NOT on my agenda this time.) I spent the first trimester (and the first half of the second) praying to not have another miscarriage. I spent the second trimester worrying about premature labor and not being at the age of viability. SCHs, abnormally early contractions, lack of weight gain–all of the fabulously scary symptoms they write in the pamphlets to notify your doctor if you have: I had. Most people go to the OB once a month: I frequented at least every other week.
Finally, I hit the glorious third trimester mark. I know the stats: 24 weeks is considered viable (but most still do not survive), and by 28 weeks the survival rate hits closer to 80% (though still with severe health impairments). My doctor walked in to my appointment yesterday practically skipping: “30 weeks and 1 day! YES!” This man delivered both of my children–he knows my history of IUGR babies and PPROM. We both worried this pregnancy might not make it. We both worried how my body would hold up after I declined the Makena shots (progesterone shots designed to prevent pregnancy). While I’m not out of the woods yet by any means, I am finally at the point that I don’t worry what happens if I go into labor. What happens if my water breaks early. What happens if the baby isn’t growing properly. I see a perinatologist weekly in addition to my regular OB appointments–everyone is watching the baby and waiting to see how the pregnancy continues to progress. If baby stops growing, we induce. If baby keeps growing, we wait and see if my body forces labor early. While I technically could make it all the way until February, chances are I won’t.
The uncertainty is difficult for me to accept. I’m a planner. I want to know when and how. I want to control it. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), some things just aren’t up for debate. My father in heaven knows best–he will watch out for me, for my baby, for my family. And so–it isn’t even Thanksgiving, but I am prepared for Christmas. Presents are purchased, wrapped, and labeled (in case Santa has to make a detour to Nana’s house for Christmas while I go to the hospital to have a baby). The hospital bag is packed and accompanies me to every appointment, each of which could be the day I get sent straight to L&D for immediate delivery.
I’m learning with age and experience: do what you can with what you have. The rest will all fall in place.