I’m 35 weeks today. My induction is scheduled for 23 days from now, and I can’t decide what to feel, even now. It varies from hour to hour, and sometimes even from minute to minute. One minute, I’ll excitedly look forward to not being pregnant anymore – I’ve been pregnant for so much of the last two years that I don’t really recall what it feels like to NOT be pregnant at this point – and the next I will be totally terrified because we’re still living in a state of disorganized chaos and I don’t feel at all ready for parenthood. Isn’t that preposterous? I’ve had almost two years to get ready to bring a baby home, how can I still have such a deep fear of what lies ahead?
Regardless, that’s pretty much the long and short of it; most prominently, I want him here and safe, and as a close secondary thought, I worry about whether or not we’ll be good parents or how we will handle it emotionally. I have several relatives (husband included) who think that I am going to get hit hard by postpartum depression, and I also have my own fear that I’m going to have trouble bonding with or feeling the right kinds of feelings for Nathan. I worry that I’m going to resent him for not being Brock, especially if they happen to look similar. Add all of that on top of the still-lingering jitters and worries that something is somehow going to go wrong again, and I am a pretty stressed out person right now. I just have to keep trying to remind myself that the odds of what happened the first time happening again are incredibly slim, and that it’s all going to be over soon… and, if I do end up struggling emotionally or otherwise after his birth, lots of people will be available to help me work through that, too. I’m well looked after, and I know that, but it regrettably still doesn’t stop me from having irrational thoughts from time to time anyway.
I actually don’t really know what else to say that I haven’t already said before. I am scared, but I’ve been scared since the beginning of this pregnancy, even before it in some ways. I’m actually fighting off a cold at the moment, which isn’t helping my jitters any because I got sick around this time with Brock as well. It would mean a lot to me if there WEREN’T so many parallels between my pregnancies. It’s hard to imagine a different outcome at this point because I feel like I’m just living the same thing all over again.
Speaking of parallels… my husband and I made friends with a couple that we met through our bereavement group shortly after we lost Brock who were there because they had lost a son to prematurity. She went into premature labour because of an incompetent cervix, something they didn’t find out until he made an unexpected, extremely early debut at 24 weeks’ gestation. Sadly, he suffered a lot of complications and passed away after an 8-week fight in the NICU.
She found herself pregnant again 10 weeks after I found out I was pregnant with my rainbow, and she was immediately referred to the same high-risk hospital I go to who made a point of keeping an extremely close eye on her. For a long time, things seemed to be going perfectly well… until 21 weeks, when an ultrasound showed that her cervix was bottoming out again. She was given a rescue cerclage and put on limited bed rest while they tried to determine if the procedure was successful or not. A week later, everything seemed to be going well, and they started to gain hope for carrying to at least 30 weeks for the best possible outcome…
Unfortunately, as we are all too well aware, things don’t always go as well as hoped, and she went into labour again last Friday. By the time she made it to the hospital, it was too late for them to intervene and her second son was born at 24 weeks, 2 days.
We went to visit them on Sunday afternoon and their new son is just adorable – tiny, yes, but adorable. The good news is that he seems to be doing much better than his older brother did. He was substantially larger (enough that they are speculating that her dates may have been wrong, and he might be older than they’d initially thought), is tolerating treatment better, and having an easier time with breathing, feeding and handling. Either way, I can only imagine the stress and worry that they are going through right now, especially since they know all about the NICU battle ahead of them. Like me, they must be so terrified to be going through something so similar to their first experience. Please, send them and their son your positive thoughts, vibes, prayers – whatever is your style – for the shortest and least eventful NICU stay possible and a healthy take-home baby at the end.
Life doesn’t really have much of a sense of a humour, does it? I just hope that we are all fortunate enough that we eventually find splits in the road and are lucky enough to walk down different paths at some point.