Didn’t mean to leave you hanging here. A few kind souls have followed up to check if everything is OK since the incident almost two weeks ago. I’m happy to say that yes, thankfully, so far so good.
Thirty weeks yesterday and no sign of preterm labor.
I began weekly monitoring to check regular movement, heartrate, fluid levels and contractions, and everything is right where it should be. Baby is looking good, heartrate is perfect (music to my ears), amniotic levels are great (a beautiful sight to see), and no sign of spotting or contractions (thank goodness).
This baby is quite a fighter.
I’ve been growing accustomed to the idea that we could actually have a baby, a little sibling for Jaye. Like soon.
Yet I’m still so hesitant to truly believe it, to say it.
I still know how many things could go wrong.
I am trying to accept that this baby, delivered 5-6 weeks early (4 or 5 weeks from now), will need time in the NICU. Even if I can push delivery from 34 to 35 weeks, as I hope to, an ICU stay is expected. I know that babies born at 34-35 weeks tend to do well. That thought is incredibly comforting and really all that matters. Really.
Still, I have to accept the fact is that this baby may not be able to breathe or feed on its own for a while. This baby won’t get the start one would hope to give a child through precious skin contact and intimate bonding and everything else that comes in those early hours and days after birth. Nursing will be far more difficult, if possible at all. And while I am so grateful to even be in this position, these are still thoughts that persist. And that’s assuming no further complications.
Yet another part of me is somewhat relieved at the thought of an early delivery. Honestly it means less time for something to go wrong inside. First, with the placenta issues I’m dealing with, preterm labor would be a dire emergency situation. As my doctors have repeatedly said, any bleeding would warrant a 911 ambulance call, with plans to transfer me (by helicopter, if necessary) to my hospital, if possible. But there are other risks too. Even without the preterm labor risk, women in their 40s are 2-3 times more likely to have a late term stillborn baby than younger women. I think about that fact and the women I know. I think of it every time I don’t feel movement for a little while.
And I’m just talking about the risks to the baby right now. Of course there are risks to me of waiting longer, as well. With the placenta embedding into the uterine wall or beyond, my doctor doesn’t want to take risks that could make my situation any worse than it is. Already she is assembling a team of surgeons and experts to be on call, in case of further complications. As someone who has already recovered from an 8 hour pelvic surgery to correct adhesions resulting from prior procedures, let’s just say I know this is not going to be easy.
My doctor will be weighing the risks of the placenta causing even greater harm — making separation more difficult and a hysterectomy more complicated, putting me at greater risk — against the risk of delivering a preterm baby and how well the baby will do outside my womb.
I should say that in my work as an environmental advocate, I’ve never been a big fan of risk assessment, or even cost-benefit analysis. I’ve often fought for the most stringent health protections and the most precautionary approach with the least risk possible. Yet here I am, the subject of an individualized assessment of potential risk — with my own health and welfare weighed against the well-being of this most unexpected growing life inside.
This situation could change by the day, by the moment, as my doctor weighs these risks. Now I’ve got weekly monitoring, with my next doctor visit and ultrasound next week. Barring any other unforeseen events, delivery is planned for either 4 or 5 weeks from today. Crazy.