I look no closer to labor this week than last week! No pressure on the cerclage, no dilation. I am so relieved, and somewhat in shock. It looks like this baby will be born at TERM. I don’t think I ever imagined I would actually make it.
I’ve probably said this before many times here, but I didn’t allow myself to actually think this could work. I comforted myself with the thought that we were truly doing everything. But to think that I could actually carry to 37 weeks or beyond? I’m living in surreality.
I lived for 21 weeks or so after learning I was pregnant again, with terror at the thought that my baby could easily die. After 25 weeks, I prepared myself to accept the responsibility for having gotten pregnant again knowing my own history. I tried to grasp the profundity of risks to which I was consciously and voluntarily subjecting my child. I thought a lot about how if I gave birth to a child who suffered because of his prematurity, that it would be no accident, but because I had dared to take this chance. At 30 weeks, when survival seemed likely, I still feared he would die if born, but also feared more tangibly the prospect of months in the NICU, and still worried over the risks of prematurity-related disabilities. I knew we could and would handle the demands of a special-needs child, yet I dared to have hope we would make it to 34. And here we are at 35w 4d with no sign of labor. It will be a surprise now if I don’t make it to 37 weeks. Not only are chances very great that I will bring this baby home eventually, but it’s most likely that I will get to bring him home right after he is born. Of course I know it’s not guaranteed, but the risks of my own personal history are gone. Clinically, I am at “normal” risk levels now.
And I am happy. Yet even still I feel guilty. Guilty that I’m trying to be ready to welcome this little guy home, rather than caring for Natan. Rather than visiting doctors and therapists and acclimating him to the world. I have no delusions that a baby born as early as he was, had he survived, would not have faced incredible challenges. But not knowing how severe they would have been, I would prefer he was alive. Instead, he’s buried in a plot in a cemetery and we will be moving away in less than a year. Instead, I’m sitting here contemplating the birth of his brother, and grateful that he’ll have an easier time. Again, no promises, but chances are. I feel Natan’s absence profoundly. My peace at having made it so far with his brother doesn’t change that. Nor does it change that I would rather have him here. Or erase the trauma of losing him. I still, even though the risk is gone for this baby, play over Natan’s birth in my mind, wondering if anything could have been done differently, wishing it had gone differently. I am so grateful I don’t have to worry about any of that with this baby, but I feel an intangible guilt, as if I’ve gotten off too easily this time.
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