Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thoughts Just Four Weeks Away from 34 Weeks

(NOTE: I do not actually want another preemie. This is just a random brain dump. I am not a monster.)

At my most recent prenatal appointment, I had the weirdest realization. It was kind of awful, actually. I don't just expect that this baby might come early like its older sister. I'm actually kind of... well... hoping it will. Not truly hoping, though. It's kind of hard to explain. I don't actually want to subject this baby (and us) to a stretch in the NICU. Prematurity is no picnic! But the trappings of prematurity are the only reference I have for the post-childbirth period.

preemies prematurity

Once upon a time - as in when I was heavily pregnant with the P. - the BabbyDaddy and I discussed the possibility of homebirths and talked about hightailing it out of the birth center as soon as possible after the cord was cut. Then P. actually arrived, prematurely, and we adjusted to the beeps and boops of the local neonatal intensive care unit. Now, provided you have the prematurity experience we had, which didn't involve anything more dire than a few brady spells and brachy spells and weight gain challenges, the NICU can be a pretty reassuring place.

Monitors tell you definitively that, yes, your newborn or infant is alive and properly saturated with oxygen. You have questions? There is always someone nearby with answers. Breastfeeding issues can be addressed immediately by a pro. Supplies are always at the ready. And best of all, they will not let you leave with a baby unless they feel that you're capable of doing what is necessary to keep it alive.

That's not to say I'm not confident about my mothering abilities. When it comes right down to it, I'm pretty laid back where parenting is concerned - in direct opposition to my approach to just about everything else in life. For this, I thank my dad, who raised (and in some cases is still raising) seven children without a rich man's resources or a lot of hippy dippy parenting manuals. I figure I'm doing pretty well raising the one I have, and I managed to keep her alive during the floppy-neck-fontanel phase of life.

But still. Give birth at home? Give birth at the birth center and then head home? Nope nope nope. Frankly, even the realization that the medical establishment might just wave me away with a baby that's a day and a half old is kind of terrifying.


  1. I actively wanted an early baby. I hated pregnancy. Granted, when I was given the "YOU MUST GO ON BEDREST AT THE HOSPITAL NOW" imperative, I was fine with it. And I was lucky to have a 35 week baby that could go home in two days (and it was really, really terrifying). Counting my blessings every day.

    But sister, I am with you. Even if my husband wasn't an RN, I'd be all about the hospital with the best ICU/NICU because, well, I read history.

    1. Two days? When they sent us home after 12 days, I was all "Are you SURE?"

      Truthfully, I loved my pregnancy with P., but between the miscarriage and then this pregnancy with its Down syndrome risks and cervical length checks and what feels like a hundred trips into the city for more ultrasounds and this risk and that risk, I am pretty sure I am DONE.

      The best parts of this pregnancy have been the stretches where I have been able to forget I'm pregnant!

    2. Two days. I had been off of magnesium sulfate for all of 12 hours by the time we were discharged.

      At the time I went into labor, we had some baby clothes and some diapers and bedding. My shower was scheduled the next week. Everything had to be bought on the fly -- the carseat the morning of discharge. (This is so not the OCD person I am, but I thought I had 4-6 more weeks!)

      I had a major fucking meltdown. My perinatologist talked me off the ledge, but the saving graces were being married to an RN (we tracked formula intake with a spreadsheet, every milliliter, and she never lost weight, at all) and not breastfeeding, which allowed burden-shifting.

      We had a lot of ultrasounds because we had the department head of perinatology as our doc, but they were gratuitous. Our pregnancy only got high-risk at the very end. Grateful for that, but it still was not my idea of fun. (I am pretty sure I never forgot about being pregnant!)

      But then again, I've seen your pictures. You look wonderful! I hope it stays like this for you!

  2. My first was born at 34 weeks. My entire pregnancy with #2, I expected she would be born at 34 weeks as well. She stayed put until 39 weeks, and it was amazing. Baby in room = amazing. Baby coming home With you = amazing. No feeding tubes, no oxygen, all of it was amazing. I hope the same happens for you. :)

  3. That being said the last few weeks of pregnancy sucked balls, and I was totally ready. With graham, I missed him being inside. With gwen, it was just thank god you are finally out!

  4. great brain dump. i love that term. i may use it myself now. :)


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