So, I feel like the girl who cried blog or something.
Yes, I have a bunch of posts in various stages of completion, and yes I have a lot to say.
But right now, all I can think about or write coherently about is waiting. We are 35 weeks and two days into this wait, thrilled to have made it this far and hoping we get some more time.
I am not a patient person; this is not new information. But this pregnancy—and the long, challenging journey to get here—have humbled me, have forced me to let go and take things day by day.
We waited a long time for this little girl. I waited a long time to share the news, because it took several months to trust this was real. For the first 18 weeks, we waited for the infections and exacerbations to die down and waited for the necessary isolation they entailed to be lifted. We had 3-4 weeks of relative normalcy, and then other complications emerged and since early summer, we’ve waited and watched blood pressure readings and pulse oximeter results.
We wait for Saturdays, the changeover day, when we complete another week of this pregnancy. There have been points in the past few weeks when we seriously doubted we’d see another Saturday with her on the inside, so as we approach week 36, we feel lucky just to be able to keep waiting.
Over the past few years, through the consults and tests and the risk assessments and the disappointments, I promised myself that if I were ever fortunate enough to have this experience, I would never complain about pregnancy symptoms, I would never be the infertile person who forgot the journey, and I would never, ever take any of this for granted.
I said this before when I wrote about high-risk pregnancy by trimester, but the “typical” pregnancy symptoms don’t bother me. In fact, they have always been reassuring: the severe nausea, the swelling and back pain, the interrupted sleep. They tell me things are still moving forward, they tell me that in many ways, I am just like any other pregnant woman, and that feels really good.
Besides, who isn’t tired and uncomfortable when pregnant? It’s an occupational hazard.
In terms of the high-risk stuff, the complications that mean I am at the doctor’s office all the time and have had more ultrasounds, biophysical profiles, and NSTs than I care to count here? Well, we went into this with our eyes wide open, so we are not surprised by it all. Granted, we didn’t expect some of the issues (like getting discharged on bed rest at 28 weeks for blood pressure or starting contractions at 34 weeks) but we also knew that things like that can emerge in any pregnancy.
I realize I haven’t updated much on the third trimester since it first started. As I said, we expected a lot of the challenges we’ve had and even expected to have surprises. What’s worth mentioning is that there have been good surprises, too. Namely, we expected the baby to do okay—after all, we have the best care available, and intense monitoring and proactive intervention.
But she hasn’t just done okay; aside from some recent bumps, she has thrived. Truly. Measuring ahead of the curve, being accused of being feisty, moving her diaphragm like a champ, kicking and punching all hours of the day and night…she has surprised all of us, doctors included, with her resiliency and buoyancy, even when my body is struggling. The closer we get to meeting her, the more amazing all of this is to me.
The other observation I have to offer is that while I expected the physical stuff and therefore am not entirely fazed by it, what I did not anticipate as readily was just how emotionally intense this trimester would be. The sheer amount of worry and apprehension, the speed with which the situation can (and does!) change, the prolonged state of ambiguity, the toll of spending days (and days) on the inpatient labor and delivery floor—it is much tougher than the physical stuff.
But every second is worth it.
We have both fought hard for every day of this pregnancy, particularly this last trimester. At this point, I feel like I have done everything I can for her, and it is out of my hands. Now, we need to trust in that and watch and wait for her cues. And it occurs to me that maybe that’s the legacy of this pregnancy: preparing me to do just those things when she’s here.