We are so close to the end that I can almost taste it. Today, I found out the documentation I was waiting on has been forwarded to the hospital and slowly, but surely, the rest of the puzzle pieces are falling into place. It is Week 35, folks, eight days from today, baby girl will be released from my womb, which, ironically, is the worst place for her to be right now, and born into this world. It all seems so surreal to me. Where have the last 35 weeks gone?
As the days of this week sailed by, I managed to cross off quite a few of my “To Do” list items and am feeling very confident that by this time next week, I will be ready to go — physically, mentally and emotionally. The only obstacle that may interfere with my plans is the little baby girl who has already kick started my body into the early stages of labor. What’s that, you may ask? Yes, I am only in my 35th week of pregnancy, but during yesterday’s doctor’s appointment, I found out that I am 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. It doesn’t surprise me that I’m already starting to progress. My body, particularly my immune system, has been under quite a bit of stress over the last three and a half months and the Braxton Hicks, or practice, contractions, have been tightening up my belly for quite a while. Under normal circumstances, I would probably be pretty panicked by this latest development, but knowing that my c-section is next Friday, makes it a little easier to accept. I feel that up to this point in time, I have done everything possible — 31 bags of IVIG infused into my body, three plus weeks of steriods at the tune of 30 mg per day ingested, ate right, exercised, crossed all my Ts and dotted all of my Is– to ensure her safe arrival. With any luck, I will be able to complete my last two infusions, have a final Level II ultrasound to check on her growth and brain, donate my platelets for a just-in-case-scenario, get my labs done and attend my last yoga class all before next Friday. Let’s also not mention that fact that my weekend is full to the brim with fun let’s-do-this-and-that-before-the-baby-gets-here activities. So, little girl, I would appreciate it if you could stay put until next Friday at 11:30 a.m., then feel free to come out and play whenever you’re ready (or forced to, as the case may be).
As the end gets closer and closer, I can’t help but compare this pregnancy to Clara’s, as well as to its earlier self. Hence, the title of this week’s post: A Tale of Two Pregnancies. We as humans thrive on comparison; it helps us comprehend what we cannot understand and reason what we can. Throughout this pregnancy, I have done nothing but compare it to my one with Clara. Both pregnancies involved babies effected by NAIT — Clara’s was undetected until after birth, this one was treated as a high-risk NAIT pregnancy (complete with lots of extra precautions, time, money and medication) from the beginning. During both pregnancies, I experienced some of the things that most moms-to-be face — acid reflux, aches and pains and the infamous pregnancy waddle. I tried to stay as healthy as possible during both pregnancies by eating right and getting regular exercise. The difference this time around? I have run on the treadmill and after a toddler during the past 35 weeks. Hence, my weight gain this time will more than likely be less than my pregnancy weight gain with Clara. As a pregnant and active runner, I did my homework before making the decision to run during a high-risk pregnancy. I cut down on my mileage and speed when necessary, stayed well hydrated throughout the day (I consume about 90-plus ounces of fluid per day, thank you IVIG) and wore a maternity support belt. I believe that this, in addition to my now low-sodium diet (a nod to you, prednisone), has helped me keep my weight down and any extra water retention at bay. The extra exercise also allows me to indulge in my almost nightly ice cream and cookie treats — not a bad perk if you ask me! I’ll have some final tallies when I post an update to my earlier Pregnancy By the Numbers post after the baby is born. Finally, I spent a great amount time during each pregnancy just being worried about all of those things that could go wrong. The worry during Clara’s pregnancy stemmed from my previous pregnancy loss, and, of course, we all know why this pregnancy was riddled with more than its fair share of woe-is-me moments.
As I compare my pregnant-self in July to my present pregnant self (say that three times fast :0)), it definitely feels as if this pregnancy has lived a double-life. Sure, I was a worried parent-to-be this past summer (what parent-to-be isn’t?), but I was able to enjoy just being a “normal” pregnant woman for a while. I sometimes long for the days when my only true stressors were a smattering of doctor’s appointments along the way and abiding by the rules all
preggos must honor. Once I hit 20 weeks and the infusions began, this pregnancy took on a new life of its own. Doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds became more frequent, I found a new part-time hobby in the 11 hours I spend hooked up to an IV each week and my life became much more focused on what I needed to do to get myself and my family to the end. So, in a way, I did get to experience the best of this pregnancy and the worst of this pregnancy. Now, as I gear up for the final leg of this journey, I can truly empathize with Charles Dickens’ protagonist in A Tale of Two Cities when he expressed:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”
I’ve discovered so much about myself through this journey and am looking forward to sharing all of my lessons learned during next week’s reflection. In the meantime, dear DTT readers, I’m going to spend the next seven days focusing on all things positive — the epoch of belief, the season of light and the spring of hope — all things I definitely see coming in the not too distant future.