Every week for 16 weeks, the familiar cardboard box would show up promptly at my door. Sometimes it greeted me after a morning of running errands and other times I was home when it
appeared at the door like an old, trusty friend. I don’t know if the FedEx delivery person ever knew how important and expensive the precious cargo that lay wrapped inside the styrofoam cooler was and how vital it was for the delivery to be made each week. I always knew what the box contained — two bags of IVIG — the medication that would hopefully save my unborn daughter’s life — and the supplies needed for my infusions. I received my last delivery of IVIG
on Wednesday; it was waiting for me when I got home from my morning of appointments and errands. The box felt a little lighter this time. I took my time tearing the cardboard open and stared at the white cooler for a minute before I released my last bag of medication from its icy prison.
Every week for 16 weeks, the familiar face of a new friend would show up promptly at my door. Twice each week for four months, she always greeted me with a smile and a friendly hello. We spent many hours laughing, joking, sharing recipes and stories, and smiling, all while an IV
pumped a life-altering and life-saving drug into my body. Nurse Jules not only cared for me as her patient, but also as her friend. Today marked the last time she would be putting in my IV, taking my blood pressure and monitoring my body temperature. As we sat at the kitchen table for the last time in our roles as patient and nurse, I felt a wave of sadness wash over me. I knew this part of the journey was only temporary, but it was still hard to say good-bye to the person who’s been watching over me and baby girl for 11 hours each week since the beginning of November. In the process of helping to save my baby, I’ve found a new friend in Jules and someone I am eternally grateful to have welcomed into our lives.
Every week for 34 weeks, I’ve been challenged with one of the toughest experiences I’ve known
to date — carrying a high-risk pregnancy affected by a known condition — NAIT. It was my choice to carry this baby, my choice to take a risk and my choice to deal with the consequences of said risk. Now on the eve of her birth, I am faced with the outcome of these decisions. Tomorrow, I will meet the little girl who has been occupying my thoughts (sometimes without my utmost commitment) for the last nine months. Tomorrow, I find out her actual medical condition, not just what we think to be the case. The all-important CBC, which will be drawn immediately upon birth from the cord that attaches she and I, will tell us whether all of the precautions we’ve taken up to this point have been worth the risk. This week’s appointments and my last Level II ultrasound indicate that things are still going well. She tipped the scales at an estimated 6 pounds, 14 ounces (with a margin of error of 1 pound) and proudly displayed her chubby cheeks on the 3-D ultrasound. Her heartbeat was strong and I’m still measuring perfectly. This news gives me a great amount of confidence going into tomorrow’s surgery, but I’m still afraid to let my guard down completely just yet. Some old habits are hard to break I guess, but truth be told, I am thankful and relieved that this week marks the last leg of my journey.
Every week for 18 weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to share my thoughts and opinions with those who choose to read and wonder. I’ve looked forward to posting my reflections every Thursday, as they have afforded me the opportunity to educate, vent, keep in-touch and peacefully digest all of the feelings that have affected my emotional state since my first infusion in late-October. Although this is the last post before the pregnancy ends, it is not the last post this blog will host. I plan on keeping up with my regular Thursday updates for as long as people are reading (and even if they’re not!). Later posts will keep you apprised of baby girl’s progress, my adventures in parenting two daughters and the whole host of other challenges that I know await my family down the road. Our lives are just getting started, so please stick along for the ride!
It’s funny how when you know something is coming to an end, you savor every second of it.
Even though this experience hasn’t been ideal and has challenged every ounce of my being for the last 36 weeks, I’ve been trying my best to document and enjoy it, as it will be the last pregnancy I ever carry. It saddens me, somewhat, to know that I will never be pregnant again, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t put myself or my family through another NAIT pregnancy. I gave it its one shot and now I am at peace knowing that I was able to make it to the end and may, hopefully, be there to coach others through their own NAIT pregnancies one day.
Tonight feels like Christmas Eve and the night before the biggest test of my life all wrapped into one. I’ve said my goodbyes to all of the lasts and am ready to welcome in the firsts. Over the course of the next few days, I will experience my first c-section, take my first stab at mothering two daughters and, hopefully, get to experience, for the first time, what it’s like to have my baby room-in with me (something I didn’t get to experience with Clara) at the hospital. I’m ready to welcome my little girl into the world, introduce her to all of her firsts and experience a whole new world of learning and love.
Tomorrow, on her birthday, I will be the one receiving the greatest gift…
*Fingers crossed for a platelet count of over 100,000!*