So today we hit week 32, and I’ve noticed a change in me. At least a change from the few weeks prior when I was suddenly present and energetic enough to post a few entries here.
Before I get to that - for the record, Brad and I have not decided on a name yet. Between the two of us we have been calling her Hilamina (hill-uh-mEE-nuh) as a female reference to Brad’s late father. With another friend she is “Lellie”, since that’s what her 3 year old daughter decided to name our girl (after all, she gets to name all her dolls, why not our baby - her newest anticipated doll?).
Anyway, up until yesterday Hilamina was not passing her nonstress tests (NSTs) which is a measure of heartrate acceleration in response to her movement in the womb. It’s also an indication of adequate oxygenation through the placenta and umbilical cord. Technically fetii are not expected to pass until 32 weeks, but she was deemed non-reactive last week which sent up a cautionary flag and resulted in a few more tests and appointments. All other indicators are good though, and as I said, yesterday she passed. (I’ll still feel better when we get a few more “Pass” scores under our belt, but still. Good news is good news.)
But having the caution flag temporarily raised changed my whole perspective and focus for the rest of this pregnancy. The weekend before Mother’s Day I was super-emotional over: thinking about spending time in the meadow at Anna’s bench to commemorate the day (HELL of a way to be a mother); the fact that Emily’s first b-day is approaching (May 30th) and how much we’ve missed, how happy and excited her family must be in anticipation of celebrating it, and how sad I still am about everything around Emily; that I’m still terrified something will happen with this baby and we either won’t get to have her either or something will go terribly wrong; and lack of sleep - insomnia, restless legs, reflux, a sometimes-active baby that you can’t escape and a snoring husband results in something less than lengthy peaceful slumber. That Monday night I was a crying mess. Tuesday was the NST that raised caution and suddenly all those other pieces were distant. The only thing I had room for was This Baby, here and now.
And ever since, the idea that maybe we won’t get to 38 weeks, maybe she’ll need to come earlier for whatever reason, now it’s not about my PTSD in the OR but about getting her here as safely as possible, whatever that looks like. If it’s NICU time, that’s okay. If we can stay away from intubation, excellent (I have a horrible time with trachs and ventilators based on my own phobia of suffocating/choking/drowning). If we have to do feeding tubes, so be it. Let’s just have her healthy enough to avoid intraventricular hemorrhage (relatively common in preemies), brain damage, digestive/intestinal complications, etc. I researched outcomes for babies born at 31, 32 and 34 weeks. I researched feeding and what I would need to do to provide breastmilk and give the best chance for still being able to breastfeed. And everything else in life very quickly paled in comparison to WHATEVER I NEED TO DO to keep her in there safely as long as possible. Not that I’ve been exercising or even doing anything considered active this pregnancy, but suddenly even the everyday stuff could be let go in favor of resting and monitoring movement and tuning into whatever intuition I may have going for me. It’s no longer about getting to the end but about getting as far as we can with her intact.
The side effect of all that is having next to zero room in my psyche for anything but her. I can go through the motions of everyday stuff. I can look normal and functional, but spend any time observing and you’ll see I’m not so much really here. I’ve had no attention span to email, post, write much-needed thank you notes, buy gifts for close friends and my goddaughter in recognition of special events in their lives, figure out how to support this blog with a new web host, and on and on and on. All things I technically have a good bit of time for and should get done while I can. But I can’t. I’m spacey and disjointed. My mind feels numb to anything but this pregnancy. Which makes for great conversation, let me tell you. Brad is loving it. Or not. (But last week was a wake-up call for him too, so he tolerates me. He’s a very, very tolerant man, that one. Takes one, to marry a girl like me!)
My social capabilities also suffer dramatically - phone calls, one-to-one visits, seeking or accepting social interaction - all ignored or put off or simply...observed.
All this I’ve decided to term “Going subterranean”. I’m deep down under, focused on just one thing, you just can’t tell by looking at me.
Now. Since she passed her NST yesterday, there is some breathing room - hence, I’m able to write this! I can come up to the surface - enough - to do this.
So fair warning to you all. If I’m incommunicado, you know I’ve gone subterranean. No need for intervention, just understanding. I just need to be there until circumstances allow for surfacing again.