Sunday was the day Matthew should have been born. Or somewhere close to it. This past weekend or the one coming up we should have had a birthday party for a rambunctious 5 year old. We should have had balloons, cupcakes, candy, singing and laughter shared by good friends. We had some of that, at a birthday party for another little boy turning 5, but it wasn't for our little boy. Instead, we celebrated his 5th birthday 7 weeks ago by releasing balloons at a cemetery, surrounded by loved ones and wondering how it's possible that he isn't here with us.
I've had the pleasure of experiencing 3 live births. In all 3 babies were born crying. In one birth, a little girl was born after an hour and a half of pushing with all my might. With another, he was born in a few quick moments after being cut in half, time wasn't wasted on getting anything prepped or ready. It was a rush and a blur. The last was born in the OR, hours after her scheduled time, after being too stubborn to be pushed out. 1 was born 3 days past her due date, 1 was born 4 days before her due date and 1 was born 7 weeks sooner than he should have been.
Both girls were born full term. They never left the side of me or their daddy. They nursed in their first hour. They pooped like they were supposed to and they were held and cuddled by friends and family alike. Our one son was born prematurely. He was whisked away moments after birth. He was put on a vent. 5 days passed before I, his own mother, was allowed to hold him. He was fed pumped milk through a tube that passed through his nose. He was poked and prodded. I'm sure his first few days and couple of weeks were just plain miserable.
Our full term girls are living and breathing today. One is attempting to destroy by sewing area and throwing bobbins of thread through the playroom. The other is at cheerleading practice. And if she has her way, she's flying in the air tonight, depending on other 7-8 year olds to hold her steady and catch her. Our premature baby is able to watch down on both of them from Heaven. He left us far too soon. In less than 3 weeks, he will have been an angel for 5 years.
Our experience with prematurity did not have a positive outcome. It had a better outcome than many others have had, we were blessed with 10 weeks, or 70 days with our little man. We were blessed with cuddles and snuggles and story telling. We were given time to study every part of his face, every hair on his head, every wrinkle in his arms and legs and every sound he could make. But, it wasn't enough.
Obviously, prematurity scares the crap out of me. I do not want to experience another premature birth. I want to get to at least 38 weeks. I find myself looking at the survival rates for whatever week I'm in, then I wonder, why do I bother. At 33 weeks, the survival rate exceeds 95%. Which seems like a HUGE number, until you're on the other side of it.
Today, I am 27 weeks pregnant. A week shy of the second big goal I was given. A week shy of 7 months, a week shy of the third trimester (depending on who you ask), and a week shy of hitting the gestational age where the survival rate without major disabilities is 80%.
I've hit the point where my bladder feels like the size of a pea, where you can see her hiccups and movements from outside my belly, the point where I'm starving all the time, but can only fit a few bites in before feeling like I'm going to explode, the time where I start to get uncomfortable and just blah feeling.
I have most of Charlotte's things ready. I've sorted all the baby clothes, organized the ones past 3 months in size in bins in the storage room, washed and put away all the itty bitty stuff. I just need to get her car seat and stroller and that's it. We're down to under 90 days before we should be here, and down to only 8 more shots of p17, including tomorrow. We have one more scheduled u/s for next Tuesday and then we may be released from the care of the perinatologist office.
We're getting there.