I can finally breathe again; let out the sigh of relief I’ve been holding onto for months. I can live days without fear but rather with joy and great anticipation. I can plan for you, like really plan. We set up your room, painted your walls, reassembled your crib. We’ve discussed names and I think we’ve decided. I even bought your coming home outfit. You see, for awhile there I was too afraid to plan. Afraid of the unknown, afraid of the other 50%, afraid that it would happen just like they said it would. So now, now that we are here, I am so incredibly thankful to finally feel safe.
I’m 33 weeks, in the home stretch and although there is still a small hematoma nestled in near you, it has drastically shrunk in size over the last 18 weeks and the hemorrhaging has stopped. Bedrest has been lifted and with permission from our doctor you now join me on runs and laps in the pool. I think you like our little workouts. I know I love them. Slow as they may be at times, they lull you to sleep. My three wonderful miles of pounding feet on the pavement (or treadmill) each morning is a rhythmic ride for you and our laps in the pool, those are the best. My calves don’t scream at me due to their atrophied stated after 15 weeks of bedrest like they do when we run. I feel light in the water despite my extra poundage and as we slowly glide through our one mile weekend swim you calm down. The water soothes you the same way it does my aching body. And as soon as our workouts are done you perk back up again. Every single time, jumping, twisting, turning, reminding me you’re still there, as if I could ever forget. We have to take a few precautions still. We continue to monitor your growth and blood supply to make sure that pesky invader isn’t taking too much from you, but I can finally breathe again and I think you can tell things are now different.
But I will never forget that night. It was the worst in all my life. I will never shake the images of all that blood. I will never forget the gripping fear that took hold of me or the way all of life seemed to rush out of my body when they said I was losing you. I will never forget seeing your dad for the first time after they broke the news to me and before any hope had been restored. I will never forget asking him over and over again “why?”
I don’t believe every why has an answer. But perhaps this one does. Perhaps he needed to bring me to my knees, to fill me with fear only to remind me that I am nothing without him. I am not in control and my blessings are not owed to me, but rather gifts from him. Maybe he needed me to take pause. To stop running full speed ahead trying desperately to keep up and get it all done, to always do more. Maybe he wanted me to appreciate all I have right here and right now, even in all of its imperfections. Maybe he thought I’d forgotten all this in the hustle and bustle and the stress and chaos of every day life and overpacked schedules. And maybe I had.
You are the strong one. You are the one who held on and fought. You are the one who said screw those odds and persevered. You were my strength. Out of my three babies you have been the most lively. And I was so grateful for your energetic personality in those dark days. Your kicks and rolls and jabs reminded me day after day that you were still there, still fighting, still thriving. You reminded me in my overwhelming fear to not give up hope, because you sure as hell weren’t. You’ve been fighting like hell and have proved those doctors and that one nurse so very wrong.
I joined a group of other moms going through the same thing. I’ve listened to their stories and seen their pictures. I’ve cried and had to turn away from images of too many angels born too early; perfect in every way, but defeated by this monster. I’ve rejoiced in the happy endings; of babies born full term and preemies thriving in NICUs. I’ve found hope and courage in their successes and prayed endlessly that our story will be the same.
But you and I kid, we had nothing but 50/50 odds and him. No doctors that could intervene or make a difference at that point, no semblance of control on my end. It was a waiting game and I didn’t want to play. And at the end of it all, we only had him. Maybe he just needed me to remember that. To remind me that I was in need of humility and grace. To shake me to my core so that I had no where to run and nothing to turn to but him and my faith.
Knowing my future odds and chances of a similar situation or even a worse outcome, I sometimes wonder if I could do it all again down the road. If I’m emotionally strong enough. But that’s not a question I need to answer now. Perhaps I’m not even the one who should be answering that question at all. But I do know one thing, I would go through these last few months again. I would relive that night, feel that fear, have those images and moments seared upon my brain. I would sit aimlessly for weeks, worry day after day. I’d do it all again without hesitation or question to get me to you. It will all be worth it. And you and I kid, we will be better because of it. I cannot wait to meet you, to know you, to hold you, to love you, to be your mom and to never take you for granted. Less than seven weeks to go, sweet girl.