I don’t know why 32 weeks is such a big milestone for me, but it is. There are four major milestones throughout pregnancy at 12, 20, 32, and 37 weeks. But I think 32 weeks is where a lot of expecting parents take a big sigh of relief and realize that the chance of anything going majorly wrong at this point is unlikely.
I had some cervical issues while pregnant with Ben. We had a scare at 26 weeks and at that point, it was the scariest time of the pregnancy. There was so much uncertainty about whether or not he’d be born at that time and if so, would he make it? The goal was to get out of micro-preemie status (32 weeks) and take it week-by-week. Once we got to 32 weeks, we could feel comfortable again.
We made it to 32 weeks. We had made it to the part where we could really feel confident that we’d be bringing a baby home and we were getting the last bit of necessities together. His nursery was coming along and Eddie had just put the glider together. His clothes were detagged and washed. The car seat was installed. We had celebrated the fact that Ben had flipped head-down – all at once and with such force that it scared our dog, Max. An entire person had just done a somersault inside of me.
It was after this point that he was diagnosed with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia at 33 weeks and 3 days. It would be even longer (at 37 weeks) before the results of the amniocentesis would turn a nightmare into a tragedy.
I was alone with Ben for a short time while Eddie walked our family out (to the car? I’m not sure). There were so many things I wanted to say to him that I had saved for the moment we’d meet face-to-face, although of course I’d imagined that moment going differently than it had. So in between the I’m-sorries and goodbyes, I told him that we were so ready for him. He was so wanted. So loved. I was so sad he had to go, but happy he was here.
And now I find myself sending these messages to Paisley. We’re putting the finishing touches on her nursery. Her clothes are detagged and washed. The car seat is installed. And after much procrastination, we’ve finally gone through Ben’s clothes to determine which items are neutral enough for a girl. We are so ready for you. You are so wanted and loved. And then…I can’t wait to watch you grow.
Growing is definitely a hobby of hers. She’s now estimated to be about 4 pounds 7 ounces. To put it in perspective, that’s just 5 ounces shy of how big Ben was…at birth. We still have another month and a half to go. All of her measurements are in the 50th percentile range. Her weight is right on target. Nothing is unclear or uncertain about her ultrasounds. Her first of weekly NSTs was yesterday and it was perfect. It’s all so different.
But you know what really gets me? The thought of her crying on her birth day – just because she can. Because she can breathe. Nursing. Kicking. The thought of her opening her eyes. Taking her home.
Part of me wants to add a disclaimer, something indicating that I know it’s possible that things won’t be perfect. That maybe she’ll need some help in the beginning for whatever reason. Or if she’s born sometime between now and term, maybe she’ll have to stay at the hospital for a little bit. But today, I am 32 weeks pregnant – again – and I don’t want to be jaded by the things that can go wrong. I want to take a big sigh of relief.
To update on Eddie, things are going well in some ways and not-so-much in others. Most of the issues at this point are administrative. I still have yet to hear back from the detective. And the neurosurgeon’s office won’t complete his FMLA paperwork because he didn’t have surgery. And now we have to find a new neurosurgeon.
Eddie tried to space out his pain medication and it didn’t go over well. But his mobility has improved a bit and, in true Eddie fashion, he’s powering through the work day.
I think we’re both just holding out hope that he’ll be in good shape by the time Paisley is born so he can at least be as involved in labor with her as he was with Ben and so he can pick her up on his own and hold her – without a brace to separate them. Just a normal, natural experience is the hope at this point.
That’s another thing that makes my heart race. The thought of watching Eddie be a father again. And there goes the emotional roller coaster again…