Some women have easy pregnancies.
I know this because, for the first half of my pregnancy, I was one of them. I heard so many horror stories from other moms who threw up daily (or many times a day) for months on end, who were hospitalized with hyperemesis gravidarum because they couldn’t even keep water down, who struggled throughout their pregnancies in misery. I was grateful that despite some morning sickness, and a yucky virus–I sailed through my first trimester, and part of my second, unscathed. For the most part, I enjoyed pregnancy to the hilt! I listened to all my birth podcasts, read tons of blogs about baby’s development week-by-week, and devoured any book I could get my hands on about natural birth.
I thought I had this pregnancy thing figured out!
I remember the days when my pre-natal appointments were fun. The days when my midwife would record my weight, chat with me about how I was feeling, pull out the plastic model showing how big the baby was that week, and then cheerily send me on my way.
These days, because of my complete placenta previa, my appointments focus on far weightier topics such as: exactly what I should do if I start bleeding, how many bleeding episodes I can have before they have to deliver, what a c-section will entail, and preparing me for the increased, albeit small, risk of needing a hysterectomy.
At fifteen-weeks pregnant, my dreams for this pregnancy centered around my ideal natural birth. Now, at 31 weeks pregnant, my dream is that I will make it to my scheduled c-section without bleeding, that baby will be healthy, and that during the birth they can stop the bleeding and not have to resort to a hysterectomy.
Can we please go back to the days of light-hearted appointments?
The sonographers, the midwives, and the internet told me that 99% of previas move, and that I didn’t have any risk factors for even causing a previa. The fact that my placent never has budged, is just a fluke. Luck of the draw.
The truth is, being in the 1% who struggle with this complication has forever changed how I look at pregnancy.
Every day feels precious. My bumpdates have stopped being fun little anecdotal posts, and now serve to highlight another week down: with every week that passes by without complications, I feel a palpable relief. As if every week I make it in this pregnancy is a gift: I made it one more week without bleeding, and one more week without a baby in the NICU.
My Caesarian birth is scheduled: I only have six and a half weeks left in this pregnancy. Six and a half weeks to keep this baby inside of me. Six and a half weeks to practice trust, and keep myself busy enough to occupy my fretful mind. Six and a half weeks until this sweet little person is here.
The past few weeks, this pregnancy’s focus has been on all the do-nots soberly outlined by my midwife: do not exercise, do not get dehydrated, do not lift anything, do not wait to go to the hospital, do not do anything strenuous, do not take this lightly. In the midst of the fear, I am trying to remember my own personal list of do-nots, to make it through the next few weeks: do not worry, do not lose heart, do not stop praying, do not take this pregnancy for granted, do not live in fear, do not wish away this season.
Even in the midst of the worry, I am intensely grateful. So grateful that baby is healthy. So grateful that I have a large support network. So grateful that I married a man who makes it his job to not only work full-time, but also keep the house running, and keep me in a constant state of giggles. So grateful that my job isn’t strenuous, so that I can keep on working. So grateful that I am not on bed rest. So grateful that I have made it this far.
This pregnancy hasn’t gone according to my plans. It has had a lot more fear, mourning, and risks than I ever could have prepared for, but we are in the final stretch. It won’t last forever.
Until that baby’s cry is heard, this pregnant mama is taking it one step at a time. One day at a time. One bumpdate at a time. Accepting help, saying the prayers, and waiting. Until the day when the delivery is over, that stubborn placenta is no longer a worry, and we have a fresh little baby to cuddle.