I thought getting pregnant was going to be the hard part.
Turns out that bright idea merely prompted the universe to remind me that children are life’s way of reminding us that we have no control. Bitch.
What were supposed to be the blissfully ignorant glowing months before motherhood were instead counted down by my own milestone markings.
4 weeks: A positive pregnancy test. Two lines! Your life is about to change!
I’ve seen three positive tests out of the countless negatives. None resulted in a viable pregnancy. (I actually never took a home test with the muppets. I was too scared to jinx it.)
5 weeks: Doubling hCG levels. The child is growing within you!
Two pregnancies with positive pregnancy tests ended for me with doctor’s orders for daily blood tests until the numbers returned to zero. (Wrong way body! Even my fertility is directionally challenged.)
6 weeks: Ultrasound heartbeat. The baby is thriving!
“There are three.” BABIES?! Holy. Shit. They tell you repeatedly that fertility treatments can result in multiples. But when you’re having issues getting pregnant with one, you kind of tune that warning out.
12 weeks: Second trimester. The presumed “safe zone.”
Two ER visits for bleeding behind us, we were ready to relax as we passed the first trimester mark. So we shared with the world that we were having twins. Baby C was now a guardian angel. (And if C thought that would be the easier gig, boy did the muppets make him WORK.)
14 weeks: Another ultrasound. (Because when you are messing with the milestones this much so far, you get a LOT of ultrasounds. Typically 2-3 a week. Seriously.)
BOYS! Two boys! Damn. We’re gonna need another boy’s name.
20 weeks: Full ultrasound for abnormalities.
22 weeks: Routine well-mommy checkup.
Normal is a state of mind. Incompetent cervix. Welcome to Hotel Labor and Delivery Unit. (In a very Hotel California moment – I could check in, but a pregnant me would never leave, they were programmed to receive. It was going to be heaven or it was going to be hell.)
24 weeks: Viable baby certainly looks good on you.
Every preemie is different, but 24 weeks is the current “viability” line. In 1980 viability was considered 28 weeks. Today I follow several preemie stories of 23-weekers who had other ideas.
27 weeks: It’s time to play the music. It’s time to light the lights.
Search and Destroy are born. Thirteen weeks to soon.
28 weeks: The third trimester.
Who needs a trimester. Semester is more my style. And sometimes pregnancy goes horribly wrong.
37 weeks: Full-term.
Three months old, the muppets are finally ready to come home from the hospital. Our homecoming was quiet, filled with paranoid parents and a full calendar of follow-up appointments and nurse home visits. (But they came home on a schedule!)
39 weeks: Healthy babies are worth the wait.
Most women have one baby after nine months. I had two after six. Because I’m efficient like that.
Every preemie story is unique. And every preemie experience is the worst one possible to the parent living the nightmare.
For those of you who have just discovered this ongoing saga regarding the headaches and hilarity involved in raising tiny twins – my story involves twin 27-weeker wimpy white boys. (Those indoctrinated into the world of prematurity totally know what that means.)
Last week Tatum over at Ain’t No Roller Coaster (an awesome preemie parent blog) wrote a missive so aptly titled, “The Truth About Prematurity.” There is no magic point where you can confirm there will be no issues – recently Life After NICU dedicated a week to full term NICU babies.
Which is why the March of Dimes implemented the “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” campaign. Babies aren’t fully developed until at least 39 weeks in the womb –brains, lungs and eyes continue to develop into the last few weeks of pregnancy.
I’m sure those last months of pregnancy can seriously suck. I would have given anything for their alleged misery.
Give your child the best start possible. Wait until 39 weeks if you can.