Acceptance is a running theme for today's post.
I have accepted that I am really a bad blogger. I read often, but comment rarely, and I am lucky to get a post a month up lately, but I'm hoping that the people who read will keep reading anyway. (oh, and I welcome any of you to use the flickr link on the right to see some pictures of the past month or so of craziness... )
I am in the process of accepting the fact that my sweet, sweet boy has just turned two and that even my little angel will succumb to fits, tantrums, and the general chaos of toddler hood.
I am in the process of accepting that my dear Sophia will probably always need just a little more from me than I always have available for her... and that she is getting the very best of me everyday, and that is the most that I can do.
I am in the process of accepting that as incredible my oldest, Emily is, she is still a teenager going through the throws of hormones and change and painful growing up. That not only can I not shelter her from it, but that I don't want to, because as painful as it it is to watch, that is my job as her Mama. My job is to watch her try and sometimes fail, but be there to support her getting back up and trying again. It is my job to watch her love and get her heart broken, but be there for a shoulder to cry on and help her to know that she will love again, probably many more times with the same outcome. It is my job to watch her struggle to understand things that are difficult, to watch her realize that life is not fair, that the world can be hard, but that she can still be open and fair and giving anyway.
I am in the process of accepting that this pregnancy is amazing and has already given me so much. The knowledge that I have the capacity to love more, give more, be more than I was before I conceived. And that no matter what the outcome I am a better person for having experienced exactly what I have up until this point, and for as long as I am blessed with this continued life within me.
As of today I am 20 weeks.
I have made it halfway through this pregnancy. This would usually bring me some kind of comfort... but sadly last week when I went to my sonogram appointment I got some unexpected news. It wasn't the good kind.
First off, because I will be turning 35 at the end of next month (and about two months before the baby is due) I had to get genetic counseling... which was fairly unpleasant. The truth is that I do know quite a bit about the things that can go wrong, but personally, I don't do much testing because no matter what we would find out I wouldn't do anything differently. I already eat as well as I can, exercise, and follow the guidelines for pregnancy. I would never terminate a pregnancy because there was something wrong... even something really wrong, because at this point I am halfway through and it just doesn't fit into my personal belief system... that being said the DH and I had to sit through about 30 minutes of a geneticist telling us all the terrible things that could be going wrong and pressuring us to get an amnio, even though there are no big markers or any family history... but just because "well you know you are getting older now..." yes, thank you young chippy... I realize I am the ripe old age of 34 right now... please get me my walker... good lord... I'm 34!!!. Anyway, by the time we got to get the sonogram I was already full of a lot of information (mostly negative) and I was ready for the pleasure of seeing my healthy beautiful baby!
We did and the baby looks great! Healthy, right on target size-wise, a real mover and shaker just like all her siblings (oh, I am calling her a her but we don't actually know what sex the baby is... we like to wait for the surprise at the end of the journey!!). She actually gave the tech a pretty hard time, not wanting to show her face to check for a cleft lip... but eventually all the necessary shots were taken and all the organs look as though they are functioning well. There are 10 fingers and toes, a beautiful brain... just about perfect.
The baby is looking very good, but my placenta is not. I have been diagnosed with a circumvallante placenta, which basically means that the placenta is starting to pull away from my uterus in a circular manner. Instead of being 100% attached it is at about 80% right now. Because the placenta is a smart organ (like a liver) it is compensating for this by being thicker than a "normal" placenta. Both the detachment and the thicker placenta are strong indicators for low birth weight babies. Also because of this separation, I have a good size blood clot resting on top of my cervix right now. All of these things separately are strong indicators for pre-term labor. All of them together make the possibility much, much more likely.
Wow... it was nothing I was thinking I would hear. I usually run late with my babies, my big chubby babies. With the first I was induced 7 days post dates (7lbs 12 oz), the second was 15 days late(8lbs 10 1/2 oz), the third was 9 days late(9lbs 12 1/2 oz).... the thought of having a preemie or God forbid a baby too little to even survive never even crossed my mind... not even once... not until Monday that is.
The doctor said that everything has the possibility of being just fine, and in the same breath he told me that if anything happens in the next 6 weeks there is nothing to be done. I now have 5 weeks to what they call the cut off for viability... and my waiting has begun.
I have talked with a lot of people about this and they all had their own perspectives about the possibilities. The biggest thing that I have been struggling with is how to NOT think about the negative things that COULD happen and trying to put all my energy into the positive things that also COULD happen. I can't help but think about how hard it would be to lose this baby. The thought brings me to instant tears, it has already been such a crazy journey for us this time around, I already feel so much love.
I have been feeling better today about things because I spoke with one of my midwives(who just started at the birth center as a midwife, BUT was the nurse at my prior two births there) and she had a similar, but much more dire prognosis during her last pregnancy. Things did not turn out perfectly but the end result is a beautiful almost 5 year old daughter who came early, but now is just like the rest of her peers. It felt good to hear a real life situation, that although didn't have a perfect situation, turned out well in the end. AND, she gave me some perspective about where my stats are in the levels of badness... they are low level right now. Things might change, but for right now I have reason to hope, which is nice to know. She also told me how during the summer she had to catch 40 babies for her schooling, and that out of those she had several that were full term, average weight babies whose mothers also had circumvallante placentas, one of them, who never had a sonogram, went through the whole pregnancy none the wiser.... so really, truly things could turn out just fine. It is just a waiting game at this point.
I am not bleeding and haven't had bleeding since 11 weeks. If I do start to bleed, it will not be a good sign at all... but there's no reason to think that will definitely happen. It is possible for the blood clot to be reabsorbed, which would be amazing and take away one risk for pre-term labor. The baby's growth starts to become more of an issue much later on, around 28 weeks. By that time the placenta will have either healed itself or become much thicker which means it can impede the baby's growth. The possibility that the placenta could continue to detach is also very real. There is a wide spectrum of possibilities at this point, from going full term with a big healthy baby to having spontaneous placental abruption (complete detachment) at any given time, and everywhere in between those two extremes.
So, like I said the waiting has begun. I am praying and sending all my positive thoughts into myself for that precious little one to hear. I am eating as well as I can.... exercising daily (the doctor said it was good to keep as active as I feel comfortable with) ...trying to rest... although that has been kind of hard, I have been having a great deal of difficulty sleeping since Monday. But I am doing everything that I can everyday, and that is all that I can do.
The most difficult lesson for me to learn from any pregnancy, but it seems especially in this one, is that I am not the one in control. I have to let go and let what will happen, happen. Surrender is a difficult thing for me, but it is the only thing for me to do right now... so that is my ongoing goal.
Acceptance, surrender, and LOVE. I don't know what else to do.
Today I am thankful to have a healthy 20 week fetus moving and grooving inside of me as we speak (or type!).
I am grateful to have a supportive group of women around me to listen, teach, talk with, and support me through this trying emotional time.
I am grateful for every week, every day, every minute that I have with my baby and hope that there will be many more to come.
I am grateful for any thoughts, prayers, and positive energy that any of you have available to send my way! Thank you! : )