Today, September 27th, 2018, marks an important milestone for me: 37 weeks into my pregnancy, Mia is now, according to my doctor, a full term baby. A typical pregnancy gestation is 40 weeks, but today, medically speaking, if Mia decides to come today, there is no real reason to worry about her coming “early”. The bun in the oven can be done baking anytime.
In the back of my mind, I had always been worried that my history as a premature baby might affect any pregnancies I would have as an adult. I was born around 32 weeks, weighing 2 pounds, 11 ounces, fourteen inches long, and fitting into the palm of my father’s hand. Knowing what I know now about prematurity and fetal development, it is a miracle of God and science that I am even alive, let alone thriving, with no known medical issues or otherwise relating to my early arrival. It is a wonder that the doctors discovered during a routine check that my heartbeat was erratic, leading to an urgent C-section two days later that likely saved my life. Any delay and there is a distinct chance that I would not be here at all.
Thankfully, my 51 day stay in the NICU was, though traumatic and heartwrenching for my family, overall uneventful, and led to me becoming a happy and healthy baby, child and eventual adult. I bear no ill effects from my early birth, with the exception of possible worse vision, short stature, and small scars on my hands, arms and feet from the many IVs I bore during that timeframe. I was assured that my prematurity held no bearing on my bearing children of my own; however, I still held that fear, small but nevertheless there. I worried even before we started trying, and continued to worry throughout the pregnancy.
It was a relief to find that even a few weeks ago, Mia was already measuring over double my own birth weight, with several weeks to continue cooking. And today, as I feel her rolling around in my belly, I’m grateful to her and to my body for making it this far.
Even despite the immense relief that I feel, I still carry fear. Fear of the unknown for me and little Mia. When will you come? How will you decide to arrive? Will you still be okay? Just because you’ve made it this far doesn’t guarantee you will arrive safely in my arms. The odds are in our favor, for sure, but until you are outside my body and I know you are SAFE, I won’t be able to let go of my fears fully.
For now, I’m contenting myself with the what feels like the thousands of times I feel you move each day. As much as I complain about it, every kick to the lungs and head butt to the crotch lets me know you’re there, safe and sound in my womb, and in no clear and present danger. I’m praying for the both of us that you’ll arrive safely and swiftly (not too swift…), with ease and warmth and love. And for now, we’ll take it one day at a time, together, until you decide to greet us on the outside.