I haven't been writing about this pregnancy much. Not nearly as much as I did when I was pregnant with Kailey. I think it's been mostly superstition on my part. When I look back on the early posts I wrote here, it seems like I was just tempting fate writing about how hard we were working to get our house/lives/jobs ready before the baby (aka Kailey) came along. There are several posts where I wrote about just needing to make sure she didn't come early and then... voila! 31 weeks and 6 days into the pregnancy and we were parents.
And it's also been that this pregnancy has, in many ways, been much harder than Kailey's because we know -- and have personally experienced -- the dark side of pregnancy. Not to be overly dramatic but if there's anything that this pregnancy has reminded me, it's that my first pregnancy was dramatic. And traumatic.
So, this go around, I've been trying hard not to jinx anything. And to take it day by day. While also making sure that I am overly prepared and have absolutely everything ready to go... just in case. We had all the baby clothes washed, a new dresser purchased and assembled, a new carseat, changing table, etc etc all ready before 32 weeks. And, I've also been trying to prepare emotionally for things to go wrong and for another stint in the NICU. I like to be realistic. And ready.
I've also been closely monitoring my health. We've had a blood pressure monitor at home for months and I take my blood pressure nearly every day (my blood pressure has been awesome this whole pregnancy, minus a couple little blips up that always send me into a google research shame spiral about early signs of preeclampsia... fun times). Every little symptom I've developed has gotten careful scrutiny. Google has really not been my friend.
But, the fact of the matter is -- this pregnancy has been very "normal". No swelling. No sign of my BP going up (knock on wood -- I know better than anyone that the high BP associated with PE can come on very suddenly). But, so far, it's been great.
So... I'm taking a deep breath for a minute and a moment to celebrate the fact that, as of today, I'm 34 weeks pregnant. At this time with Kailey, we'd been doing the NICU thing for two weeks. TWO WEEKS... of constant pumping, running to and from the hospital, memorizing all the stats on the endlessly beeping monitors, worrying nonstop about her weight, the apneas, bradys, her food intake and her residuals (when they would pull the food back out of her stomach to see how much she had digested).
And here I am -- two weeks past that point. I've spent the last two weeks running around like mad doing a ton of things for my job, which has been extremely busy (and also really exciting) lately. I haven't spent the last two weeks worrying about a preemie. And that is awesome.
I'm still on pins and needles and grateful for every day we get. I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I still don't think I'll be able to relax until this baby has been safely born and declared healthy. I don't think that is being pessimistic. It's the reality when you've been through something like what we went through.
But, with every passing day, we let ourselves get a little bit more excited. And, as of today, at 34 weeks, I feel like I might be ready to start a different type of preparation. Preparation for actual childbirth and for bringing a baby home from the hospital without having a bunch of interventions first. I haven't really spent any time thinking about those possibilities. We did go to a VBAC class when we hit 32 weeks - but, listening to the class, I mostly just felt like I was glad C-sections exist and was more than ready to have to have a C-section again. I was not like my fellow classmates, bemoaning the lost opportunity to have my "birth experience". I didn't need an experience. A full-term, healthy baby is enough for me.
But, the fact of the matter is, I might go into labor with this baby. It could happen. I had a doctor's appointment today and everything with the baby looks fantastic (I've had incredibly swollen glands for the last week which I think is completely unrelated to pregnancy and the doctor gave me antibiotics for those... so, hopefully that helps soon. Very soon. My neck has REALLY been hurting... and I'm hoping whatever is going on in there responds to antibiotics). But, the baby is doing great. Measuring on track. Moving around like crazy. Head down, but he hasn't dropped. He's right where he should be for 34 weeks. So, I feel like I need to start thinking about what the next few weeks could bring for us. Of course, we are still prepared to have a C-section. And, I know that complications can develop in the last few weeks. So, I'm not assuming that we are out of the woods here. And, I'm not getting my hopes up. I still just want a full-term, healthy baby -- however he gets here. But, at this point, I'm starting to entertain the notion that he might get here in a different fashion than his sister did. It's a novel idea, for me.