10 reflections on this pregnancy with just 4 days left

Hey Four!

Four more days with you nestled in me!  That is amazing!  Today we go for our last round of OB appointments: NST, BPP Ultrasound, and doc appt.  Your dad will be going with me.  We are seeing the doctor who got us started way, way back in Sept 2015 with the referral to fertility.  I really like this doctor, so I am glad we get to see him at the end.  Saturday your dad has to work supervising a park cleanup day staffed by volunteers.  Sunday will be our last quiet day at home together.  Your dad is going to work on Monday while I do the final prep for our trip to the hospital at 6 p.m.  WOW!

I feel very, very big and mostly uncomfortable because that pelvic bone pain is pretty constant.  I also feel like I am squishing you when I am laying down.  You continue to move a lot – which is good.  I think that you are excited too, right?  I guess since we are near the end of the pregnancy I thought I would review this once in a lifetime journey.

1. I was the embodiment of stats for someone my age.  Due to being 42 at the start of our fertility, it turned out that my numbers reflected what was to be expected.  With the 31 eggs retrieved, 28 of which were mature, 24 of which fertilized, and the 10 that we could afford to test, we ended up with just 3 viable embryos.  WOW!  Considering that we endured miscarriages, and seeing that only 3 of 28 possible eggs resulted in an option that would make it, that put us at 11%.  I am grateful for our good fortune to have excellent insurance coverage that allowed us to seek IVF as our road to parenthood.  Given how health care may change, I think we might have made the best of the era where health care really made this something we could do.  Without the insurance that we have, we could have never afforded IVF.  I am so grateful that we managed to have the timing on our side.

2. Fertility is hard, but hope and partnership pulled me through.  I have never liked needles and fertility was all about needles.  There are the constant blood draws, which with my tricky veins were never easy.  There are the shots, and more shots, and the side effects of the shots.  Amazingly, we got through all of that because we did it together.  Your father is wonderfully supportive.  He is not great with needles too.  Yet he helped me each and every night do those shots.  I never felt alone with any of those stabs.  Having a true partner like that got me through, even when the side effects were emotional meltdowns.  And, yes, fertility treatments are intense with regards to the surges of hormones.  Again, we were so blessed to have an excellent fertility center here in our hometown.  Many patients have to drive from far away to do what we could conveniently work in with our schedules.  The nurses were fantastic and the professionalism and support was top notch.

3. Prayer, like real earnest and heart-felt prayer is a huge help.  I have never been overly religious.  I have gone through periods where I attended church, Bible study groups, and read scripture on my own, but those were short-lived.  However, I have always maintained my nightly prayers since I was a little girl.  I still pray the “Our Father” at night and then ask for a blessing for the baby.  I have prayed incredibly hard in the moments before being told whether or not we were pregnant.  I’ve prayed painfully hard while gushing blood on the car ride to the ER.  And I continue to pray for peace and calm in the storm of worries that I believe any parents would be experiencing throughout a pregnancy fraught with complications and less than positive statistics associated with a mom my age.  I am certain that we have been blessed with a miracle.  Yes, it took a huge team of medical professionals to help us achieve this, but it is a miracle that it all came together such as it did.

4. I am completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from near and far.  Here is the thing…I think I am mostly a good person, but I often think that I don’t have a lot of friend friends.  But then, with the miscarriages and this pregnancy’s complications, I have been blown away by the people who have reached out to me across distance and time.  I got a text from a tennis lady today who I don’t see that often and she just wanted to check in and see how I was doing.  I had a long-time friend from band camp send us a gift from our registry – out of nowhere.  There are the ladies from the different showers who surprised me with both their generosity and empathy.  In all of these moments I am so grateful and very aware that this community of amazing people I’ve grown to know across these years of my life are truly wonderful and think of me with well wishes and prayers.  It is proof positive that humans can be wonderful in how we can embrace one another so genuinely.  I truly hope that I can return these kindnesses when such an opportunity presents itself.

5. Even though I am super big and pretty uncomfortable at 38.4 days pregnant, I am so grateful to have been able to carry you.  Yes, getting up and down from sitting or laying is a lot harder now, but I wouldn’t want to miss these aches and pains for anything.  There were so many times early in this journey when I didn’t feel pregnant at all.  I was so worried because I wanted that reassurance that things were okay.  Today you’ve been kicking me like crazy.  I love being able to see you move and my belly undulate on its own.  It is so cool and I am often amazed by what my body is accomplishing.  It reminds me that I am strong.  It makes me understand and empathize with what other moms have experienced.  It also makes me realize what a privilege it is to have this opportunity.  It was something that I had thought would not happen, something that had passed me by, something that I wasn’t healthy enough for…and yet here were are so close now.

6. I have taken it very easy on myself, and that will be coming to a quick end.  While the modified bed rest and all of the different medical issues had me on a real lull, I can not continue this way.  I must, for the both of us, get back into shape and pick up my activity level big time.  I have been indulgent with food and I dare consider the hours of TV I’ve watched.  I will be 43 soon, and I am not ready to assume my best fitness and health is behind me.  I am sure my best energy levels are, but I will still have to fight hard to get my weight down, improve my muscle health, and give my body the high quality nutrition it needs to be healthy.  This is never easy, especially in light of how easy I have been taking it, but I still have a lot of life to live and now that I have you I need to live it as fully as possible for as long as possible.  Maybe you will be such powerful motivation fot these goals that achieving them is much more possible than before.  I grew up where poor health issues completely impacted the whole family and I really don’t want that to be something you experience.  I know I can be strong and fit, so I must be more than talk.  By the way, your dad just called as I was nearing the end of this thought.  As part of his work, he gets an annual screening for blood pressure, cholesterol, and BMI.  His numbers were not good, so diet and exercise is a must!  It isn’t just about me, it is about the both of us being our best for you.  Your dad is certainly motivated too.

7. Planning and preparation means getting our financial world squared away.  This has not been easy as my income is both reduced and constantly fluctuating.  Your dad has a much better handle of things with regards to this, but getting ready for you was straight up expensive.  We were very lucky to get a lot of help with baby shower gifts for quite a lot of the necessities, but we still purchased a lot on our own too.  Add to that starting a college fund – which financial advisors say we will need $100K per year for – whoa!  We will be trying to pay for your college at the same time that we hope to retire.  We have a good start on that and thank the Lord for your dad’s pension plan.  I guess the money piece of such a life changing event is to be expected, but I had hoped that I would have been able to work a lot longer.  I have been stressing about money almost as much as I would stress about my health throughout this past year.  We are working on this aspect just as much as we can.  It is hard and I am sure it will continue to be.  I know that the main thing for us now is sacrifice.  We have to give up some of the luxuries that we used to take for granted.  So good bye wine clubs, frequent fancy meals out (which doesn’t mesh with #6 anyway), and our not living on a set budget.  That budget piece has to happen.  It will give us a good framework moving forward and hopefully help us achieve our savings goals.

8. I am so confident in your dad being awesome!  I know that I have written about how great your dad is before but the closer we get the more I know that he will be a A++ father.  He has already proven to be a great husband to me throughout this journey.  He is a hard working and thoughtful man who checks in with me to make sure that you and me are doing okay.  He has gone out of his way to get our home ready for you and he is so genuinely excited to become your father.  He has made your nursery simply the best!  He is doing everything that he can to get us all ready for you to join the family.  I am so excited to see him interact with you.  He has wanted to be a dad and now, finally, he will be!

9. World events plague me more than ever as I worry about what they mean for your life.  As I write this, we just learned that we bombed Syria following that country’s leader using nerve gas on his people.  Images of young kids struggling to breath flooded the news this week.  Then we have the complication of Russia backing that leader, so our action against him is an indirect act against that country too.  So, that is all very scary.  Moreover, North Korea is rather terrifying too and while we are riddled with problems within our borders, we are now involved with problems beyond too.  I still wonder how our American Democracy will weather these trials as they are intense and we have never been a nation more divided, distracted, and disillusioned.  It is very worrisome to think this is the world we are bringing you into.  As I have said before, I pray for your enlightenment so that you can be strong through trying times.  I hope that you become a wellspring of light and positive impact that can counter what feels like an increasing shadow of woe.  Maybe I am playing up the Star Wars metaphor too much…probably, right?  There was a clip on the news yesterday of the POTUS standing next to a video screen with Darth Vader on it.  Just saying.  It feels that way.  There is a lot of uncertainty and fear mongering.  In the meantime we have hundreds of hardships pressing on people everywhere, so it is just heart wrenching to witness the mess of it all while our leader continues to live so extremely lavishly and detached.  I fear our government has been overtaken by extremely wealthy aristocrats who have mesmerized poorly educated poor white people to believe that they have the answers, when all that those in control really have is a tight grip on issues that matter to their fortunes.  It is a chain reaction that just makes no sense.  The fear, hate, misplaced hope, absolute insanity of people….it feeds on that and the cancer thrives.  Now, embattled at home, we are trying to exert a show of strength abroad?  If this country was a sick patient, would the doctor sign off on running a marathon?  When one spreads himself too thin, things can not be handled with the precision, attention to detail, and thoughtfulness that would produce the best outcomes.  This is the problem of being overly-aggressive and overzealous.  I pray for our world, not just our country, because we are a global community now.  Everything is connected and the power players are so deeply rooted across the globe that no action is independent.  So, with all of the turmoil, I sincerely hope that wise, patient, and effective leaders rise to positions of influence so that humankind moves toward healing, mutually beneficial outcomes, and peace.  That sounds nice, right?

10. Finally, I must admit that I feel utterly clueless.  I mean this very honestly.  When I first started dating your dad, I was at least informed by the mistakes I had made in past relationships to provide me some direction if even in the form of what not to do because it backfired before.  I know we did the classes, I have had the experience of helping with your cousins, and I get that humans have been birthing and raising kids for thousands of years.  Despite that, I have started to feel that I just don’t know anything about being a mom.  I have always struggled with the concept of growing up.  I guess I just don’t feel ready.  Here I am about to turn 43 and I still feel clueless.  Now I realize that I am very responsible for your well being and ability to have the best chance of living a good life and I worry about my ability to deliver that for you.  I know this is all that pre-baby jitters.  So many people who know me affirm that I will be a good mom…great mom, but their belief is theirs, and my insecurity is what I have to confront.  I will try to relax my perfectionistic tendencies so that I can embrace the Winnitcott “Good Enough” atmosphere for healthy child rearing that is something rather radical these days.  I need to trust that I have had enough experience with a spectrum of roles: sister, aunt, babysitter, teacher, coach, etc. that I will be okay.  As least I am wise enough to know what I don’t know, right?  Something like that!

Well, I will be getting on with my day.  We are looking forward to the ultrasound and getting a rough idea of your growth.  Hopefully you are right in the middle of the range for where you should be.  I hope that we have good test results and are all set to proceed with the induction Monday.  So keep kicking me kiddo and enjoy your last weekend in there.  It is so close now!

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