November is Prematurity Awareness Month. It’s also the month Toby, Eleanor and Callista were born and the month I actively fought from Nov. 3, 2010, till Nov. 22, 2010, to keep them safe from battling the dangers of premature birth.
We all know my story has a happy ending, but none of us knew that then. The dangers were very real. The fear still haunts me. The experience has changed me forever. Part of who I was before then was completely erased and replaced with who I am now.
I sympathize with the pains of pregnancy. I was measuring at 34 weeks pregnant when I was only 22 weeks into my triplets’ pregnancy. That was the last fundal height I had done, so I have no clue how much I grew by 28 weeks when I actually gave birth.
The pains of pregnancy are very real and very difficult. Being pregnant while doing all sorts of Normal Life things is painful, exhausting and frustrating. Your mind remembers what your body is otherwise capable of, but your body screams NO.
I’ll sympathize with the pain, the frustration, the feelings of being whittled down to being more than a vessel than a person, but I absolutely cannot support people wishing a pregnancy would end before 38 (maybe), 39 (I’m closer to sympathetic), or, on my worst days, a full 40 weeks.
It’s far more difficult to watch your premature infant live in a box, undergo a battery of tests multiple times a day and have tubes and wires going every which way. It’s more difficult to wait to hear the results of brain ultrasounds, echocardiograms, blood-cell counts. It’s more difficult to see your baby and know that his or her wellbeing is no longer your task, that it’s now in the hands of total strangers you must instantly trust. It’s more difficult to have whatever faith in God you’ve believed thus far be put to the ultimate test.
If you’re thinking, “Gosh, I wish my baby were here already!” when you’ve still got weeks or months left in your pregnancy, by all means, think it. You’re entitled to impatience. Say it if you want.
Just don’t say it to me. Chances are I won’t bite your head off, but my eyes will glaze over, my mouth will tighten, and I’ll have to turn away.
One in eight babies in the USA are born premature. Don’t ask to join our club.