Today I am 37 weeks and 4 days pregnant with baby number 4. I am now hours away from meeting our little poppyseed, and if I’m honest I’m still struggling to accept how it is all happening. Without meaning to sound like a stuck record, so forgive me, but I am feeling so desperately sad that I won’t get my VBAC after all. And I am anxious that the surgeons will have reason not to lower the screen when baby is born, that they won’t let me hold my baby straight after birth. This is a real possibility, and something that has happened to me three times already. This is my last chance to get that moment, skin to skin, and I don’t want to lose it. I am scared.
I am scared that all will not be well when baby arrives.
I am scared that ‘unexplained IUGR’ will suddenly have an explanation that requires action, attention, things to happen.
I am scared that I will struggle to accept this baby after such a stressful pregnancy; this has happened before and I am desperately worried that it could happen again.
I am scared that nobody will understand. That nobody does understand. I’ve missed the interaction with midwives during this pregnancy. Being able to talk to someone about how I am feeling, rather than how big baby is, when baby last moved, and how much longer this pregnancy will progress.
I am scared that nobody understands how devastated I am to have had the reality of this last pregnancy ripped away from the dreams I had for it all those weeks ago.
I am scared that nobody understands how terribly lucky I feel to be pregnant, to have such a good prognosis for this baby, and to be just hours away from becoming a mother of four. And yet despite knowing all of this, I feel cheated. It’s not how I wanted it to be.
I am scared that when this baby arrives, there is no IUGR. There is just a small baby. No reason to panic. No reason to be concerned. The stress of the last few weeks will have been unnecessary, and nobody was able to tell me that.
I am scared. But deep down I know that we have had the best clinical care possible. The doctors, midwives and surgeons are ready and prepared for what might be when baby is born. I’ve had steroid injections to mature the lungs, and today I will have more. The corticosteroids are to ensure fetal lung maturation due to the early delivery of baby; while 37 weeks is not quite classed as term (new guidelines now state that 39 weeks gestation is full term) is not either deemed as premature. It has been explained to me that baby will be ‘late premature’ and that the steroids are just a precaution, given the concern over baby’s growth and development. These injections are administered 24 hours apart prior to delivery, in the top of the leg. And they hurt!! But they are necessary, and could mean the difference between special care and not.
Since the first set of steroid injections yesterday the poppyseed has been quiet, although not quiet enough to warrant concern. I’ve monitored movements closely and am happy that all is ok in there for now. I am back at the hospital again today for more injections and will go back onto the monitor to ensure all is well. I’ve also been unable to sleep well since the first set of jabs and have read similar cases of women who’ve experienced insomnia following corticosteroids, so I am wondering if there’s a link. Another question for the midwives today I think!
This week, the poppyseed is the size of a bunch of swiss chard. Weighing in at around 6 and a half pounds (for the average baby), all that is left now is to gain weight. Movements are likely to be felt more as rolls and squirms now, since there is less room for kicks. But any reduction in movement needs to be checked out, as baby will not ‘slow down’ at this stage. Baby is inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid in preparation for life on the outside, and also practising sucking, blinking and turning from side to side. Clever little poppyseed.
And so all that is left now is to get through the last set of steroid injections, the pre-op and to build the crib. And then this journey takes us on a new adventure altogether.