An IUGR pregnancy is not straight forward. An IUGR pregnancy seems a little more fragile. More tense. Less carefree, if you like.
From the moment you’re told your baby is not growing well, you feel a little like a ticking time bomb. Each hospital appointment brings stress and fear into your bones. You pack your bag and take it with you each time, in case this is the week that they tell you your pregnancy must end. Baby must be delivered now. Baby is, finally, better out than in.
You walk out of the hospital each week with a huge sense of relief coursing through your veins. Your bag weighs heavy in your hand once more, and you think about replacing those prem vests with tiny baby vests instead, seeing as your baby is going to make it inside for another week. And then you realise that one more week might not be long enough for baby to graduate onto tiny baby vests after all.
And with that, the relief starts to fade and you enter another week of watiting and hoping.
And in between the scans and check ups, there is the CTG monitoring. Watching the numbers leap and fall, leap and fall. Hearing your baby’s heartbeat rattle on. Willing your baby to move, just a little.
And those little vests stay packed in your bag because you know that one of these days, they’re going to keep you in. And take your baby out.
Failure to thrive.
Low birth weight.
And then baby is here.
Handed to you carefully, and you take her into your arms and cry a little, smile a little. And then what?
All those questions nobody ever answered are still buzzing around in your head. All of the stress and worry and fear doesn’t just disappear. With baby inside, the doctors were keeping an eye on you. With baby now here, the doctors are done. Baby is yours. Responsibility is yours. Yours.
And so after an IUGR pregnancy… what is normal?
I think I realised that something was not be quite right when I couldn’t look at my babies without tears spilling down my cheeks. Falling like fat raindrops onto my lap. Without a ball of fear rolling in the bottom of my stomach like a pendulum in a pit. Without a dark, cold and gnawing itch spreading over my body, through my brain and into my soul. Falling apart but keeping it together just a little while longer.
I think I knew something wasn’t quite right. I think I’ve always known. And what to do about t?
Admit how I feel and then be forced into talking about it? Because, then, where would I stop? How would I keep the whole sorry mess from spewing forth once more, into my life and into theirs? But to stay quiet, to trudge on in this way… There has to be an ending sooner or later.
And so, something is not quite right. And I don’t know how to fix it. Nor how it got this way. Nor what is wrong with me. Why I can’t look at my babies and feel such utter joy and love and be thankful that they are all here and well and happy. Why I can’t enjoy my time with them. Why the days are all a blur right now and the mornings begin with dread and fear.
My IUGR baby is five months old, and doing so well and yet I still sometimes feel as though the rug is about to be pulled from under my feet.
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