Into week 23

The weeks are clicking past quickly, a lady on the forum last week was excited because she’d reached 24 weeks so her baby was viable. That is a bit of a scary, bold statement, only around 14% of babies born in the UK at 24 weeks survive, our hospital where we booked in for his delivery won’t take babies born before 33 weeks. If anything happened and Peanut put in an early arrival, we’d be at the Royal Woman’s with him being taken next door to the Royal Children’s.

Which brings me to a quandary. There is no doubt that both of us have a deep connection to Peanut already, Hubs lies in bed before he goes to sleep every night with his hand on my belly, and when we spoon every morning, again one hand is on my tummy, while the other is cradling me. I love feeling Peanut move around, love watching my tummy wiggle and dance as he gets bigger and more active. But…

At 23 weeks, the chances of him surviving are almost non-existent. At 24 – 28 they improve, slightly, 29-33 they’re a bit higher and anything after 34/35 weeks you’re almost certain they’ll be fine. But still-born babies are born every day, a harsh reminder that this journey is fragile. Life is fragile. So what to do, should he arrive early? I honestly don’t know. Friends of mine have lost babies late into pregnancies. And anyone who has read Heather and Mike Sphor’s heartbreaking journey as they documented the not only early birth of Madeline Alice, but her then surprising, shocking and early death cannot help but think, “There but for the grace of God go I.” How Heather found the strength to write every day, knowing that how they were doing was also keeping other families going, is beyond me. They’ve since been blessed with another daughter Annabel Violet, but are consciously raising her so Annie knows she has a big sister, not such an unusual decision, but that choice has brought out some horrendous trolls.

I know I’m already fiercely protective of Peanut, which is why I felt so sick on the way down to Anglesea on Friday when we were nearly driven off the road. Hubs is also fiercely protective of both of us. But I honestly, truly don’t know if  we could put someone so tiny, so fragile, so delicate through the intubation, IV, incubation and general mental and physical bombardment of an NICU. But to be seen not to fight for your child is also a hard decision and one not to be taken lightly.

I taught children who were preemies at swimming, despite their birthdays, they were always a little bit behind in lots of things, in school, in reading, in swimming. Simply because they were born early, therefore their birthday is their birthday, the only date recognised. Adjust their birthday to their due date and they’re near enough bang on schedule. I said near enough, simply because of my experience and 10+ years of teaching children to swim, the trauma of everything they had to go through left lasting damage, either physically with co-ordination or muscle control, or mentally with taking in and following instructions. MY experience remember, not definitive medical research!

So here I sit, feeling him wiggle around like mad, hoping he stays inside for as long as possible. Until he’s near enough or fully cooked. When he’s arrived, that’s a whole other blog post(s) of worry and concern. Right now, I’m just concentrating on making sure he’s safe, happy and above all baking away in my oven like any good bun should.

I can’t wait to meet him, I just want him here safe and sound. Life is fragile, way too fragile as it is.

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