I guess you could say things started picking up.
A dim, hazy light started shining at the end of the tunnel.
As contractions increased in intensity and frequency, nausea and indigestion settled in for a final attack. Lying somewhat tilted upside down has a way of cramming your digestive track into your chest and screwing up the normal processes.
To give the baby the best chance of survival, if he or she were born prematurely, I knew I—we—had to make it another week. That would put us squarely into the thirty-two week mark. The minimum time Dr. Landry hoped to achieve when we’d first started this journey three months before.
Yet thirty-two weeks loomed like a hazy guidepost marker on the horizon. As it neared, though, I felt a powerful, calming assurance that God would see us through the amount of time absolutely necessary to have a healthy baby, without needlessly prolonging the suffering; to allow me to experience what I could withstand physically and emotionally. And no more.
Once before I had passed through the roaring waters with Him. Now, every day, my resolve and faith were being ramped up into a conviction that I could walk through them again without being drowned. Should I be made to tread through fire, I wouldn’t be burned or consumed by the flame and reduced to an ash heap of carbon. I sensed that the end was quickly approaching, our reward soon realized.
Knowing God was with us did not, however, preclude us from making necessary preparations for anything, including the possibility of the stitches suddenly rupturing while I was home alone. That catastrophe would certainly require an emergency transport to our small hospital—without an available neonatal intensive care unit. That thought alone was enough to ignite panic in me about being able to get in touch with someone—anyone—in enough time to deliver the baby at the Escondido hospital where I could be assured of adequate neonatal support. A friend from church gave me her beeper number for contact at any time during the day and promised she’d drop everything and make herself available to me. We now marched forward. Well, figuratively we marched. One day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time.
Tick, tick, tick…
Church members continued to provide physical nourishment for Chris and Parker as well as spiritual nourishment for me through their prayers. To avoid unnecessary stimulation, I no longer entertained visitors or took phone calls. Parker returned to daylong preschool stints after being allowed a brief respite from them. At five in the evening, a friend deposited him at home. He even started showing enthusiasm for the baby’s arrival, strongly reiterating his wishes for the baby to “come now!” Oh, I know just how you feel! I chuckled to myself.
Along with his enthusiasm, however, came the fatigue and stress of spending entire days at school and becoming accustomed to another, “new” schedule. He frequently arrived home exhausted, hungry, visibly frustrated and emotionally volatile. Angry. He often collapsed into a heap of tears on my bedroom floor.
One night he carefully crawled into bed with me after dinner, gingerly inched across the mattress, encased me in his little arms and said in a beseeching tone, “I want our family back the way it was,” (Meaning: dinner together followed by playtime and singing), “then you can go and lie down in bed.” In almost the same breath he spoke of, “the next time you are pregnant…”
After constraining my amusement by taking a deep breath and biting my lip, I informed him that this would be the last time. With a downcast expression, he pronounced with simple, blunt and determined four-year-old conviction, “No it’s not! We have to have three more!”
I blinked and stared at him wordlessly. How could I possibly respond to that? Only if we adopt, my precious Son, I thought.
We silently languished in the comfort of one another’s arms. I reveled in his tender, loving touches. He sighed and allowed his little body to relax in the secure grasp of my remaining strength.
NEXT WEEK: The thirty-two week marker, the steroid injections ramp me up, and my final panic attack. Surviving the final, difficult days…
Until next week,
Thanks for joining me!