Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Medium rare

36 weeks gestation today! And I am thrilled about that, but also full of conflicting feelings. I'm ecstatic that it's looking like we'll have a full-term baby (or pretty close to one anyway), but still uneasy about the fact that we know we'll need a few more miracles in the coming months.

I also can't help but wonder now if all the anguish and stress we have experienced about pre-term labor was for nothing. Going through all this at a time when there is a national debate about the rising cost of health care has definitely been eye-opening. My doctors have ordered tens of thousands of dollars worth of tests to assess my risk of premature birth...a condition for which there is essentially no effective treatment. Did reducing my activity over the past couple of months get us to this point? Maybe. Would I have been better off being oblivious and active? Who knows? It's probably best not to dwell on it at this point.

Because of all the uncertainty we have faced up to this point, I think Iggy and I are both only now coming to the realization that we are actually going to have a baby, and soon! It seems absurd to realize this now that I am 8+ months pregnant and walking around in a hugely distended body, but a couple of months ago, we were told that if our baby was born at 34 weeks, he had only a 20% chance of surviving his initial surgery, and that we'd be lucky to even make it that far. Now that he's bigger, he has a good chance of doing well with his first surgery, although I know the coming months will still bring some sad and scary moments.

A few people have been asking me about baby showers and registries...before we got our HLHS diagnosis, a friend had offered to throw me a shower, but then after we found out, it didn't feel right to celebrate so prematurely. We have registered at a couple of places, but I haven't given the information out, and we haven't really bought anything for the baby ourselves, either. When he's born, he'll be in the hospital for at least 3 weeks, which I figure is plenty of time to buy whatever we'll need to get started. And then in lieu of a baby shower, we're thinking about throwing a welcome home party. We'll definitely be ready to celebrate when we get to that point.


  1. i'm so happy you made it to 36 weeks!
    i felt the same way about having a shower, but my friends/fam did one anyway (the week before i was induced). turned out, i was glad they did. it was the first time where i let go of my fears & celebrated that i was having a baby. i didn't know what the outcome would be with my baby, but it felt good to celebrate. it was exciting to take the tags off of the clothes & wash them...making them smell like a fresh new baby. it actually helped me to shift my attitude to one where i just couldn't wait to meet my baby - rather than constantly wonder how i could handle the death of a baby. but don't get me wrong, i never painted a nursery & built the crib...i never got to that point. but washing some clothes and blankets was just enough to lift my spirits!
    a welcome home celebration will be nice! but i'll warn you the doctors will tell you to keep your little guy away from crowds of any least until he's had his glenn. but you'll figure out a way to celebrate, we all do!
    sorry for the never ending comment, before you know it you'll have a toddler too & lots of advice for a new mom in our situation!
    again congrats on making 36 weeks!!!

  2. Thanks, Allison! Yet again, it has been great to find so much support from people who have been in our shoes. Even though we're not doing a shower, I guess now that we're close to term I am also starting to feel celebratory and excited to meet our little guy rather than just dreading all the medical stuff!

    I have been thinking about the issue of how to celebrate our homecoming without endangering the guest of honor, and my big plan is to have a party at our house, but to sequester the baby in his room, and if people want to see him, they can mask up and meet him one on one. I don't think that should put him too much at risk, but we'll figure all that out later!

  3. Happy to hear you're still pregnant!
    Every day I don't see you I get a little worried.
    Hang in there, hopefully I can come and see a happy baby with happy parents before I flee the country.


  4. Hooray for 36 weeks! It's hard to believe that your little dude is almost ready to be here! I'm very happy for all of you! I hope you will post some pictures so that we all get to "meet" him when the time comes.
    We cancelled our shower as soon as we got the HLHS diagnosis, mostly because nobody around here was giving us much hope for bringing home a baby. We did a Welcome Home party instead and it was great. We made it very clear that sick people should stay home, had hand sanitizer on every table & it worked out well. Being able to control the environment made a big difference. We weren't given many restrictions when we brought Gabe home. We were told to limit his exposure to other people and places, but not become hermits in the process. We are being very vigilant, especially with this being cold/flu/RSV season.
    One item we have found to be invaluable are the Carter brand onesies & jammies that snap up the front [instead of pullover or zip]. Makes it much easier to dress the baby and work around tubes and wires and stuff :o)

  5. Congratulations, Jen, I am so happy to see that you've reached this milestone.

  6. Yay, Jen!!! What a great milestone! Just a few weeks left with a nice holiday in the middle to distract you a bit.

    >>(I'm not a germ-a-phobe at all, but...) Please wait until he's at least 6 or 8 weeks for a welcome home celebration. Even for completely healthy babies, high fevers can easily mean a hospital stay for newborns, and it just isn't worth the risk! I had to go with Millie and stay at the hospital when she was 6 weeks old and there were much sicker babies there with stuff like RSV (which screws up your immune system for life) and other respiratory things - just so scary when their immune systems aren't developed. And I'm sure you know that swine flu is quite contagious the day before symptoms appear, with a 10-foot "exposure" radius...OK, enough unsolicited advice!

    I hope you are able to enjoy these last few weeks of kicks from the inside and little hiccups - you'll be meeting your little baby soon!

  7. In our case, unfortunately, it's not going to be a matter of waiting a few weeks...our little guy is going to be quite delicate until after his second surgery. But we definitely intend to take every precaution with him!