When a baby is born, and your family starts adjusting to the new addition, it’s easy sometimes to forget what you had to do to get to that point. I guess I should say that new stresses replace old stresses in a way. You start worrying about diaper rashes, dietary considerations and sleep(less) nights. You stop worrying about viability and progesterone and braxton hicks.
Yesterday, as I was thinking about the fact that it was a year since I found out I was pregnant with Vincent, I thought back to those first 15 weeks and I remembered the worry
, the fear
, the uncertainty
For each of my last three pregnancies, I have had trouble having enough progesterone through the first trimester. It started with Helen and I was able to supplement orally with progesterone tablets nightly through 13 weeks. Then, with Dominic, I had to supplement again, just a little bit differently. With Vincent, I had to move all the way to getting injections twice a week of progesterone directly into my bloodstream. Stress.
The first few weeks of pregnancy are just periods of worry between blood draws, hoping I have enough progesterone to get to the next one without losing the baby. With Vincent, every time my phone caller ID came up “Dr. H…….” I knew I was about to find out something about my progesterone. With every call in those early weeks, it was always the nurse saying, “Well, your number is still dropping, so we need to do X, Y or Z” More Stress.
I went to see our priest to get the Annointing of the Sick as we began the progesterone injections. I remember the feeling of peace after the Sacrament had been administered and I knew it was in God’s hands at that point. All I could do was take care of myself and pray for my little baby.
Then came an impromptu visit to the doctor due to some cramping. And in that moment, I forgot that everything was in God’s hands. I was about 12 weeks along. Dr. could not find the heartbeat. I had heard my other babies’ heartbeats by 9 weeks. The tears started to fall. I couldn’t help them. So, he asked if he could do a pelvic, and I agreed. He had a med student following him that week and he came in and between the two of them, they jostled me around until we heard that little heart beating away. Relief. Though temporary.
It’s so funny, but once I was past the injections because my progesterone numbers jumped sufficiently around 15 weeks, I all but forgot those early weeks of worry and stress. I spent the rest of my pregnancy relaxing and simply waiting. I busied myself with all of my other children and their activities, my job, my activities.
It’s amazing to me now that I hold Vincent in the evenings and he’s this perfect little baby boy. He coos. He grins. He laughs. He eats. He sleeps.
A year ago, he was tiny, helpless, vulnerable, and to the world… invisible.
Today, he is still tiny and helpless and vulnerable…but to the world, he is no longer invisible.
A year ago, my stresses centered on my own health and my body’s ability to carry a baby through the first trimester.
Today, my stress centers on giving Vincent enough to eat, making sure he gets enough sleep, working on developmental milestones. Acclimating him to our family life. Acclimating our family life to him.
I have to force myself somewhat to remember those early weeks because they are now a very distant memory.
And four months from now, when Vincent’s earthly age has doubled, today will feel like a very distant memory, too.