Stayin’ Alive

John Jericiau

By: John Jericiau

I have no idea how I’m going to make it through 40 weeks of pregnancy. The injections, the oral medications, and the vaginal suppositories all continue, although their days are numbered. Everything is numbered and measured. How far along? Eight weeks! How big is the baby? Blueberry size! How much nausea? Plenty! It’s a lot of waiting and worrying. Get to 12 weeks, when the chance of miscarriage is less. Get to 19 weeks, so we can find out the gender. Make it to 36 weeks, when the lungs will be developed.

Mice have it so easy. Twenty-two days from conception to birth! Wouldn’t that be nice?! On the other hand, I should be grateful that we’re not elephants – twenty-two MONTHS’ gestation. I’d be collecting social security by the time this baby was born.

It’s not that I don’t have plenty to do in the next 32 weeks. Everything I have put in storage needs to be pulled out and evaluated for usefulness and cleanliness. I guess we can give away all the double things – double stroller, double jogger, two sets of infant car seats and cribs. We have lots and lots of boy clothes that both of our four-year-olds wore only once or twice before they blasted out of that particular size on their way to their current size of 6 or 7. And the toys that were used briefly (sometime only on the day of receiving them) before being banished to a corner under the bed or in a storage chest – many are missing pieces or legs or heads, but out of respect for the gift-givers were not immediately discarded. Someone spent some good money on these toys, and I feel bad getting rid of them.

We’re also in the planning stages of a complete landscape makeover along with the addition of a room or two to our home. Truth be told, we’ve been stuck in this planning stage for the last 5 years, but we have renewed motivation to get this going. We have a good-sized yard, and the boys are at an age where they go outside and make up their own imaginative games. This will come in handy when there’s a newborn crying for a bottle or sleep or company.

As in life, this pregnancy will be filled with highs and lows to experience and survive. Here’s one: last week, nearing the end of week 6, we all returned home from a rather chaotic but fun-filled birthday party celebration at a nearby park. My friend/surrogate also attended, but she is beginning to tire easily. Once we were home, she made an announcement that she would need to lie down and rest awhile, but after a bathroom pit stop she opened the door and quietly called out to Alen. Even though I was on the far side of the living room and could barely see what was going on, I could tell immediately that something was seriously wrong – I’ve never heard worry in her voice like this. She was bleeding, and it was not an insignificant amount. I tried to stay calm as we called the doctor while my friend stretched out on the bed with some cramps and fatigue. She fell asleep for a couple of hours, and per our doctor the bed rest was extended for the remainder of the weekend until they could get us in for a Monday morning ultrasound to check on the baby. She had noticed some “clots” in her blood, which leads you to believe that something awful was happening, but by the time the ultrasound appointment arrived the bleeding had trailed off. I perused the internet all weekend, reading the tribulations of women who experienced bleeding at week 7 but continued on to give birth to a healthy baby, so I remained cautiously optimistic. The doctor seemed concerned, and quickly slapped the probe on my friend’s abdomen, as if to more quickly end the nightmare we were living. There was our little blueberry, heartbeat and all. I’m already proud of what she (or he) has endured, and I expressed my pride to our Baby #3 as I lowered my head to uterus level to say “We can do this!”

And I think we can!

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