Monday, December 5, 2011

6 Months Pregnant and Wiser

We are 26 weeks and 4 days pregnant, which is 15 days further along than we were when Jonathan was born (yes, this is how I measure my pregnancy - by how much further we are this time!).
24 weeks pregnant with current baby boy.

23 weeks pregnant with Jonathan.

I am going through some new things that I didn't get to with Jonathan, such as maternity pants becoming too tight; stretch marks; forceful kicks to the bladder; becoming easily winded; drinking disgusting liquid for a glucose test (that's tomorrow so technically I haven't experienced it yet but I hear it's unpleasant); and weighing more than I ever thought I would.

Because of all this, it's common for women in my stage of pregnancy to start to phase out of second trimester bliss and into third trimester misery.  I am susceptible to that, but I just read a letter written to a preemie named Charlotte by her mom, and it hit me hard (you can read it here).  How can I possibly complain about this?  Have I already forgotten the sleepless nights, the constant burden of having a baby who was born too small and too soon?  Is it possible I don't remember the weight of knowing I couldn't just take my baby and go home, yet somehow I was expected to take care of myself?  I have been so caught up in life as I now know it, that the horrors of the NICU seem like a distant memory; carrying my newborn around as he is connected to a continuous flow of oxygen and strapped to make sure he is breathing and his heart is beating is a faint memory.  I hardly remember the hours of physical therapy we have been through - some of it so strenuous that Jonathan would cry for 20-30 minutes straight while the therapist tried to teach him the most basic developmental skills that came unnaturally to him because he spent so much time laying flat in the hospital.

How dare I take one second of this pregnancy for granted; how could I possibly complain about any of this?  God was (and is) so good - He brought our baby Jonathan through what seemed like certain death and he is the light of our lives.  And now God is giving us another great gift by allowing our second son to stay safe inside of Mommy where he should be.  And if that makes me uncomfortable then so be it!

It's sad that after all we've been through I can so easily forget that pregnancy is nothing compared to the nightmare that is prematurity, and I am not exaggerating.  But this is my wake-up call and I will not complain.  I lost the privilege to be one of those complaining pregnant ladies who says, "I can't wait to get this baby out,"; prematurity stole it from me just as it stole the joy that comes with having your first baby; I was robbed of being wheeled out of the hospital with my newborn and everyone telling me "Congratulations!"  Instead, I couldn't bear to open my eyes to see the birth of my son - I felt ashamed and saddened that he was born; people gave me weird looks as I was wheeled out of the hospital with flowers and "It's a boy!" balloons, but no baby.  No matter how thankful I am for our son Jonathan, I would never want to endure that situation again.

Now it looks like I will get that chance to have a "normal" pregnancy.  We have 3 more months to go, and I thank God for every day I get to experience.  And I recognize I wouldn't realize the brightness of this gift if it weren't for the darkness I experienced by it being taken from me.

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