Marmite is looking like making it to a major milestone, that of ‘viability’. It’s odd to be thinking like that. I never gave 24 weeks any thought with the girls and then with Freddie all I could think about was that if we got to 24 weeks and he died, at least he’d be a stillbirth and not a mid trimester miscarriage. I have no idea what triggered that little thought process at all but I know it was there and I think that it must have stemmed from some sense that all was not well. While I’ll be relieved to get to that point next week, it doesn’t seem to have the same sense of importance. For one thing 24 weeks means no more in terms of take home baby than 40 did I suppose, for another, Freddie shared a room with very preemie babies and I’m under no illusions about what trials and realities it involves to be born so early.
Honestly though, I just don’t feel the same. While I could be proved to be wrong yet, while we could be tripped up by a car accident or a knot in a cord or one of countless other terrible things, I just don’t have a sense of anything being not okay. I haven’t stood in a room and thought “he’s not going to watch rugby with you” or “maybe he’ll die” or “please don’t talk like he is coming home” or? had dreams about babies who won’t open their eyes. Either I’m in denial, or my brain won’t let me hear – or everything is fine right now. I’m thinking bout 24 weeks as being more to do with Marmite being a baby who can have decisions made about him for his survival, about him becoming medically separate from me in terms of a being who could be saved. Not about him being a stillbirth with a death certificate. That’s an important distinction for me. Everything about this pregnancy, despite the inevitable fraughtness of it, is making it clearer that I DID NOT feel okay about Freddie. I enjoyed being pregnant with him passionately – maybe because I knew deep down it was all I would get.
This last two weeks has been about gradually more kicks and wriggles and a baby who will boot my arm if it rests on my tummy too long. It’s been about beginning to trust to ‘asleep’ and not ‘dead’. It’s been about more heartburn and either being just a bit more filled with energy or completely knocked sideways. It’s been about a tummy I occasionally see move if my t-shirt is tight or I’m in the bath.
If I’m honest, it’s also been about worrying about birth; I desperately want a baby who lives and I desperately want no unexpected traumas but the more the possibility looms, the more petrified a c-section leaves me. I don’t want that. I have no idea how to achieve not having that with my sanity intact. So the big question, the one I need to talk about and resolve, I’m leaving to the gods.? I can’t quite manage not to think about it, but I am trying. I’m not going to resolve anything inside the next ten weeks, for one thing. For another, 5 births have left me quite sure that one thing you can’t do is control it or plan for every eventuality. Somehow I’m either going to have to resolve my fears about one version or another. It’s ironic that the version that ought to be the safe one now feels dangerous to me and the one that I might, some might say, have proved to be the riskiest, still feels the most safe and desirable.
He still appears to be a boy (I still don’t believe it) and he still appears to be in fine fettle. Once I get to 28 weeks, we’ll go back to fortnightly scans but I’ve said I want to stretch the time a little now till the next one. I feel the need to get just a small amount of normality back into this, reclaim just a fraction of normal pregnancy. This is the last time (no really, it is, I have a completely overwhelming sense of DONE!) and it seems a shame to spend all of it lurching from one check up to the next. My hospital are completely fabulously supportive – and what a difference supportive maternity care makes, I will have a very different memory of it thanks to these last two pregnancies – and their door is open any time I need reassuring. Right now I feel like I need to rely on myself a bit and listen inwards.
I’ve started knitting his blanket.