Holding pattern

It’s been a week today since I was released from the hospital, and I am delighted to say that the baby is still baking. At this point, every week — nay, every day — improves the chances of having a healthy baby tremendously.

For at least another day and a half, I’m on bedrest with bathroom privileges (lucky me!), but if I seem to be doing well at Wednesday’s OB appointment, there’s a possibility I may be able to pick up some more slack in the caregiving and housework departments. Currently, when Maddi needs food or a diaper change, I have to summon Chris to hoist her into the high chair or onto the change table. It’s nearly impossible to be a mom and obey the conditions of my bedrest, but I’ll do whatever I have to to keep the baby incubating. I just hope I don’t have to do it much longer!

He’s still breech, so we may be looking at a C-section. I’m not sure how safe a vaginal birth and the attendant contractions would be with a recent abruption anyway, especially since we don’t know the extent of the separation, so that’s something we may be discussing at Wednesday’s appointments. I had hoped to have an unmedicated hypnobirthing delivery this time around, and certainly never expected to have a C-section, but the baby’s safety is much more important than my birth plan.

Whatever way the baby will be coming out, I’ve resigned myself to the knowledge that we’re probably not going to go 41 weeks (putting his birthday well past Christmas) as I had hoped. Among many other things placental abruptions affect, they often precipitate preterm birth, which is defined as the baby arriving before 37 weeks. They’re also associated with low birthweight, which could be because the baby’s getting insufficient nutrients or (and this is what I’m thinking) the baby is just past the 37-week threshold and is therefore still smaller than your average 39-odd-week newborn.

One thing I am really concerned about is that this may be our last baby. Placental abruptions happen in about 1 in 200 pregnancies, but the odds rise to 1 in 10 for mothers with a previous abruption. Add that to the fact that C-sections themselves increase the odds of a subsequent abruption, and I’m looking at a pretty fair chance of this happening again. Although the outcome thus far has been OK, it’s been quite an emotional roller coaster for all of us. Even absent the knowledge that the risk will be even higher next pregnancy, I had been wondering if I had the fortitude to go through another pregnancy and spend nine months worrying whether my body would fail my baby.

There are some days when I am tempted to go to the hospital and pre-emptively have my little son taken out by C-section, just on the off chance that the abruption progresses. I know this is a silly idea and it would be incredibly irresponsible to deliver a baby this young for a partial abruption that’s being well controlled by bedrest, but I can’t help myself from conjuring up doom-and-gloom scenarios as I lie in the bed where, a week and a half ago, I began hemorrhaging inexplicably in my sleep.

Although I try to keep my mind off the worst-case scenario, it’s hard to lie about on bedrest and not let my mind wander into dark territory. I constantly find myself kick-counting and treating my midsection as if it were fragile as an eggshell. I celebrate each day that passes without complication, but the joy I once felt at the movements of my wee boy has been replaced with the grim imagining that every movement could be his last. As much as each day that passes brings my baby closer to term, I fear that each day also is another day our little son is trapped inside my body with a faulty placenta that could tear away completely at any minute.

Is this rational? Probably not. But the responsibility of being another human’s sole life-support system — and the knowledge that one’s track record has been less than stellar thus far — weighs so heavily that it’s impossible for my desires for a full-term baby not to be tempered with a modicum of dread.

At the same time, I am, paradoxically, anxious to come off bedrest and care for my other child. Perhaps part of me is looking forward to keeping my body and mind busy — too busy to envision the placenta shearing away from the uterus; too busy to imagine a preterm C-section and a NICU stay.

Bedrest sounds wonderful when you’re not on it, but I’ve found (for the second time this pregnancy) that while it probably does the baby a world of good, what it does for the mom is create lots of spare time to worry and obsess about the condition that put her there.

Hang in there, little guy!

And here they are: The week 34 belly pics!

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