I've been meaning to write for several weeks, now. And I've been meaning to catch up on your blogs for a couple of months, now.
Here's the update: despite three individual complications - only one of which was relatively benign and could be more reasonably called an annoyance more than a complication - I delivered a healthy baby girl 6 weeks before her due date. Due to the complications, I was scheduled to deliver her at 35 weeks, but life being what it is, after yet another "oh shit" incident, we had to have an emergency C-section 5 days before her scheduled one. Though I think the final incident that preceded her birth could've been ridden out, as had other similar incidents that month, my doctor and the amazing staff at the hospital decided 4 "prep the gurney" incidents in a month was enough and to not take any more chances. I'm glad they didn't.
Honey and I are now the amazed parents of a little strawberry-blonde wiggly worm I will henceforth call Shortcake (like Strawberry Shortcake, get it?) on this blog. If she wasn't swaddled 90% of the time, she'd like to sleep with one arm over her head, just like her father. And like her mother, her hair changes color in different lights ... and she has my forehead. Luckily, she heard enough of Babydog's barking in utero not to be affected by it on the outside. Likewise, because she spent the first two weeks of life in the NICU, surrounded by lights, alarms, radios, screaming babies and jocular nurses, she's pretty unbothered by any sudden sounds or lights or what have you. For the most part, she's a pretty easy baby.
I return briefly to the "amazed" adjective. Honey and I are most certainly proud parents, but I like to think we're also really amazed. Amazed that we've been entrusted with the care of another human being from birth to the threshold of adulthood, amazed at how much our perspectives on life and about ourselves have shifted virtually overnight, and amazed that we have her at all.
There are several reasons to be amazed that we have her at all, and almost all of them have to do with chance. I could go into the tiny turns of fate that led to her getting here - we're all the results of chance, really - but sometimes I look at her and thank God she was born when and where she was. You see, of the two not-benign complications I had, one would've been fatal for her, and possibly me, as early as 50 years ago. We both certainly would've died 100 or more years ago. But the wide availability of C-section and ultrasound have made that complication easily and usually survivable these days. The other not-benign complication is one that would've been fatal for her, possibly as recently as 10 years ago. That complication, to this day, is often diagnosed after delivery, as in: "oh, that's why the baby died." And it's rare. Rare enough that most of my nurses in the high risk pregnancy ward had to look it up when I or my doctor told them what I had. And they always returned slightly ashen-faced and treated me with more kid-like kid gloves than they were prepared to. (I finally looked up the mortality rates, after Shortcake was safely with us. Those statistics are entirely against the favor of the baby.) Thankfully, advances in ultrasound technology have made that complication easier to spot at all, but not every ultrasound lab has the technology available still. So I'm thrilled that my choice of OBGYN gave me the chance to go to the lab I went to; my previous OBGYN would've directed me to another lab, which is good, but not as equipped. Had that happened, I may have carried to term and lost my daughter in delivery or sooner. So, yup. I'm an amazed parent, not just proud.
For those interested, below is a photo of Shortcake's precious right ear. This ear is resting in the crook of my elbow right now. This ear hears me sing into it and will hear sweet nothings whispered into it in the future. How I hope to never be the source of any vitriol or anger to pour into that sweet little ear. If I could, I would protect that ear forever from such rage. But as I can't, I hope I can shepherd this child such that she can hear that and filter it; to listen for the opportunities to deliver comfort to the pain behind the rage or to stand up against the evil in the rage.
I'll try to post more than just once a month! And best yet, I'll try to catch up on all your blogs, soon. In the meantime, I've got a dirty diaper to change!