27 weeks 6 days. That's the gestation Baby Sola is today. That means we're two days past the gestation that Ethan was born at. It all seems so surreal. That here I am chugging along with this sweet girl tucked safely inside my womb after those incredibly frighting weeks of leaking amniotic fluid. We were preparing for her to be born even earlier. We were clinging to hope that she would at least make it to 27 weeks. Our big goal was 27 weeks and now here we are back to "normal" with no reason to think she'll come anytime soon.
It's surreal though because we've been there. We've been there with a 27 weeker. My E. My sweet sweet E, born at 27 weeks 4 days, 2lbs 5oz, 15 inches long. He didn't get this chance. He didn't get this opportunity to stay put. And so while I'm incredibly thankful beyond words that Sola is staying right where she needs to be, I am also so sad for my E. So sad for the NICU stay we all endured.
In a way it's a little different with Marcellus. We had no way of suspecting preterm labor would be an issue. We just didn't know, so how could we prepare for it. But with Ethan we knew there were risks. We knew we needed to take precautions. So I did the progesterone shots weekly from 16 weeks on, but we opted not to have a cerclage. Cue momma guilt. Lots and lots of momma guilt. Now that we know the cerclage helps keep my babies in, I can't help but feel guilty I didn't get one during Ethan's pregnancy. If I had maybe he would have been full term too. Maybe he wouldn't have had to go through all that. To be away from his mom, to live in an incubator in the NICU. To not see his home for 10 weeks. To go through all he went through as that itty bitty vulnerable baby. Knowing how it was with Weston I am so sad that Ethan and I didn't get that. I am so sad for him. I can't help but wonder if some of his struggles are due to his prematurity and NICU stay. It has had to affect him. How can something like that not affects a child? Would he have asthma? Would he have SPD? Maybe. But being born at 27 weeks definitely put him at higher risk of those things. And while I wouldn't change who he is in a heartbeat, the thought that life could be easier for him if only I had gotten a cerclage is a bit heartbreaking.
We'll never know though, will we. And I know...I logically know that we made the best decision we could with our doctors at the time. Yes, we discussed a cerclage, but my case is not typical. After Marcellus it wasn't clear why I had him early, so at the time it was labeled as "idiosyncratic preterm labor," i.e., no one knows why. It was Ethan's pregnancy that gave us more information. The cervical shortening with funneling starting at 24 weeks 4 days and him being born 3 weeks later. That was our evidence to know that in the next pregnancy(ies) a cerclage was worth any risks that came with the procedure. But as any mom knows, mom guilt really is a strong thing. So, while my head tells me that we did the best we could, my heart says I could have done better for him. I could have made different decisions that would have kept him in longer.
On Friday when we were right at 27 weeks 4 days gestation I got tears in my eyes and looked at Mike asking, "Can you even imagine having her now? Can you even imagine being in the NICU? I know we did it. I know we were there 10 weeks. I know we were preparing to do it again. But now, I just can't even imagine going through that." And there's another aspect. We did it for 10 weeks. My first 10 weeks of memories with E are in the NICU and yet I can't imagine the NICU. It was survival. It was hard. It was so so so hard. And I cry, I cry for that time. I cry for my EE. I cry and wonder how life would be different for all of us if we hadn't had that NICU stay. Would I have PTSD the way I do? Would I have needed to go on Zoloft this pregnancy if we hadn't had that experience? Would Ethan have fewer struggles?
But she's safe. Sola is safe. Each day in utero is a big deal. Each day she's closer to being born without issue. And for a pregnancy in which we spent some time thinking she was going to be born before viability and getting to 27 weeks was (in our heads) at the time our best case scenario, this is all a really big deal. I am trying to savor in that. Savor in the miracle that is this baby girl. She's strong, she's a fighter. She's so meant to be here in every way possible.
Dear Marcellus, when I was pregnant with you we had no indication that we should be worried about preterm labor. It doesn't make your early arrival any easier, just a different set of emotions than when your first brother. We didn't know we needed any intervention to keep you safe. We didn't know. But with Ethan we did know and we didn't do enough. And it's so hard to know that my body failed you both. That my body couldn't keep you safe. I am beyond thankful for the medical resources that kept Weston from being premature and that's helping Sola stay put. Oh how I wish I had known it was needed for you and Ethan. Tomorrow will be 28 weeks, the third trimester. I remember those last few days of your pregnancy so well. Getting into the third trimester I had no idea you would be born 5 days later at 28 weeks 5 days. So, yes, it's also very much on my mind that Saturday is your gestation. When I unexpectedly woke up in labor with you. It just doesn't make sense my love. None of it makes sense. But I will continue to be positive for your sister, to be hopeful the rest of her pregnancy goes as your littlest brother's did. And I'll think of you and your 3lb 2oz little self and how amazing you were and are. I love you my little mister! I love you so so so so very much! xoxox.