This week I reached the 24 week mark.
I remember being in the hospital on bed rest with contractions at around this point in my pregnancy with my twins. It was a few days after 23 weeks and I was crying to the nurse that I was terrified that my baby would be born and I’d have to just watch her die because she was not yet 24 weeks. The nurse pulled up a chair next to my bed, held my hand, and then held up a photo of a little boy that was on a lanyard around her neck.
“Do you see this boy?” she asked. “He was born at 22 weeks. He is two years old now. He is the reason I do what I do.”
Oh, how those words calmed my fears and soothed my mind.
I went on to carry Brigid until I went into labor a few days past 28 weeks. Everyone told me it was a great milestone. Her odds were so good. She was a girl – girls fare better than boys in the NICU. She was so healthy. She was a fighter.
She died in the NICU seven weeks later.
I’ve since abandoned any faith I have in statistics. The odds of having an identical twin pregnancy were low. We beat them. The odds of having TTTS were low. We beat them. The odds of Brigid dying in the NICU were low. We beat them.
Some odds you don’t want to beat.
So, when my sister-in-law reached 24 weeks in her pregnancy last year and told me how relieved she was to be at the age of viability, I could just look at her and smile halfheartedly. I knew it didn’t really mean much.
But oh how nice it would be to be so naive again. To never have had a pregnancy complication, let alone a loss, and to feel at ease.
I reached the 24 week mark this week and wished it was so easy. I still get a little anxious with every twinge and contraction. I think it’s been too long since I’ve felt some movement and poke and prod my little guy until he gives me a reassuring kick.
I know that for most of us, there will not be a point in our pregnancies when we finally breathe easier. For us, it will take holding our babies in our arms and seeing them alive and bringing them home from the hospital. For others of us, even that won’t be enough to soothe our worries.
I just wanted to take a moment this week and wish everyone peace and strength as we walk this path of uncertainty. We are putting our faith in our bodies, and in “the odds,” and in the fact that most pregnancies end in the delivery of a perfectly healthy baby. And that is so hard to do when we have already lived life on the other side of those odds.
So for now, for this moment, let’s all take a collective deep breath, close our eyes, and ask for strength to get through this day. And maybe we need to do that for all the days until our babies are home with us. And maybe some days and weeks and months after that. Let’s just try to get through right now.
We are doing it! One day, one hour, one moment at a time.