Thursday, January 12, 2012

34 weeks and counting...SUCK, SWALLOW and BREATH.

I couldn't remember for the life of me why I had 34 weeks as a mini goal of mine. It was circled in red with other random dates (Christmas, 28 weeks, so on). But, why 34 weeks? I kept thinking it was something and I am sure it made since at the time. Then I remembered at 5 am after tossing and turning, ITS WHEN THEY DEVELOP THE ABILITY TO SUCK AND SWALLOW! I remember waiting and waiting for that week in the NICU. It was when they would finally start letting you try to feed your baby by mouth.

After weeks of waiting, in our case 9 weeks you finally get to do something that feels normal. Unfortunately its short lived for some of us, because its not that easy. Who knew? Those preemies like to go apenic (temporally stop breathing) when they are learning how to take a bottle. There you sit with this fragile little baby hooked up to a loud, and flashing machine (ECG, capnea, pulse ox) and you are trying to give them the tiniest bottle maybe an ounce and they are trying to suck on it and then they freeze up and go blue. Monitors, go crazy, nurses rush in and you feel a bit shell shocked.

Knowing it one of the only things that has holding you back from going home, it is enough to crush you. I remember it as being a point that I didn't think I could keep going. Kate after doing great for a day even with some apenic moments and then she just stopped. Didn't want to take a bottle anymore, much less on a rigid NICU every 3 hours schedule. Oh, I felt such despair.

We eventually figured it out with thickeners, a different type of nipple, and changing her reflux medications. And we made it home in a little over a week then. Unfortunately I had didn't realize that I would spend the next year fighting her to take bottle, attempt to breast feed. Even at 2 1/2 I have to work daily to get her to eat enough, and also to swallow her food.

And yet, I couldn't remember why I wanted to get past this period of time in my pregnancy. Well hopefully we can just hold on and get there. My bottom-line fantasy is still just to have a healthy baby, then I hope for maybe not needing any medical intervention for that baby and lastly though I still have the daydream that this baby is able to nurse right from the get go. Having faced disappointment before though I am careful to not get too invested in this daydream.
How else are we doing? Well, baby sister frenzy has occurred around here. Constantly patting my 'tum-tum' and talking to baby sister. Yesterday was a hour long conversation about what baby sister would like to do with her, and who was going to take momma to the hospital and how would we change sisters diaper. I hate to burst her bubble, there is no need to the reality will be here soon enough.

Me, well I am still here. Trying my best. I am on week 12 of bedrest, week 6 of my gestational diabetes diet (I dreamed about doughnuts last night) and 34 weeks pregnant. No date set for cerclage removal and pretty minimal on medical intervention currently (which is odd after all the micromanaging). Trying to stay calm with increasing worries about delivery and having two children after bedrest combined with no time off left. And then still dealing with the crazy amount of loneliness and depression that comes with 12 weeks of sitting by yourself day after day after day... but hey at least it is 34 weeks and I am still pregnant and maybe just maybe somebody is learning a suck, swallow and breath reflex in there.


  1. I just squealed at my desk at work reading this. 34 weeks is AMAZING! You have to be one of the bravest most awesome people I know, and you are right, 34 weeks is a huge milestone. Each week now you are just fattening that baby up and soon enough she will be here! And I can tell you its so worth it! I can tell you the difference those last 6 weeks make! Henry loves to eat, and has a great suckle and sleeps well and there's just no fighting! I'm so thrilled for you, and whatever stress you have about 2 will just melt away when you realize that you made it, you fought for this kiddo and that it will all be ok!!

  2. Great job Beth! 34 weeks Wow!! I "know" that it's been a rough 12 weeks, but you have done a fabulous job.