“Days like today give me hope that we could still be here for a while.”
The weekend of Father’s day was gorgeous for so many reasons. Friday was filled with visitors. Saturday began with a donut delivery. I was feeling so good about myself that I even let my husband go home for the afternoon to recoup a bit and so I could work to make up the hours I missed for having so many visitors on Friday.
When my husband came back in the afternoon, we got our weekly celebratory Starbucks frappacinos and enjoyed some time outside in the beautiful weather. My husband wheeled my wheelchair as far away from my hospital room as we could get and we sat briefly in a parking ramp overlooking Grand Rapids where I pretended, for just a moment, I was on vacation, soaking up the sun and pointing at buildings and ludicrously claiming they were landmarks in northern Michigan.
Then we made a late night move to a new room, a room I was both proud and saddened to have. It was my fourth room on the OB Special Care floor, having moved to better and better rooms based on seniority, but this was my final room. I’d arrived at the best of the best. I’d acquired the most seniority. I was only 26 weeks pregnant.
26 weeks – closer to the third trimester and an 80% chance of survival for baby girl. In the time we’d been in the hospital, we’d gone from a 1 in 4 chance of survival to a 4 in 5. Saturday felt good.
And Sunday felt good too. I gave Kevin Jimmy Fallon’s book, Your Baby’s First Word Will be Dada as a Father’s Day gift, and then we lounged around, played some Rummy and colored – yes, colored – some pictures before taking a tour of the NICU.
I honestly don’t remember much from that tour, because theory and practicality quickly collided, and practicality swallowed up every ounce of theory. What I do remember is this; at 26 weeks, they could already tell us we would be able to touch our baby. I had feared we wouldn’t be able to and I innately knew I would need to. In hindsight, I know even better how much a mother needs to touch her baby. This was such welcomed news.
We thanked our tour guide and I was wheeled back to my room in OB Special Care where my parents and in-laws stopped by respectively so we could see our dads on Father’s Day. And then Kevin went home and we began yet another week of living our disjointed lives, me in the hospital and Kevin somewhere between work, home and hospital.
This being my opportunity, I have to say I knew my husband would be a good dad well before we were even married. I loved that he wanted kids and genuinely looked forward to that phase of life.
Little did we know, we would first have this phase of life, one you can’t be prepared for, and one you navigate day-by-day because each day is truly a thing of its own. People felt bad for me because I was stuck in the hospital, my life completely uprooted, my body completely taken over by pregnancy, but I felt bad for him.
There was the guilt of my body failing as I tried to give him his child, and there was the stress of knowing he was running on empty, driving from home to work to hospital to home to hospital to work to home to hospital… My love and respect for him grew immensely during this time. He navigated the chaos with class. He took me in whatever state I was in each day. He cleaned up after me. He cooked for me. He came to me at the drop of a hat. He sat with me while I cried (and I cried A LOT – like, I cried every day from 16 weeks on). He basically moved into the hospital with me…
So yes, he’s a great dad, but he’s a great husband first. There were aspects of his personality, some that sometimes really get under my skin, that were ideal for this phase. I would not have made it through without him.
In the stats:
Gestational Age: 26 weeks, 1 day
Days of blood: 53
Days of bedrest: 74
Pre-Hospital Stay Doctor’s Appointments: 8
Days in the hospital: 24
IV starts: 5 (11 IV pokes)
Magnesium drips: 2
Trips to Labor & Delivery: 4
Sets of visitors: 44