He/she is full of life and beauty and perfection. I'm in awe every time I feel the movements that remind me we will be adding a new face to our family photos soon.
There are many milestones during pregnancy...the first sign you might be expecting, the positive test, the end of nausea (YAY!!!), that first flutter of movement, the dreaded glucose-tolerance test, etc., etc.
But, for me, 30 weeks marks a milestone unlike any other.
Our second son, Caleb, was born at just this gestational age. He came quickly, in a flurry of fear and uncertainty - at just after 2am one foggy May morning. Born in the hospital triage room, and weighing just 3 lb. 10 oz., the experience is forever etched in my mind. Seeing his little chest heave for breath...then touching him only through a tiny, round isolette window...wires, pic lines, a staph infection, 2 blood transfusions, and 10 weeks in the NICU...
I remember when I was released from the hospital, it hit me that I was going home without my baby. I absolutely DID NOT think I could leave him. I remember crying and holding tightly to a metal pole just outside the doors of the NICU - and I begged Gregg to let me stay - I could sleep in the waiting room or something, I reasoned. He didn't buy it. Gregg tenderly pulled my arms away from the pole. I had to go home. I could come back to visit...but it wasn't the same.
The nurses and doctors were so good with Caleb, but THEY WEREN'T HIS PARENTS.
So, for 10 weeks, we visited as often as we could...we prayed over our son...read to him...delivered breast milk in a cooler...and longed for the day we would be able to bring him home.
|Caleb's first bath...he was a little over 4 weeks old. I can hardly believe how tiny he was!!|
Today, Caleb is a brilliant, funny, athletic 14 year old - despite predictions from doctors that he would most certainly have "cognitive and motor skill issues." No doubt, God taught us much during those 10 weeks...and so much more in the years that followed.
But, it was a scary time for me. I blamed myself. What should I have done differently...or not done at all?
And, just when I had finally convinced myself there was nothing I could have done...
We were 30 weeks pregnant with our 3rd child...on the way to a different hospital in a different town...and I was most definitely having serious contractions. I remember crying (from pain and fear), and asking Gregg as he frantically drove the 45 min. drive, "Why is God doing this? He doesn't love us! We are trying so hard to be faithful to Him...to be obedient to Him...and He doesn't even care!"
I was scared and emotional...I just didn't think I could go through the experience we had with Caleb again. I knew that God loved us, and He did care. I also knew He had a plan. I just couldn't see it.
Eva, our 3rd child, was born full term...doctors were able to stop labor (I was dilated 3-4 cm by the time I reached the hospital that scary night), and I spent 7 weeks on bedrest. Again, God ministered to our family unlike anything we had EVER experienced before. He had a plan to teach us much - about our pride, our need for Him and the people He would place in our path, and about His abundant goodness and tender love.
I've since experienced 5 additional full-term pregnancies - with no preterm labor issues. But still, 30 weeks seems to be a tremendous emotional pivot point for me.
It's that "magic" week, when I remember...when I seek to rest a little more...when I listen to my body's every movement...Braxton hicks contractions scare me - and I find myself timing the few that I have. It's the week I worry most, and celebrate the most when I reach the weeks that follow.
It's the week I lay in bed at night and wonder at every little kick, and cherish every second that this baby grows inside of me. It's the week I thank God over and over for Caleb's health, and Eva's spunkiness.
It's the week I marvel most at all that God has given me and Gregg.
It's the week I look at each of my 8 children and thank God that He allowed me to be their mother.
It's the week I feel our new baby kicking...and long, more than ever, to know that Baby will be born safely.
30 weeks...an emotional pivot point...