Today is 36+6.
I’m 36 weeks and six days pregnant. With Penelope Joy, this is the day she decided to make her grand entrance into the world. To say I’m having some “feelings” would be fairly accurate.
You see, when you’ve been through the experience Mr. B and I have been through, you can’t help but make mental notes about how things were — and how things are. And no matter how many times everybody tells me that every pregnancy is different — and no matter how many times Sprout makes that painfully clear — my mind can’t help but think about it.
Because Penelope Joy was early. And then she died.
Were these two things related? In a way, I suppose, but not directly. She died because of an extremely complicated anatomy that included no immune system. She didn’t die because she was premature. (Actually, I like to think that her date of death was always going to be Oct. 17 — and she wanted as much time with us as possible, so she made her appearance early. I like to think she made the choice and gifted us with the additional time.)
Besides, she wasn’t ridiculously premature. But, she was early enough. And I’ve been watching this day on the calendar since finding out I was pregnant with Sprout. This day is symbolic for me. Lots of moms count to 12 weeks. Or 27 weeks. Or 35 weeks. Me? I’ve been looking at 36+6 since day one. (Though, when they pushed back my estimated due date by a week early on, I had to adjust that date in my mind, too.)
So, today is a big day for me. For Sprout. In reality, it means nothing — because Sprout’s still in there movin’ and groovin’ and because she’s not even due for another 3 weeks (and a day).
Am I eager to meet her? Heck yes. Do I want more than anything to hold her — as long as I want, without tubes and cords and the assistance of a nurse (or two or three)? You betcha. Am I looking forward to bringing her home with us (scared and nervous as we’ll be) and actually getting to be her mom — the mom I so desperately want to be? Words cannot describe.
But, I also want her to stay where she’s safe as long as she needs to stay there. Even if it means I get asked over and over again: “Are you sure there’s just one in there?” “Wow! You must be ready to pop any day now, huh?” “How much more can she grow?”
There’s a reason pregnancies typically last around 40 weeks — every day of those 40 weeks is important. And I will never be one of those moms wishing my pregnancy were shorter — no matter how badly I want to meet Sprout. Besides, while medical advances are amazing and save so many babies, I’d prefer to keep Sprout right where she is until she’s all filled in with that adorable baby fat and her lungs are truly ready to take her first real breaths and her brain is ready to absorb the amazing world she’s about to meet. So, we wait … anxiously, eagerly, patiently.
And yes, on this momentous — but also pretty average — day, I’m having “feelings” of all sorts. Gratitude. Hope. Joy. Sadness. Exhaustion. Lots of exhaustion. Peace. And love. Always. love.