The third stretch

28 weeks

Despite being terrible at math, I tend to find patterns in numbers and place (too much?) stock in their importance . . . almost to a superstitious degree. Even when I know being order No. 18 — my lucky number — in a restaurant is just a coincidence, I can’t shake this feeling that it “means something.” Though the something? As yet to be determined.

As of Monday, I am 28 weeks pregnant. With Oliver, I gave birth at 32. So if I were to follow that same pattern, I would be giving birth to my daughter in less than a month.

I am not ready.

When we initially considered a second child after Ollie’s early birth and my long recovery from preeclampsia, I assumed I’d be too anxious and worried to possibly try again. But then I was pregnant, and there was no debating — I had to surge forward, stay calm and be informed without troubling myself with endless “what ifs.”

I’ve done a good job of not losing my mind during the last six months, but approaching that number — 32 — is making my palms sweat. Flashbacks of the last few weeks I was hospitalized while expecting Oliver keep flying back, and all those old memories — our corner room in Baltimore; the doctor finally telling me we couldn’t go home; getting steroid shots to help his lungs — bring the panic back anew.

But this time is not that time. My blood pressure has been fine . . . low for me, even. I have no symptoms, no other issues that could be attributed to anything other than just feeling big and tired and worn down, partially from the pregnancy but also from chasing Oliver — now 20 months — around the house.

I’ve started nesting. Post-Christmas clean-up combined with this almost physical urge to work on the new baby’s nursery has me whirling around the house like a tornado. According to ye ol’ Fitbit, I logged more than 5,000 steps on Monday and barely left the house. On a regular work day, I’m lucky if I hit half of that.

I am on the move.

Moving helps me stay out of my own head, for one. More than once lately I’ve snapped awake from a nightmare about pre-term birth, about being back in the NICU. I’ve blocked so much about those early days with Ollie out, but it filters back at strange moments. Being in my third trimester with this little one is definitely whipping memories up from the murky waters into which they’d sunk.

But I’m trying to be OK with that, too. I’ve done a lot of emotional work to move forward from April 2015. I’m trying to focus on what is going right this pregnancy — everything, so far — instead of went so wrong the last time.

And anyway, more than anything, we do have a healthy son. And I am here. And we are here. And our family is strong.

This is a ramble. But it’s 2017, a fresh year, and I’m as big as a house (and getting bigger) and my brain is … well, it’s hard to form coherent thoughts these days. Last night I fell asleep at 8 p.m. and I can’t get out of bed without a tuck-and-roll technique I’m still mastering, so everything feels weird right now.

Before I had Oliver, I was terrified of childbirth. We took classes and I read books and countless blogs and thought I was “prepared,” but then I was induced at sunrise on an April Sunday two months early and I was … well, I was not prepared.

But it didn’t matter. In the end, is anyone prepared? Can anything really prepare you for parenthood — how it will build you up and break you down and sneak up on you with its moments of pure joy and pure exhaustion, fear and beauty all centered on one tiny little body?

I’m not ready to give birth again, but I will soon be ready to meet our daughter.

I have some things to tell her. And I can’t wait.

14 thoughts on “The third stretch

  1. Wishing you a longer pregnancy and healthy baby. Neither of my pregnancies were what I expected or my deliveries. My twins were via c section and my son a vbac that I fought hard for. Then he pooped and my birth image was swept away as they scooped him up to check his airway etc. in the end we managed and I had wonderful babies. I’ve missed reading your words.


    • Thank you, Steph. ❤ So far, so good — I'm hopeful that everything will continue chugging along, though I'm trying to go with the flow should something pop up. It's a delicate balance. Miss you!


  2. Thank you for sharing all this, Meg, although ugh, I am so sorry that the anxiety of before is popping up. Pregnancy is rough enough without additional baggage!! Sending love your way that things keep going well and that you and the baby remain healthy. I’m so impressed you’re juggling holidays, cleaning, hobbies, a 20-month old AND being pregnant!! (On top of everything else you’ve got going!) I barely made it thru the holidays with my 2 year old, and am trying to remain mature while I struggle through a cold. 🙂

    Reading anything good these days?


    • Thank you, Audra! I’m actually getting over a three-week virus, too, just to add insult to injury. It has been a time, I tell you.

      I’m finishing up Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple on audio and have enjoyed it, though I do think it reads very much like Where’d You Go, Bernadette? The main character, Eleanor, is so similar to Bernadette that it’s . . . well, it kind of feels like the same story. But I loved the first book! So I pretty much love this one, too, even though it feels like a rehash? I’m so confused, haha.


  3. So happy to hear there are no complications this pregnancy! I am also 28 weeks this week with my second (my first being 3) and was hospitalized at 24 weeks this time for threatened pre-term labor and sent home with home-care and modified rest so I get the anxiety of it all as I sit on my couch “resting” counting down the days and weeks!

    I delivered my son at 36 weeks and he was admitted for a week with lung issues (so not to long thankfully!). Going into this pregnancy I was determined to work as long and make it as far as with my son but quickly realized that taking it easy and playing it safe are the better options. Hopeful for both of us to make well past 32 weeks with as little anxiety and stress as possible!


  4. The second pregnancy is a lot easier and a lot more difficult because you know what is coming. I know that whatever happens, you are more prepared because you’ve been through the worst and survived. I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts until you make it past that 32 week mark and beyond!


  5. Yes, continue focus on what’s going right! That’s what I’m putting majority of my energy into, these days. 34 weeks pregnant, and while everything seems to be going ok (except that my baby girl is on the low end of average birth weight), i am grateful. Best wishes as the journey continues.


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