Our son Parker James was born 5.5 weeks early. His premature birth resulted in a two-week stay in the NICU, during which time I barely left his tiny hospital room.
People often ask me what led to Parker’s premature birth and I really do wish I had the answer to that question. My doctor explained that there is no common denominator among healthy pregnancies resulting in premature births, like mine. Of course that left me with even more questions…
Was I doing anything that caused his premature birth? Was it that I was doing modified CrossFit workouts up to two days before Parker’s birth? Was it that I took a 2 hour plane ride just two months before Parker was due? Was it that I was not getting off of my feet enough? Not resting enough? Too busy “getting ready” for the baby? Not sleeping enough? Not eating enough? Not drinking enough water?
Trust me, I have beat myself up with these questions. Again and again. With no answer, no specific reason why Parker was born almost 6 weeks early, I have painted myself into a corner of absolute fear.
I’m afraid of having a second premature baby.
I have to honestly say that those two weeks our small family spent in the NICU at Vanderbilt Hospital were some of the most precious moments of our lives. It changed our marriage, our faith, our lives. I’ll never forget the heartbreaking stories we watched unfold during our time there or the babies and families we met. Compared to others, our 2-weeks in the NICU were a walk in the park. Other families would have traded places with us in a heartbeat. We were nothing if not humbled by our experience. And the miracle of little Parker.
Even so, I am afraid to have a second premature baby. It’s so different this time around. Unlike when Parker was born, I can’t “move in” to the NICU this time. Parker will need me too. How can I mother both of my babies if they are a physical hour apart from each other?
As this pregnancy closes in on the 34.5 week mark, which is the exact time Parker was born, I am becoming more and more consumed with this fear. Which let me say, is proving what a saint my husband is!
Because of my history, my doctor has me taking a progesterone shot each and every week. I’ll continue taking these shots until I reach 37 weeks.
In addition to that I’m on my own plan as well. Because I don’t know what I did (if anything!) to cause Parker’s premature birth, I am not doing anything I did during my first pregnancy this time around. No CrossFit. No flying after 5 months.
Of course I’m doing the usual: walking, drinking lots of water, and resting as much as possible.
Yes I realize that exactly when our second baby boy comes into this world is not in my hands. But the fear of prematurity a second time is there. It's there with every shortness of breath. It's there with every Braxton Hicks contraction. It's there with every sweet kick and roll I fell inside my growing belly.
I also have faith. Faith in my doctor’s plan with the shots. Faith in myself for listening to my body. And faith in my God.
Is my faith strong enough to overcome this fear?