I tried to still my racing heart as I heard the gentle voice of a specialist I had just met instruct me to be on the watch for early labour. I was sitting on a hospital bed with my pregnant belly showing as she leaned over to speak these words to me. Her face was so caring. I thought she might hug me. Or maybe it was in that moment, I just needed one.
I mustered up any courage I could find and asked at what point I would need to be watching for these signs of early labour. Any hope I had of stilling my racing heart jumped out of the hospital window as she told me to be on the lookout immediately. This was my 20 week appointment.
Fear and anxiety filled my heart. My husband quietly drove us home. The silence only allowed more room for my fear and anxiety to settle in and make itself at home.
This child inside of me, I had prayed so long for them to arrive. My husband and I had traveled the road of infertility for nearly three years until we saw the beauty of a positive pregnancy test. We kept the joy of this secret inside of me until 13 weeks. We had chatted for 20 weeks every night before bed about how excited we were that our family was extending from 2 to 3.
The reason for the concern of pre-term labour, is I have a bi-cornuate uterus. Simply, this means my uterus is in the shape of a heart instead of a pear. It restricts the uterus to stretch as much as it needs to carry a baby to full term and it is closely linked to cervical incompetence. (When your cervix starts dilating before the baby is ready to come.)
It was a hard pill to swallow that our child could arrive at any day. That maybe our child would not be strong enough for life if they arrived too early. Would we have to give up our dream of having children after finally getting this far?
My husband and I dealt with the news differently. He went to work and scoured the internet for medical journals and scientific facts to give us hope of a positive outcome. I took two days off work and cried and cried and cried.
We both ended up at the same place. To enjoy each moment. In over three years of trying to fall pregnant, this was the only success we had experienced. We chose to enjoy it. We could stress over all of the 'what-ifs' and worry ourselves sick, only to carry to full term and not have enjoyed the experience. Even if the worse case scenario did happen, we still chose to enjoy the whole experience. At this precise moment, we were pregnant. We did have a beautiful baby growing inside of me and we chose to celebrate and enjoy each and every moment.
At 32 weeks my body started to show signs of pre-term labour. It was rather surreal. In the middle of the night we traveled to the hospital to be checked. I was not the fear-filled woman who had sat on the hospital bed at 20 weeks. I still had this confidence that everything would settle down and we would be sent home. I felt like I was watching someone else go through it all.
As confident as my mind was, my body and my baby had other ideas and neither of them had plans of slowing down.
We were transferred to King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth, as they were the specialised maternity hospital and were equipped with an amazing NICU.
Under their professional care and much bed rest my labour was slowed and once again we grew in confidence that our baby would not be arriving just yet.
However, at exactly 33 weeks, labour started again and my waters broke and nothing was going to stop it this time. After an emergency c-section our darling, strong and ever so healthy son was born. 2.6kg (about 5lbs 11 oz) and 51 cms long. Nothing short of a miracle.
Travelling through a high-risk pregnancy causes you to hold your breathe the whole time, unable to exhale. You are put on a ride you didn't choose and there is no way to get off. There is so much you are no longer in control of.
Except your choice. You can control your choice. You can choose to hope. You can choose to believe. You can choose to put one foot in front of the other and take it a step at a time.