the law of averages
Eight years ago I was strolling the November-grey streets of Durango, Col thumping around anonymously in his amniotic ocean. I had just begun to feel the first swimmy kicks – those little messages from the inside reminding me, “I’m here, Mama! I’m here!” If that simmer of life had a brand name it might be: world’s luckiest secret.
And I felt lucky, yes, but cautious. I had waited for Dan to be ready to start a family (he insisted we marry first and then asked for another 9 months to prepare), only to conceive, the first time, a terrible mistake: a molar pregnancy, a typo of fertilization in which the placenta mutates in a cancerous fashion until surgically removed. And then another 6 months of blood draws and the doctor-insisted waiting followed.
And so, by the time my belly was rising again, like a hopeful batch of bread, I now knew that wanting a baby didn’t equal getting a baby. Even though a second molar pregnancy was unlikely (a first molar preg. occurs in only 1 in 1500 pregnancies), and this baby’s heartbeat galloped like a stampede of wild horses across the examining table (my midwife promised that once you have a heartbeat, your chances of delivering a healthy baby is over 90%), the law of averages was no longer a place I could rest, eyes closed comfortably in the sun.
Some of you know where this story goes. (The short version is here, today, on Mamalode. Please, do read). While 11% of babies born in the U.S. are born premature, only 1% of all babies are born before 26 weeks. Col was born at 25 weeks, 3 days. Which is to say, my uterine odds haven’t been the greatest.
(But, also, they have! I mean, heavens, look at who’s crawled out of there).
Whittling spoons out of juniper.
Only 20% of babies born at 25 weeks have no lasting problems. I don’t even know what constitutes a lasting problem anymore. Col’s problems are continually shrinking in relation to his big, wonderful life.
November is National Prematurity Awareness month. And it’s interesting, I used to be aware of prematurity every day; it felt like a tight place in my chest or a weepy apology I wanted to offer my son. Now it feels like part of our story, but not the main plot.
Today, I’m donating 25 cents to the March of Dimes (which works tirelessly to prevent prematurity) for every comment on this post. So, say hello, read the short version of the boy who arrived 3 1/2 months early, and take care.