I’ve written a bit about The Boy’s entry into the world, but I’ve hardly written at all about The Girl. She’s turning two in October and I’m pretty sure I’m not just bragging when I say she’s crazy smart. She’s talking in 6-word sentences, has been for a few months now. When we took her to her 9-month check-up and the doctor asked if she was crawling, we said, “She’s actually walking now” and his mouth dropped open. She was 9 pounds when she was born 4 days after my due date. Yes, after having one kid 3 months early, I had the second one a little bit late, and man, was that last month looooooooong.
Having a pregnancy after having had a preemie is kind of a trip. Despite having a great team of doctors who I trusted and who assured me everything was looking fine for me to go full term, I spent the first 36 weeks of the pregnancy terrified that I was going to have another preemie. The most “fun” moment came when, at the exact point in the pregnancy with The Boy when things had gone all wrong (26 weeks 6 days), I got a voice mail from my doctor’s office saying they had test results they needed to discuss with me. I had just had my gestational diabetes test (which I never had with The Boy because I gave birth before I got to the point where they were going to test me), and I was sure they were calling to tell me I had GD, and I knew that people who have GD are more likely to have a preemie than people who don’t have it, and what if I had it last time around and didn’t know it…it took a bit to get ahold of the nurse to get my test results and I spent that time laying on the couch crying while The Hubs tried to soothe me. And when she called with the results, the GD test was negative and she was just calling to tell me I was anemic still/again/as always and needed to take more iron, that’s all. Trauma is a hell of a thing.
When I hit 37 weeks, full term, then I was ready to be done. I mean, READY. I have heard a lot of preemie moms say that it makes them crazy to hear people complain about the end of a full-term pregnancy, about swollen ankles and aches and insomnia and whatever, because they would have killed to have that experience instead of the NICU. But as someone who’s done both, I mean yeah, it’s better to stay pregnant than have a kid in the NICU, duh. But that doesn’t mean that last month of a full-term pregnancy doesn’t suck. For me, it did suck, less than the NICU of course, but I was miserable. I just wanted that baby OUT. My PTSD got pretty bad, and the frequent phone calls from everyone and their uncle asking if I had the baby yet didn’t help. It was another moment when I had zero control over what was happening with my body, and that scared me. When I went to my 40-week appointment and they were like, “Yup, no sign she’s coming out right now, see you next week” I wanted to scream “GET THIS GODDAMN BABY OUT OF ME RIGHT NOW OR I WILL CUT YOU.” But I didn’t, because although I think inappropriate things all the time, I don’t usually say them unless I’m drunk. Or writing a blog.
Eventually she did come out, and I got to experience all the tearing and pooping that comes with pushing a 9 pound baby out your hoo-hah. I think a lot of people thought that having a full-term baby would make my trauma from having a preemie go away, or be less, or something, and probably deep down I was hoping this too, but I wasn’t surprised that it didn’t. That’s just not how trauma works, you can’t magically make it go away. But it was nice to now know what full-term labor is like—turns out, it’s a LOT of tearing and pooping. Seriously, y’all, I think my husband is still scarred from seeing that much poop come out of me. He still talks about it almost 2 years later. But I think we both agree that all that tearing and pooping was totally worth it.