Tuesday, February 22, 2011
As Beauty Grows
A week and a half ago, I saw a perinatologist again for my monthly check-up. I loved watching Beauty move around and seeing her little hands, feet, profile, and heart. My favorite moment, however, was when I got to see her in 3D for the very first time. What a beauty she is indeed! It's a strange moment when you get a glimpse of your baby's face who is in still in your womb. Seeing her turn her head toward me almost felt like being let in on a tremendous secret or like opening a birthday present early. Surely I'm not supposed to be able to see her little face already! But of course it was wonderful. Here are some photos from the appointment.
The perinatologist, who I hadn't seen before, told me that she has one minor concern about Beauty. She says it's a small thing but something they want to keep their eye on nonetheless. At my 17 week ultrasound, Beauty's abdomen was measuring in the 32nd percentile. At my 21 week ultrasound, it measured in the 12th percentile. She said they don't like to see downward trends, so they will be keeping a close watch to see what happens as I progress. The normal range is from the 5th - 95th percentile, so she is still measuring within normal limits, but the decrease is minorly concerning. I have not spent much time worrying about this. Obviously I would rather they have zero concerns, but this seems like a "victim of technology" kind of worry. The vast majority of people don't even have ultrasounds at weeks 17 and 21 to compare measurements, so for me to sweat about it seems kind of silly. In fact, I completely forgot to tell anyone other than Bryan about it for a full week. So, clearly I'm not worked up about this concern. I do hope that in two and half weeks I will get encouraging news, and I covet prayers for Beauty's health, of course.
I have spent much of the past week in bed with back problems. I've had a finicky back since junior high, and in 9th grade I had two 14-inch nickel rods put in my back for scoliosis. I live with constant shoulder and neck pain, but sometimes my lower back acts up, and then I end up in bed. I think it's been ten years since the last time it really happened. The time in bed has been trying for me (and the whole family!), and I have new sympathy for moms who end up on bedrest. I can't even imagine! I am so grateful that my bedridden time was due to my back and not my pregnancy.
As I laid in bed, I found myself thinking a lot about Samuel. I was sore from being in bed all the time and not being able to vary my position much, and I couldn't help but think about Samuel who spent his entire life in bed. He wasn't rocked or cuddled or swayed. He wasn't hugged or held. He simply had to lie there for 31 days. Most nurses didn't spend much energy trying to shift his position, so his head was pretty misshaped. And in the last ten days of his life, he was so sick they couldn't even angle him, so he laid flat on his back the whole time. He developed bed sores on his back and neck from lying in the same position and from the oscillator (a kind of breathing machine that caused his body to vibrate constantly so he had continual friction between his skin and the blankets beneath him). They were open wounds, and a special nurse from wound care came every few days to address them. But eventually he was too sick to move him at all, so we couldn't even look at them and attend to them.
It's hard to remember those things about my baby son. I prefer to remember how much we loved him or the absolute joy we felt when he opened his eyes and looked at us or the hours we spent reading The Chronicles of Narnia out loud to him. But the ugly memories creep up too sometimes, and I can't turn away from them in volitional forgetfulness. I have to remember all of it -- the good moments and even the worst moments. It's all part of his life, and it's all part of our story, and I don't want to ignore the painful stuff just because it's hard. The hard stuff is real too, and it shapes us, and hopefully it changes us and deepens us and draws us closer to Jesus.
As my belly continues to grow, and as Beauty's movements get more and more pronounced, I find myself thinking of and remembering Samuel more and more. I miss having that sweet boy safe in my tummy. I miss being his safe, growing place. I miss his kicks and nudges and the way I already loved him so much after learning about his heart. I miss that little life who is no longer in me. Just last night Joel prayed, "Help Samuel to have a good time in Heaven" and though I know it's already true, I found myself echoing Joel. "Yes, Lord, give Samuel the fullness of life he didn't get on earth." Though I miss my baby boy all the time, I know he's full of joy with Jesus, and I couldn't ask for anything more. And in these days with Beauty safe in my womb, I rejoice in her life, her kicks, her squirms, and the hope of a life spent cuddling, hugging, holding, and kissing my sweet daughter.