Existere asks an excellent question – what happens if the baby arrives before 26 weeks?
I have heard of babies surviving and thriving when born as early as 22 weeks. Obviously, the chances arent good, but they improve with every week. At 26 weeks gestation, NICU is government mandated, that is, all babies born after 26 weeks get the care they need.
Before 22 weeks, no hospital will take extra-ordinary measures to prolong life.
So what happens between 22 and 26 weeks? The parents have to decide.
Around 23 weeks, well meet with a neonatologist who will give us a tour of the NICU, and discuss various outcomes with us. At that point we are supposed to write a birth plan, with our care decisions outlined. Obviously, they arent going to recommend NICU for this baby before 23 weeks. And I suppose well make up our minds once we have more information.
That being said, we have lung maturity as the great unknown. If this baby is born at 36 weeks, it might still not have enough lung development to be able to survive, its all a big gamble. But if the lungs are ok, what other issues might we be dealing with before 26 weeks, I just dont know, and I am not up to doing the research just now.
So while I wont want to be caring for a profoundly disabled child when I am 80, I am also going to find it impossibly difficult to just give up on this life I have fought so hard for. And each day, each week, will only make that decision harder.
Yesterday marked twenty weeks, and five weeks without measurable amniotic fluid.
Although this baby and I still have a long road to travel before he or she is home safe, I feel that this is a significant milestone, and I am thrilled to be here.
Now, for the next part of the journey, the road to viability. Another three weeks before we tour the NICU and meet a neonatologist, five weeks before I go to hospital as an inpatient, and six weeks for viability. Although many babies survive earlier gestations, things are harder for twins, which is why I have been told the minimum is 26 weeks.
We are still thinking about names. Both babies will need a name, no matter how this goes.
And tomorrow, mum and dad return from Thailand, so Bev and Ted can have a bit of a rest for a while!
We still have a heartbeat. This is starting to get torturous.
Two days ago, during my weekly checkup, my doctor found only one heartbeat. One of my babies had died since my last checkup.
Again I was offered a termination. I asked if the risks for me were significantly increased, and since they are not, I declined.
Apparently I will either go into labour and deliver both babies, or the dead baby will re-absorb, and the pregnancy will continue. Who knows for how long, but I have to take the chance.
At least we dont need to buy a people mover now, right?
Although the natural thing to do would be to howl at the moon, get horribly drunk, and delve into hysteria, Ive chosen to keep it together for the time being, while I still have a live baby to gestate.
Just dont ask me how I am.