Yesterday, we had an afternoon development (a good one!). Every now and again, I can give my hips and sides a rest and lay on my back for 15-20 minutes without feeling the "I-want-to-contract" sensation. So, after drinking 3-4 pitchers of water during the morning and early afternoon, I will try to prop my back with a pillow and lay "flat" for a bit. If it works, great. If not, I just roll over. So, yesterday afternoon, I'm on my back and feeling them move. Maya is doing her somersaults and Bobby is kicking up a storm. Suddenly, from his corner of the universe, I see a foot! (Okay, it could have been an elbow, I suppose, but from how he was laying, I think it was a little foot!)
Thinking I must have been mistaken, I watch my belly and sure enough, there's a kick and another foot! This went on for several seconds before I called Peter and shouted "I see a foot!" Now, in retrospect, when preterm labor is a concern, yelling that you see a foot without a qualifier is not a great thing. I think I may have given him quite the start. Realizing this, I told him that I saw a foot it my belly and we had quite a nice conversation about our son's soccer skills as he proceded to kick me. When Sarah came for a visit, she saw his little feet too! So adorable. So absolutely adorable.
It hit me yesterday how second trimester loss can impact a subsequent pregnancy. Tomorrow, at 23w, I being my last week of the second trimester. Since my twin due date is 36w, I actually have perfect, 12w trimesters, verses the kind of mixed week ones I had with Alexander. And, as I was remembering back with things felt with Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander, it struck me that I am in, and have been for a while, virgin territory.
I have been pregnant before. I am a mother who has delivered children and felt the joys of those movements outside my womb and kissed those warm foreheads as my babies drifted into a peaceful sleep. And yet... I am new to this. I am new to the feelings of hard kicks that wake me in the middle of the night. Before yesterday, while I had seen ripples of movement across my belly, I had never seen a defined body part move to the surface of my own tummy. While I had the joy of feeling our children curl up under my hands when I laid them over my womb, never until this pregnancy, had I had a child play back with me, a game of kicking and somersaulting.
There were no steroid injections or even the planning of them. There were no NICU consults. Doctors didnt discuss survival statistics because there werent any.
My belly is huge, stretched out to the size of full term singleton mom. I have more stretchmarks than the rest of my body combined. I struggle to roll over and take a deep, deep breath. My bum cramps under the strain of the extra weight (or at least the new proportioning of weight). I have needle marks all over my backside and plan each Saturday morning for where the next will go. This is all new. This has never happened before.
Second trimester loss, especially with live birth, brings you the feeling that you dont belong. You dont fit in with the new moms for whom this is a first pregnancy. You dont fit in with the moms who miscarried and are now pregnant again, for whom most of the second trimester (if not all of it) is completely new. You dont fit in with the moms who pretermed with surviving children (although that is where my closest ties lie, I think, since they know what it is like to have pregnancy ripped so incredibly short and to pray moment by moment that their child lives). You dont fit in with the mothers who had third trimester deliveries. You are an old hat at pregnnacy, but not really. There is still that great unknown of those weeks in the second trimester that you may have missed and that entirely new third trimester.
And so, here we are... New in this 22w6d. Old in the 2nd tri. About to move into the completely unchartered territory of the third trimester. How will I feel then? When everything is so new? When I cant even cling to the thought that, at least, I was once sort-of here...but not really.
8 more days. Actually 7 days, 14 hours, 27 minutes until the calendar rolls over and we see VIABILITY in the forefront instead of the background, when I enter that special club of third trimesters, when each passing day is another day closer to "healthy birth" instead of "viable birth". I am so there in my head already. It will be nice when my body catches up.