Thursday, November 17, 2011

Think 39

Did you know that 51.7% of women in a recent poll believe that it's "safe" to deliver a baby between 34 and 36 weeks? And that for every week before 39 weeks that a baby is born, the risk to them of death doubles with each week?

Or how about that term was determined to be at 37 weeks, not by any scientific research, but just because the World Health Organization decided that date was "term."

Wow, really?

These are just a few of the things that I learned by attending my local Prematurity Awareness Conference today. And what a fitting way to spend this World Prematurity Awareness day.

Sporting purple for my preemie and all preemies. One day, hopefully, we will never see another premature delivery.

Even for one being very aware of prematurity and the issues and problems it causes, this was an eye opening day. HUGE strides have been made in raising awareness. I've seen this just here in my local home town. Prematurity is getting much more "play" in the local media. Maybe because of stories like Mighty Melody, or the MOD is just getting better at getting their message out there in more prominent ways.

Whatever the ways, there still needs to be even MORE awareness made. That first statistic, that half of women believe that it would be safe (?!) to deliver at 34-36 weeks? Really? And that this isn't just a problem of the public, but even OB's, who should know better, are giving in to inducing. Mainly because the #1 reason they are sued is for failing to induce. Even though there was no medically necessary reason present.

And that even with lung maturity tests coming back mature, does not necessarily mean that baby is "ready" to enter this world?

The main focus of this guys particular talk was on reducing the amount of elective c-sections and inductions prior to week 39. I know I have a limited view point on this because my only experience is a 29 week preemie, and to me, getting to 39 weeks would be a HUGE blessing. In fact, when my OB initially told me that with this pregnancy she would do an amnio at 36 weeks and perform a c-section at that point, I was crushed. But I fought back. I originally got her to agree to 37 weeks at least, and with more research, convinced her to let me go to 39 weeks, as long as I was not laboring.

Why was I so insistent on 39 weeks? Lets take a look at this photo:

Or what about this one:

Would my baby be capable of surviving outside the womb had I agreed to that 36 week delivery? Yes. But, looking at this, why would I want to allow that? Am I taking somewhat of a risk? Yes, but I know I'll be watched closely and at the first sign of a uterine rupture I will not argue with taking this baby out immediately.

I don't know, I guess it's a huge shock to me to learn just how many think it's ok to deliver at 34 weeks. And that many women do not consider a c-section a major surgery.

I would do anything to get to 39 weeks. And avoid a c-section.

Unfortunately for the first pregnancy, both choices were taken from me. And on this, so far only the 2nd choice has been taken from me.

I'm 34 weeks today and begging for 5 more. Yes, begging. Am I uncomfortable? Very. My ribs hurt, my hips hurt, heck sometimes even my legs hurt. I'm EXHAUSTED. I can't breathe. I can't eat what I want. Sometimes, yes, I even think I can't take it anymore! But the one thing I never think is I want this baby now. I just want it to be December now. I want to be 39 weeks now. But I will fight tooth and nail for that 39 weeks until I am out of options. I fought tooth and nail for that 29 weeks.

I'm not going to post my 34 week update today, mainly because it contradicts a lot of my emotions of today and confirms where the misconception comes from that it's "safe" to deliver now. I am 34 weeks, and by all accounts should make 39. Even my OB told me yesterday she thinks it's very likely. I had my first NST for the diabetes as well as a growth scan. Shrimp performed well and even my "pre-term" contractor of a uterus behaved. Shrimp measured 36 weeks by ultrasound thanks to the GD, but that doesn't change anything in my care plan.

Chubby cheeks and a big grin. A far cry from this:

I don't know if I've made any sense or any point in this. I just hope, that as I grow and learn more about it that hopefully I'll be able to, in some way, spread awareness about why it is SO important to wait if you can at all do so. Not everyone can. But if you can...fight for that 39.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

Lisa, you inspire-- you truly do! You've so eloquently displayed this great concern about premature birth, especially those that were unnecessary!! I am in FULL support of championing your 39 weeks!! I am SO excited to see you experience the joy of a full term birth! :)