32 Weeks Pregnant = 95% Infant Survival Rate

Today, I’m 32 weeks pregnant, the minimum goal my husband and I had hoped I’d achieve with this high-risk pregnancy. Regardless of my pre-term bleeding during my 25th week of pregnancy, my placenta previa, and my history of incompetent cervix, this baby boy of ours has stayed put for an additional 6 ½ weeks, putting his survival rate at 95%.

Personally, I think his survival rate is higher, because I was given steroid injections to advance his development 6 ½ weeks ago, when my pre-term bleeding began—and he’s big. And based on the gymnastics moves he’s performing in my belly, seemingly 24 hours a day, he’s feisty, a fighter.

I have been cursed in the fertility department, struggling with embryo implantation and suffering early pregnancy losses, due to my in utero exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES), which led to my underdeveloped, one-third-normal-size T-shaped uterus. And due to my DES deformities, my pregnancies are high-risk.

But my one prior successful pregnancy gives me comfort: When I was pregnant with my 5-year-old son, my complication was premature dilation due to incompetent cervix, which led to hospitalization, steroid injections and bed rest starting in my 27th week of pregnancy. After all that, my son was born on his due date, a rarity that occurs in only 5% of pregnancies, according to my pregnancy books, and he weighed a whopping 9 pounds 7 ounces.

My son did have to stay in neonatal intensive care (NICU) for the first five days of his life because he’d aspirated meconium (his first bowel movement, in utero), but his size and corresponding strength helped him overcome being born in acute respiratory distress.

The nurses told me that he was the biggest baby they’d ever had in NICU. And while there were strict rules not to look at the other NICU babies, the day my son was being released, the dad of a 4-pound twin, who also was being released that day, walked over and admitted, “I looked at your baby last night.” He continued, “That’s what a baby’s supposed to look like.”

If the little man inside of me is anything like his older brother, he will overcome whatever is thrown at him from this point on, because he’s also had the benefit of the steroids, and he’s also big for his gestational age.

So, today, for the first time in my seven months of pregnancy, I’m permitting myself to feel confident that, between now and my due date of April 23, my husband and I will be bringing our healthy, huge baby boy home.

I know there are no guarantees. Even at full-term, a 100% infant survival rate doesn’t exist.

But for today I’m allowing myself the luxury of feeling like my dream of having another biological child will come true. I’m still realistic. I’m still scared. But I’ve hit a milestone so significant that the tears in my eyes right now are not sad ones, but ones of hope and happiness.

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