My daughter was born premature. Under normal circumstances a baby remains in the womb for 38 to 40 weeks. In contrast, my daughter, rather violently, came into existence at 29 weeks weighing ~2.75 pounds. (1250g)
The drama started at 26 weeks. My wife was admitted to the hospital for “Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes”. Things were going terrible. The prognosis was that the baby would be born in the next few hours. My wife was given steroid injection for fetal lung development. We waited. The situation stabilized. My wife was put in a bed and told to stay on her back. She was forbidden to stand. Bedpans and sponge baths indefinitely.
Orange tainted curtains acted as dividers in a shared room with similar patients. You could overhear the most horrible stories unfolding next to your own mixed in with a lot of crying. Women were disappearing into the night only to be replaced by someone new the next morning.
Three weeks went by. A fever caused by intrauterine infection forced the medical staff to proclaim: It was time.™ My wife was given another steroid injection for good measure. During her emergency C-section there was excessive blood loss due to fibroid complications, but surgical removal of the uterus was averted, barely. With a wife in the ICU and newborn in the NICU, I was a useless new dad walking around the hospital like a zombie thinking “A dead wife and a mutant baby. I’m fucked.”
The short version is that 1 in 10 pregnancies are premature. Sometimes things work out. Sometimes they don’t. That’s life. Had my wife and I known what we know now we probably would not have planned for a baby. If you are like me 2½ years ago, a new parent googling in despair at 3AM, looking for answers, your partner in the next room pumping her engorged breasts with a yellow machine on wheels and an egg timer, gavage fodder for a sick baby that you visit every day, and you stumble onto this text, all I can say is our thoughts are with you.
Today, I have no regrets. I’m a proud father. I love my daughter. I love my wife. We love each other. We can’t stop this loving feeling. It’s a love festival up in here!
It is commonly accepted that there is an unrealistic body image in the fashion industry. I propose there is an unrealistic baby making image in the baby making industry. Except that it’s not really an industry. It’s simply a lack of education.
If you don’t have a child yet and are considering one, do some research on potential outcomes. Know what you are getting into. Natural birth like our ancestors? Let us remember that at the beginning of the 1900s, for every 100 babies born, 1 woman would die trying.
Thank you modern medicine.