I’ve been waiting for this day for two weeks. I’m officially 24 weeks pregnant. Twenty-four weeks is the gestational age that experts agree is the earliest chance babies have to survive outside of the womb if delivered, as less than 25% of babies born at 23 weeks survive, whereas that number jumps to about 50% at 24 weeks and to over 90% at 29 weeks.
Why do these numbers matter to me right now? Two weeks ago I spent 6 hours in labor and delivery with painful contractions. Not just Braxton Hicks contractions, but real contractions. During my last pregnancy, I experienced latent labor for weeks before my water broke. But this is way too early for real contractions. I’m not on bed rest (yet) and I’ve been going to work and teaching and doing laundry and making beds and giving my son baths and meals. I’m pretty sure all of that is going to come to a screeching halt shortly as I am still experiencing contractions. They’re not “longer and stronger” than they were two weeks ago, but at my next checkup, I’m terrified I’m going to hear the two words I can’t mentally process: BED REST.
I’m sure if I’ve been instructed by my OB to go on bed rest, I will obey her. I desperately want this baby to be healthy and not spend his first days, weeks or months in the NICU. But I’m so grateful to have made it this far and if bed rest is in my future, I am going to do my best to be a good patient and wait.
Ideally, baby stays in utero until at least 38 weeks. After that, I’m sure I’ll be begging him to come out. But we’ve made it this far. My next goal is 29 weeks, just 5 weeks away. Please stay baby, just stay.