I knew these thoughts would eventually plague me. For the most part, they don't. But every once in a while, I let my mind wander, and wonder whether we did the right thing with Bremy.
Bremy was born at 23 weeks and 5 days gestation.
"Viability" for a baby does not begin until 24 weeks. Being viable isn't saying much, but it's the cut off for when a hospital will intervene to save your child. We delivered at a hospital with a top ranked Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. They had saved 23 weekers before. The 5 days I'd been on hospital bed rest were full of "friendly" visitors trying to educate me on what it meant to deliver at such an early stage. I was in full on denial and never imagined my daughter would come so soon.
When we learned that she would indeed be coming on that August morning, I didn't know what to think. I was told by my OB that she didn't think there was much we could do, but because we were at this particular hospital they would be willing to try and save her, if that's what we wanted. But she made it clear that saving our baby was not her advice.
The entire time leading up to this morning, I would have said, yes; we want to save her. But on that morning, I felt 100% sure that we shouldn't. In the several hours between cramping, bleeding and being checked, my mind was made up. It was too soon. This was happening now because this little girl was not meant to be alive.
I do feel like I convinced B to agree with me. I'm not sure what conclusion he would have come to on his own. Like I said, my mind was pretty much made up before he arrived that morning. I was extremely concerned that this "decision" would tear apart our marriage. It surely hasn't. It's never been a point of contention between us. This was a team parental decision and I know that we have felt confident, for the most part that it was the right one.
But, then there are nights like tonight where I wonder. Days like today where I pass a highway billboard sign that shows two tiny feet, the same size as Bremy's with a slogan of "if it's your child; this is where you want your baby to be" and the name of a different hospital. B and I HATE this billboard. To us those are Bremy's little 23 week feet. Why wouldn't they choose the feet of a full term baby?
There's also a commercial for our hospital about a baby born months early, who survived and is thriving thanks to the NICU. I stare at that baby, now a toddler and think: what if that was supposed to be Bremy? What if she could have been a miracle baby? Did I give up on my baby?
Then my mind shifts to a coworker of B's. His wife delivered at 27 weeks, very unexpectedly. The baby survived for 5 weeks. Would that have been worse? Would it have been worse to watch her struggle? To see her alive and THEN dead?
I don't know, and I'll never know. And I don't share these thoughts with anyone because I don't want anyone to say, "yeah, maybe you made the wrong decision." There's nothing I can do now. I just hope we didn't give up on her. I hope this was the way it was supposed to go.
I feel more educated about my condition now and what it means to have an incompetent cervix. I know more about cerclages and when and why they work. I think, knowing everything I know now that I would have risked the cerclage back then. But I don't know if I would have changed my decision with intervening with Bremy had she still been born that day.
Luckily, this is not something that is eating me up everyday. Most days I feel at peace with it all. But on nights like tonight my mind wanders. And wonders.