My pregnancy with Becca ended right at 28 weeks, which, depending on how you measure, is the end of the second trimester. That means, of course, that she and I only got TWO TRImesters. Which I guess means that we got 2 semesters, really. If there is no third, a pregnancy can't really be divided into trimesters, right?
I still grieve the loss of that third trimester - for me, for her, for us. I REALLY wanted to get big and fat and waddly and complain about my hips hurting, not being able to get comfortable, not having any room to eat because the baby was taking up so much room in there. I REALLY wanted to have baby showers (which I did end up having, thankfully, but in a different way). I wanted to nest. I wanted to worry about where my water was going to break - what if I was in a patient's room at the hospital? Or in the middle of an IPR group with my awkward male supervisor?
Instead -- and I'm not saying this to be dramatic, it's just God's honest truth -- I planned Becca's funeral. I can still tell you where it was going to be, who was going to do what, where I wanted her remains placed. When I encounter an emotional trigger (like a child's funeral), I still find myself thinking about it and re-planning it. (Now she loves to sing "Jesus Loves Me," so we'll include that, for example.) Hello, post-traumatic stress disorder. It's good to see you're still sticking around. There's no reason to think at this point that I'll outlive Becca, but part of me is still all too acutely aware of that possibility. Because of that damn missing trimester.
If she understood it, I'm sure Becca would be grieving that trimester, too. It's the reason she's covered in IV scars. It's the reason she has to be fed through a hole in her stomach (what, all kids don't get "tummy milk"?). It's the reason I have to give her a shot every single night for the next 10 years. I's the reason she ran screaming from me when she saw me coming towards her with medicine. It's the reason she can't keep up with her peers in the classroom or on the playground. It's the reason why she can't jump, walk up or down stairs, get her hands messy or (we think at the moment) hear well. It's the reason that she'll be in multiple therapy disciplines for several more years. It's the reason that she's thrown up 11 times in the past 2 weeks. All because of 3 months we missed out on in 2008.
Mind you, I've very aware of how far she has come, and I'm grateful for every small step she makes, but I'm also becoming aware that she's likely not going to be one of the luckiest preemies who have fully recovered from their prematurity before they even realized they were different from other kids. I'm confident that with her personality she will deal with these differences with the stubbornness and humor that already fill my days with bemused exasperation. She'll be okay, even if she's not "normal".
But, darn it, I want that trimester back! I'd give my left arm to have that time with her developing properly inside me. (Of course, I am very aware that not everything goes perfectly with full-term babies, either, but, wow, getting our full 40 weeks would have given her a much better start!) But I can't. There is no rewind button in life, and even if there were, there's nothing I could do to change things. S^&t happens, and Becca and I got a crappy placenta and umbilical cord and a severe reaction in my body. What's done is done.
But what I can do -- what we can do together -- is to help other women (and maybe even myself someday) have full-term pregnancies. And you just might poop in your pants when you hear what I'm going to do about it.
In honor of the TRImester that Becca and I never had, I have signed up to participate in a TRIathlon.
Those of you who have known me a loooong time may remember that I was a vaguely athletic person at one point. Those of you who have gotten to know me in recent years are probably thinking, "Um. Okay. I'll believe it when I see it." And for those of you who don't know me personally, let me just tell you that it's going to take a heckuva lot of work over the next 10 weeks to haul all 196 pounds of me across that finish line.
It's the Ramblin' Rose women's-only triathlon, which will be held on May 15th in Nashville. It's a great length for a beginner - a 250 yard swim (10 pool lengths in a regular lap pool), a 9 mile bike ride and a 2 mile run. And I've already paid my $86.50 to register, so my cheap butt is going. to. do. this.
But, I need your help! Let me introduce you to a new (borrowed from a friend) logo:
In order to a) get me motivated to get into shape; and b) use this experience to actually help other families get all 3 of their trimesters, I'm asking you guys to sponsor my training...in dimes, of course!
I'm basing sponsorship opportunities on training units. One training unit = 1 mile run, 2 miles biked, or 150 yards swum. You can choose your sponsorship level: for example, if you sponsor 2 dimes per training unit and I run 2 miles one day, you'd donate $0.40 for that day's workout. I'm capping my training units (for sponsorship purposes) at 150, so the maximum donation a 1 dime sponsorship would necessitate is $15. All the money raised will go towards our March for Babies team. With only 7 weeks left until the March for Babies, I'll be pushing it to get to the 150 level, given how out of shape I am now. So your sponsorship will definitely be motivating to me!
If you are interested in sponsoring me, just leave a comment on this post, noting how many dimes per training unit you'd like to contribute. As always, your gift to the March of Dimes is tax deductible, and I'll provide you with a receipt after the March for Babies (which is on April 17th). Let's see how those dimes -- and my efforts -- can add up!
And don't forget - you can still sign up to be part of Itty Bitty Becca's Team and/or donate directly on our team page.
Thanks for being such a wonderful support system - for me and for Itty Bitty!