A Fragile Balance

I am typically considered a glass-half-full kind of girl.  I hope and expect good things will happen, but when bad things go down, I accept that as part of life and try to make the best of it.  I understand that suffering is a part of every life, that I will have my fair share.  Despite my bend towards the positive, I will admit these ideas about life’s balance of good and bad are sometimes far easier to embrace in theory.

Today, on my 33rd birthday, I write from the hospital bed I’ve been inhabiting for the last 11 days.  I had planned to be preparing for a night out with Jeff, followed by a camping trip with friends to celebrate another year of life; instead, I’m on bedrest in order to give our new daughter the best possible chance to have a healthy start in her life.  I have literally not left this room for 10 days and don’t foresee actually leaving the hospital for another 4 or 5 weeks.  This is obviously not ideal.  I have a small child at home who relies on me for most things; I have a precious marriage where I carry various responsibilities and handle much of the house running; and I have a personal rhythm of life that includes a lot of activity.  But all of these things have been delegated or paused as I follow the doctor’s orders in the hope of a labor closer to our June due date.  My condition is called cervical failure, and it basically means I’m at very high risk of pre-term labor.  I feel completely healthy and this makes the whole hospital experience all the odder.  I have nurses and midwives doing nearly everything for me, even those things I’m perfectly capable of doing myself, all in the effort to avoid gravity, infection or activity starting labor.  I spend the day being brought meals, accepting visitors, and entertaining myself as the hours pass and our baby grows.  While it sounds luxurious, I also had to leverage my birthday for permission to take a shower and was just granted permission because it’s a special occasion.  I haven’t felt the sun, been in my home, or had reliable privacy in 11 days.

At 29 weeks young, our daughter is the priority right now and her family is sacrificing so that she’ll be as healthy as possible.  Oma flew down right after I was hospitalized and has been an amazing support, taking care of Rayna and helping Jeff, all the while negotiating the cultural and language trials that come with Chile.  Jeff and Rayna have adapted to days without my presence, and their visits every other day are my favorite thing  We are all doing fine, and preparing to maintain this strange existence for as many weeks as possible.  One day in utero will be 3 less our new baby would have to spend in the NICU, or so we are told.  We balanced the risk to our tiny baby versus the benefits, and decided that hospitalized bedrest, while seemingly extreme, was something we would tolerate for the well-being of our girl.  And so this is our new reality, one where we live apart and continue waiting to see how things unfold.

Most days, we are full of gratitude that we are not in a tragic situation and there is still hope that our daughter will have time to grow well before making her grand entrance.  Other days, I am just sad, missing my family and the freedom to leave my elegant jail cell.  But on balance, these days are worth all the emotional strain, even the missed time together.  This is what adulting is, choosing to focus on the long vision instead of indulging in what we want now (what I want now, for the record, is to go for a run in the mountains, drink coffee at the park with my family, and maybe end the day with a crisp Saison).  This situation is hard, but we all know there are no guarantees that tomorrow will be as we planned, and we are living that reality.  We are counting each day, grateful that it has passed and our girl is one day stronger.  And I guess that’s all we can do, in this fragile balance.  Love today.  So enjoy your freedom, your mundane burdens, your time with those you love.  These are precious things and it would be a shame to take them for granted.

Thank you to all who are praying for us, who have brought meals, visited, checked in or lent a hand.  We are so glad to be part of a family of friends that care well for each other and we love you all.  Abrazos!

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