Tomorrow, I will be 24 weeks pregnant. On the message boards, women who have reached this week of pregnancy would celebrate their "V-day." I had no idea what this meant. Not wanting to sound stupid, I just kind of waited it out until it was explained or until someone else asked. Turns out that, when pregnancy-related, V-day means viability day.
I did some internet research and the consensus seems to be that 24 weeks is when the pregnancy is considered viable. One source said that, while the survival chance of a fetus delivered at 23 weeks was only 17%, that number more than doubles to 39% at 24 weeks (and continues to increase the longer the bun is in the oven). Before 24 weeks, hospitals will not necessarily do anything possible to medically intervene and save a baby delivered early. It's not because they're jerks...I'm sure it's because of key developments that have to happen in utero (I'm not a doctor, don't quote me on ANY of this).
So...while I obviously want this little dude or dudette to stay warm and toasty and safe for as long as possible, it's a huge relief to know that his or her survival chances just get better and better from here on out. God willing, we will go full term.
This milestone occurring this week made me think of some of my favorite pregnancy milestones so far. Really only two come to mind, and the second one happened last night: finding out I was pregnant, and my husband feeling the baby kick from the outside for the first time last night.
I wish I could accurately put into words how it felt seeing the positive pregnancy test and walking in to show it to Michael...whose eyes grew to the size of dinner plates in disbelief. Maybe one day I'll sit down and really try to type out the story: the way I felt, the way he felt, the whole hazy day of just going about our routine but occasionally staring off into the distance and smiling at each other, knowing that our lives had just changed. I feel like, since I'm terrible at writing things down and journaling, I should do that while my memory of that day is still pretty fresh.
The baby has, just in the last few days, REALLY started kicking. Well, s/he may have been kicking this whole time, but with the front-facing placenta (I will NEVER like that word...) I just haven't really felt it. But WHOA do I feel it now! Strong, hard kicks...sometimes so hard that, if I'm looking down at just the right moment, I can see my stomach move a little bit.
Last night, I made Michael sit right next to me on the couch so, if Baby got active, I could quickly grab his hand. This ornery child (gee, I wonder which parent that comes from...) would completely stop every time I put his hand on my stomach, but finally there was one hard kick right when I put his hand on my stomach. I didn't even have to ask "Did you feel that?" because I could see his head snap towards me in my peripheral vision. I looked over and he was smiling from ear to ear. Baby was kind enough to kick a couple more times, so he knew he wasn't imagining things.
I have to admit, I got super choked up immediately at this milestone for Michael. I can't imagine what it's like to be the husband. It probably doesn't start to feel real at all until your wife starts to really show (unless she's had a tough first trimester and a half, which luckily I did not), and then it must be hard to hear her talk about feeling the baby move when you can't feel it yourself. I am so happy that I can share this pregnancy with him going forward in this small way.
Feeling (and seeing!) these distinct movements has really brought this whole thing to a new level of reality for me, and now for Michael as well. It's taken almost 6 months, but I finally am very aware in a brand new way that we are having a baby. That it's not just something happening that I can't feel or see, but it's real and it has a personality (I think this baby LOVES music!) and it moves around and is just growing and changing every day.
I bet you're all happy to see a cynical, whiny sourpuss like me finally really getting into this, huh? I still hate sleeping on my side, and I want to cry when I see pictures pre-pregnancy and how close I got to my goal weight...I miss my body! So there's that, just to make sure you know that someone else didn't hijack my blog. :)