Week 40 - The Last Full Week

Dear Kaylee,

This was your last full week in utero. During your mother’s visit to the doctor this Tuesday, it was decided that, if you hadn’t come by then, labor would be induced on the following Tuesday, March 14. The decision was made for a number of reasons, but, most of all, it was a decision made to ensure your safety, as well as your mom’s. Though your mother’s blood sugar levels had been consistently good since she began to taking medicine to control the problem, and though you had passed each of the twice-a-week non-stress tests you’d faced in these last few weeks, the doctor thought it was best to get you delivered before a problem arose.

Your mother and I were absolutely fine with the decision. In fact, we breathed a sigh of relief. One way or another, you would be here in a matter of days. The guessing game — will she arrive on a weekday or a weekend?; will she arrive early or late — was a game that neither of us enjoyed very much. So we were happy that it was almost over.

You and your mother were progressing nicely, we learned on Tuesday. As of that morning appointment, your mother was 75% effaced and 1 to 2 centimeters dilated. You remained head down, at the same position in the uterus, -1 station. During the non-stress test on Friday, because you weren’t moving enough during the standard test, an ultrasound version of the test was conducted, from which we gained some additional information. The placenta was begun to decline in efficiency, a normal sign of a pregnancy nearing its end. And your mother got to sneak a peek at a blurry, almost unrecognizable shot of your face on the monitor. Your eyes were closed, and you were holding one arm up near your head, but that was about all she could tell. That was about all I could tell, too, when I took a glance at the printout later on.

But, to see your face, in any form, was truly moving for me. These past few days, I had begun a descent into an almost non-stop state of panic. I’d been distracted at work, jumpy whenever the phone rang — even today, with your mother sitting right next to me — and just generally disbelieving the facts of my life. You were less than a week away, and then less than five days away, and tonight, with your mother feeling all kinds of activity she’d never felt before, you might have been mere hours away. But your face calmed me, that blurry, black and white, almost indistinguishable photograph of you. Your face put me at ease, something I found myself hoping that my face would one day do for you.

“You could arrive any day now.” It seems so trite to say that again and again, but every day that sentence took on new meaning. Or, rather, every day I got one step closer to understanding what that sentence really meant, to understanding what change lay beyond the period at the end of it. Kaylee, in these last few days, I was scared and hopeful, nervous and excited. But I couldn’t wait to see your face, for real. I couldn’t wait to see what unpredictable emotions would come over me when I saw you again for the very first time.

Love, Dad