Rebecca’s initial due date was estimated to be Nov. 26, though it was later upgraded to Nov. 23. Basically, we expected her to be born this week , instead of being six weeks old already.
I know it doesn’t accomplish anything to play the “What If?” game, but purely as an intellectual exercise, here we go…
IF Rebecca had gone to term:
* My wife would have gained quite a bit more weight. As it was, she gained 35 pounds during the pregnancy and has now lost 28 of those pounds already. She was starting to experience sharp pains and swelling in her feet that went away immediately upon giving birth. Had she been pregnant for six more weeks, I don’t know how well she would have held up.
Due to the weight gain, she was having trouble sleeping. Six more weeks of no sleep?
* My wife planned to work until she gave birth (and she did). I wonder how well she would have handled six more weeks of driving to work and back four times a week. Especially since she was at the point of having to scoot the seat back to accommodate her belly. Before long, she wouldn’t have been able to reach the gas pedal.
* Rebecca would be a newborn now. That wouldn’t make much difference to us, except we feel like we’re a month or two ahead of the game. Rebecca is currently on schedule with most of her milestones as compared to many charts and lists we’ve found around the internet. So, using her gestational age, she’s six weeks ahead of most babies.
* Had Rebecca gone to term, we wouldn’t have spent four weeks driving back and forth to Temple to the NICU every day (often twice a day), and wonder what was going on when we weren’t there. How much gas did we burn? How many miles did we put on our cars?
If anything, these thoughts and questions have reminded us that it’s good to have a plan, but it’s even better to be ready for the plan to go bottom-up. Looking back, I think both Marline and I reacted well to the unexpected change in plans, rolled with the punches, and took things as they came.
It’ll be a while before that experience fades into the backgrounds of our memories and is more fully replaced by Rebecca’s current life. As it is, one of us says “NICU” at least twice a day, in casual conversation. Those four weeks drastically impacted us, and it shows.
We’re still in the “glad to have her home” stage of parenting, because she wasn’t at home for so long. Marline didn’t have a chance to have any postpartum depression, since she was keeping a stiff upper lip while Rebecca was in the NICU. Right after Rebecca came home, Marline had a day or so of being down emotionally, but perked back up quickly.
Overall, I think we’re glad things worked out the way they did, at least as far as that affects today.
Also, if our original plan had worked out, we’d be skipping Thanksgiving. As it happens, Marline has already bought turkey, ham, and a bunch of other holiday-related foods. Tomorrow, she’s going to cook most of the day while I watch our daughter, and then we’ll have Thanksgiving dinner as a family. Our first.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
(Remember, Rebecca has her own web page, complete with links to all her videos, images and blogs, as well as a list of all gifts we’ve received and a calendar of important milestones.)