Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Viable

I'm at 29 weeks, five days. This is exactly the gestational age at which Charlie, of a Little Pregnant fame, was born. This comforts me. The data I've read say that 30-weekers have about a 95% chance of survival, with about a 2% chance of major disability. Statistics are helpful (especially to a math geek and research-addict like me) but knowing of an adorable little boy who loves Friendly's milkshakes, silver dollar pancakes, and imitating the cat, is reassuring. Even if I only know him through the computer.

Being beyond the "limit of viability" range relieves me beyond measure. Premature birth freaks the hell out of me. After reading The Preemie Experiment, other blogs, and tons of medical literature, A. and I had a long talk about our wishes if we were to have a "micro-preemie." We decided that at less than 25 weeks, we would want to the medical team to provide comfort care only. Between 25 and 26 weeks, we would look at the individual situation, talk with a neonatologist, and make a decision based on individual factors and the neo's expert opinion. Past 26 weeks, we would "allow" aggressive resuscitation measures. But then I found out that it's not that simple; it's apparently not really up to us. The Baby Doe Law and the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act tie the hands of parents and healthcare providers, and require them to give care, even if it is painful, near futile, and likely to result in a severely degraded quality of life. The former law is designed to protect the rights of the disabled, and the latter is an anti-choice stunt law that has ramifications beyond the reproductive fascism envisioned by its writers.

But now that we're getting to 30 weeks, there's really no question about the provision of medical care. Nobody will ask my opinion, and everyone will agree on the right course of treatment.

The next big milestone is 34 weeks, after which a birth would result in a "near-term infant." Not a big change, just terminology, but I think it corresponds to needing the NICU significantly less, or maybe not at all.

I'm finally starting to show. The Dunkin' Donuts guy let us in 15 minutes after the store closed, and gave us four doughnuts (we asked for 2) for the price of 1. I think it might have been because he noticed my belly.

And since I'm not allowed to announce it to anyone who actually knows him, I will say it here. My beloved A. has been a non-smoker for two and a half weeks now, after a 20-year habit. I'm very proud of him. And he's barely been an asshole at all during that time. (Thank you Zyban!)

1 comment:

The Preemie Experiment said...

Kuddos to you for having a plan if you had were to have a preemie.

With my first born, I was blindsided. With my son (7 1/2 years later) I had a plan.

Congrats on being past 30 weeks!

Stacy