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24 Weeks. 24 Hours.

Day two arrived and we were still in this nightmare.

For the last 20 Saturdays, we would wake up and read about Baby Oldehoff before even getting out of bed. How big he was, his developments and how I should expect to feel. We would change the wooden blocks showing how many weeks until he arrives. Dan would take a photo of me and my belly. This was my favorite – watching Dan take the weekly photo of me. He always had a smile on his face behind the camera and you could see the love in his eyes as he looked at me.

This Saturday was much different. I was now 24 weeks pregnant… No photo, pain and sadness behind Dan’s eyes, no changing the weeks on the blocks, no text update about what size fruit he was, not this Saturday. Instead, we watched the clock, minute by minute, praying our son didn’t come any time soon.

11am. 24 Hours. We made it. Now 24 hours to go. Counting every hour, our next goal was to make it to 6pm.

We couldn’t help but question everything over the last 24 hours. I can’t even begin to explain our thought process or how we were feeling. Why is this happening? Why us? What did we do wrong? Remember that saying, “everything happens for a reason”? Don’t say that. Are we being punished? And then thinking about anything we’ve done we could be punished for. We tried to think of anything we could think of that could’ve caused this, where did we go wrong during pregnancy? Did we miss a sign? The thoughts and the questions we asked ourselves wouldn’t stop. We were beating ourselves down. Wake me up from this nightmare.

I was handled like a porcelain doll. No one wanted to move me, the doctor didn’t want to check how much I was dilated, it was like I was a ticking time bomb. It is possible I’m on bed rest for as long as it takes. I’m still inverted just enough to keep the pressure off. I was miserable already, but I’ll do whatever I need to keep him safe for as long as I can. How am I supposed to contain my emotions and stay calm during this? I had to, I know I did.  I used an app to help breath and relax, then decided to sing to Carter as I rubbed my belly. You Are My Sunshine, My Only Sunshine… I sang it over and over.

I was having a hard time breathing from the magnesium and couldn’t hold enough oxygen on my own. The monitor would go off frequently because my levels kept dropping. Although I was put on oxygen, baby and I are both stable and the contractions were gone. We can make it. I graduated from ice chips and popsicles to add in broth and sorbet (I never knew you could enjoy chicken broth as much as I did at that moment). The epidural was now at a minimum dosage. I was feeling okay about where we were at – he had good stats, stable, no contractions. I had hope that we would continue to reach our milestones. 6pm. Midnight. I continued my pep talks to Carter and sang when I needed to calm myself.

Dan didn’t leave our side. I couldn’t go through this nightmare without him… My rock. My strong side. He did everything he could to stay strong for us, but I know his heart was breaking as much as mine. Every moment that went by, we questioned what would happen next, how would we get through this, will our child be born in 4 hours or 4 weeks… I don’t have enough pages for the questions we asked ourselves, the thoughts we pondered, the statements we made…

6pm. Midnight. We watched the clock and our vitals all night long.

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