So this past week, we experienced our first real worry when it comes to this child of ours. The doctor has stated that my wife may need to take early maternity leave because there is the possibility that the baby may be born prematurely if she continues her current level of activity, meaning her job. Normally, I would chalk this up to what I perceive as the Japanese’s tendency to treat pregnant women like fragile creatures, but there was some concern going into this pregnancy at the beginning.
Prior to leaving NYC over two years ago, my wife had a procedure done known as a cone biopsy. For those who don’t know what that is, it is where a piece of the cervix is removed in order to remove abnormal tissue that may progress into full blown cervical cancer. The side effect of this procedure is that it would thin out the cervix, thereby potentially causing complications with the woman’s ability to maintain pregnancy. It would only really manifest itself after the 6th month, which is exactly where we are. There are procedures that can help to stem this problem, but they have to be done early on in the pregnancy, around the 12th to 14th week, and most of the doctors we had seen prior to this pregnancy had taken a “let’s wait and see” approach. At this point, the best option is bed rest, so that may be the best course of action.
This news has obviously caused us some worry. Fortunately, we are already in the 3rd trimester of the pregnancy. At this point, if the baby were born right this minute, she (with the understanding that we’re not sure of the gender of the child)would have about a 90-95% chance of survival, although it would require technological aid. If we can hold off for another couple of weeks, that number jumps to a solid 95%, and there would be no need for technological intervention. This does ease some of the concern, but no one ever wants to hear that their child may be born prematurely. It’s a frightening word, and for the inexperienced parent, it causes me no end of fretting and consternation. We have a follow-up visit this Saturday to determine whether or not she will need to take early leave. I’m hoping that everything will end up being alright, but we will do whatever is best for the child.
The other day I was doing the laundry, and putting all the baby clothes to wash, when it occurred to me just how tiny our baby will be. We jokingly call the child “Tiny Tien” right now (thanks to a suggestion from a friend of ours), but it didn’t really hit me until I was hanging up the onesies and little socks that were given to us by friends and family back in New York. Most of these clothes will be outgrown within the first two months… but it amazes me that something so small will be under my care. The one piece of advice to first time fathers that was given to me from a friend (and I am hoping that it is very true indeed) is that babies are really hard to kill. Before people start charging at me with pitchforks telling me that I’m a monster for listening to that advice, he just meant that they aren’t as delicate as you think they are, and that you shouldn’t stress out over every little thing that may happen, or treat them like delicate Fabergé eggs. I just hope it means that my child will see the early tough times through like a champ.
I can’t wait to meet you Tiny Tien… but really, I can. Take your time, we’re all here waiting for you to be ready.