We’ve been quiet with updates recently, in part because it often seems like something is about to happen – then it doesn’t. It’s tough to write when there might be a major change within days. That’s still possible, but here’s the latest:
Our last blog in December delivered the wonderful news that Samuel was growing, right when the doctors saw signs he might be trailing off. This was one of the best Christmas gifts ever. We actually got to enjoy the holidays!
I was surprised at how little his situation was on my mind over Christmas week. Celebrating with Joanna’s family was great, and my sister’s family came up from Baltimore for five days. We wouldn’t have been part of those events if we were in the hospital over the holidays, and it was the closest I’ve ever felt to a reprieve: a wave of tragedy was approaching, then suddenly receded. It was a happy time.
Two weeks ago we had another ultrasound, and this delivered the news we had initially feared: Samuel’s growth had slowed way down. Babies are supposed to grow significantly in their final weeks, so this is generally a problem.
But this time the doctors had surprisingly little urgency regarding action we should take. Samuel was 37 weeks, which is basically full term, and they didn’t think an induction was necessary if we didn’t want one.
This was a surprise. We were packed and ready to go to the hospital at the first sign of trouble, but we decided to wait for a few days. Those days stretched into a week, and now two.
Yesterday we reached 39 weeks, and the doctors’ message is much the same: “If you want to induce, we’ll make it happen. If you want to wait, no problem.”
We’ve been wrestling with this difficult choice for two weeks now. Do we wait days or weeks more, hoping Joanna goes into labor naturally, risking the possibility of stillbirth along the way? Or do we induce, even though Joanna hasn’t progressed much toward labor? A long induction could be exhausting for Joanna, reducing the energy and attention she can give to Samuel after he’s born.
It’s a terribly difficult question to answer because of its consequences. Waiting on a natural start to labor could take a while, which gives Samuel’s health time to fail in the womb. A long induction could sap Joanna’s energy. And bringing Samuel into the world might mean he’ll die soon afterward – how can we decide to move that date any sooner?
I honestly don’t know how to make this decision, so we talk, and we pray, and we wait, hoping that either Joanna goes into labor naturally before Samuel passes away, or we both feel enough peace or a sense of urgency to start an induction. So far, neither has happened.
In the end, I still very much hope to meet Samuel alive. I have no idea if we’ll get that privilege, but we hope he’ll come soon, and that we’ll have energy to give him when he does.
Please continue to pray for us. We’re less than a week from Samuel’s due date, and it’s hard to believe we’ve made it this long! Please pray for him to arrive soon and grace for all the decisions we’ll need to make.