Every week that I'm still pregnant past Zoe's preterm birth another superstition falls by the wayside. Most every possible reason I could come up with as to why Z was born early has fallen victim to logic.
The superstitions, erased:
Stress doesn't do it. Then: the lit mag's budget was cut in half. As editor, it was to be my primary source of income for the next year. Egg worked 60 hour weeks. I was finishing my dissertation. I'd never been pregnant before. Now: tenure-track, program director, furlough, Egg tries his hand at freelancing, Z coughs, book needs fine-tuning, book needs rewriting, book is coming out! but needs serious proofreading and marketing, economy, H1n1, Z's cough cough cough all fall long. (Maybe stress is the antidote to preterm labor. They don't call me Dr. for nothing.)
Lifting stuff doesn't do it. Then: garage sale, baby showers, gardening, nephew. Now: laundry, Christmas presents, ridiculously heavy school bag, daughter. (Admittedly, I gave lifting a rest between weeks 28-35 but now, I lift and lift on the off chance something will kick off this party. No avail.)
Exercise doesn't do it. Then: hiked the foothills behind the capitol. Now: ran, then walked, the forest (now not so much walking with the snow and the laziness. Not exercising also doesn't do it.)
Baby gifts don't do it. Then: several massive baby showers. Now: several individual gifts, still amounting massively.
Falling down doesn't do it. Then: didn't fall. Now: fell on Friday. Scraped my knee. Tore the one of two pair of maternity pants I like. Still, nothing.
Visiting the hospital doesn't do it. Then: never had opportunity to go on the tour before Z was born. Now: went on tour. Had a little PTSD. Hate the hospital. Asked about wireless. Felt a little better when I heard I could indeed be online whilst giving birth.
Altitude doesn't do it. Then: 4,400 feet elevation. Now: 7,000 feet elevation. Nope. Not so much.
There are a few other possibilities but whenever I ask the doctors (then and now) what might have happened with Z, they shrug. No one really knows. With this pregnancy, we could have started weekly progesterone shots when I began my first trimester but no one really knew how much that would help. It helps for babies born before 32 weeks but maybe not so much for water-breaking, 33 weekers. When I asked if we should start them, the doctors shrugged and asked me what I thought. I told them they only call me Dr. for fun. Egg thinks Z was just impatient. That thought makes me imagine Z in there with some really sharp fingernails stabbing the amniotic sac until she got her way. Possibly, but then what would make this one any more patient? Same genes. Same stubborn way. Maybe this one stubbornly wants to stay in.
This is good. Really good. I didn't even mention that I'd gotten past the Z date here because that too would have been superstitious and jinxy. But now I'm afraid of full term. Big babies. C-Sections. Only three weeks off before the whole thing (see stress) starts again.
Still. I'm mostly on break as of tonight. Maybe I can write this week. The last week. Ever. I wrote a lot during Z's first year but that was absent my current, very good but very full, (see stress) life. I'm going to write about the other possibilities of how these things work. And how they don't.