Babies born at 23 weeks can survive, but that doesn’t mean they will be as well off as babies born at term, or even seven weeks later. After my surgery, the doctors gave us every horror story they could think of to remind us how important it is for me to follow every order and take it easy. Babies born at 23 weeks run an extremely high risk for heart problems, lung problems, blindness, mental retardation, and various other disabilities. They survive, but at a high price. If my babies came now, they would probably live, but it might not be a very good life. But if I even take them another seven weeks, their survival is virtually guaranteed, they’ll be able to eat and see and breathe, and they’ll most likely grow up normally. There was a set of triplets born at 23 weeks at my hospital earlier this year. They’re still in NICU and will probably be there for another six months or so.
When we first found out about our triplets, the doctor said that expected gestation for triplets was 32 weeks. He said that every additional baby takes four weeks off the expected due date. Since the cerclage, though, he has been much more supportive of my goal, which is 37 weeks, or Christmas. In fact, I went in this morning, and he’s not even scoffing at the idea that I could keep them out of the NICU altogether, which is a really good sign. Up until now, every time I mentioned my goals of 37 weeks and no NICU he kind of laughed it off, but now he’s taking me seriously, so I guess I’m doing pretty good!