Everyone has dealt with a pending deadline for a big project, or waited with anticipation for life's big moments. I'm no stranger to such deadlines or anticipation.
This whole experience is so significantly different, however, because I don't know what will happen next. Granted, as we wait for our wedding day we probably don't know exactly what will happen next either, but we have dreams and ideas. Even if we don't know what the details will look like we know that things will be different when it's over. That whatever we face, we will not face alone.
Five to ten minutes.
That's how long they tell us it will take to know if Siena is likely to respond to short term interventions.
If we pass that hurdle, two to three days to determine what her long term outcome might be.
By this time next week we will know a lot more than we know right now.
Yet that has so many different faces I don't know how to prepare myself.
Will she be born with healthy lungs? Everyone agrees that medically this would be nothing short of miraculous. It isn't that I don't have faith this could happen, it's that I have no right to assume that it will and acting like it will could have long term consequences if it doesn't.
If her lungs are healthy, what about her kidneys? Working fine (again, this would be nothing short of miraculous)? There but not functioning? Not there at all? What about her bladder? What are the long term options? Are there any even? It really depends on who we talk to on any given day.
Will her life be able to be sustained, but without changing the outcome in the long run and she eventually dies in a few days or a week? Her life is worth every moment that she has regardless, but it's extremely overwhelming for me. To think of exchanging those first five to ten minutes in my arms for days in an incubator if it doesn't change anything is next to impossible.
Will her life be able to be sustained, but result in long term consequences? How long will she be in the hospital? What will her quality of life look like in a few weeks, months, or years? Without knowing the exact problem, I can't even look for similar experiences and moms who can help me know what to prepare for.
Will her lungs be too sick to help her at the time of birth and her life will be only a matter of minutes or hours? If that's the case, by this time next week she could be gone from this life.
In any case, I'm forced to acknowledge its possible...maybe even likely. This time next week I could be planning a funeral, facing her imminent passing, making a long term care plan for a very sick baby that extends the journey we are already on, or still waiting for answers.
At this point, any predictions are little more than guesses.
Now we don't know...but next week we will.
There is a great amount of faith and trust required to take the next steps here. And in the meantime, more waiting. The days slip by in a blur, faster than I can even process them. In many ways, I wish they would slow down as I know my time with her may be coming to an end. In other ways, I wish they would come more quickly as an answer, no matter what the answer is, is at least an answer.
I feel like I'm waiting for someone to tell me what the rest of my life will look like. At the very least, what the rest of my year will look like. Just the past four months have already changed me irreversibly and I wonder what this next stage will bring.
Yet, if you ask me, I will tell you I am at peace with what happens next and I am. I know that the long term outcome is in God's hands and that good will come (and has come) from Siena's life regardless of how long that turns out to be.
What I'm terrified of is the short term details.
Five minutes on bated breath.
Five minutes that I know will change my life even more.