37 Weeks: The Words Every Preemie Mom Dreams to Hear

BL, as in “before Luke” I could often be found saying, “Oh, I hope I deliver early, because I am miserable.”

Then we endured a living 44-day hell, plus some, in the neonatal intensive care unit. My perspective changed. I saw what a 24-weeker, a 31-weeker, a 35-weeker and everything in between looked like outside the womb.

I won’t ever say those words again. And, it’s why I cringe when I hear other women utter them without a second thought. I get it, I know that your heartburn is killing you, your sciatica is immobilizing and your ankles aren’t even recognizable. I feel your pain when the baby pounds on your bladder, punches you in the ribs, steals your lung space and you waddle everywhere you go. But I will tell you that your misery is worth it. Every last bit of it. I’ve seen early, and trust me sister, you don’t want to.

leap of faith

Today marked a milestone. 37 weeks. In OB world it’s considered full-term. Y’all do not even know how much I prayed for a full-term baby this go ’round.

It’s also the reason I’m starting to hyperventilate and I made a 911 call to my friend, Bonnie, yesterday. You see, pregnancy and birth after a traumatic experience is um, shall we say, full of knee time? I’ve said before that this pregnancy has been incredibly healing, both for me and our entire family. With the exception of last week’s cray-cray, it’s been boring all the way.{ Sidenote here: my amniotic fluid levels have almost tripled since last week! } But, there is a part of me that is wondering if the birth experience will be healing or equally traumatic.

No need to get all Anne Hathaway, Kathryn.

The truth is, I’m not sure I fully came to terms with just how scared and frightened I was during Luke’s delivery. Now that I’m inching closer to show time, some of those emotions are bubbling forth. For one, I’m realizing that in order to have the birth plan for this baby that God intended, I’m going to have to let some things go.

Luke’s birth changed me. Permanently.

I have an amazing husband and he would make the most fantastic doula. He would, y’all. I know that without him, I would not be able to weather this upcoming labor.

In the delivery room, there is only one thing I can control: how I react to labor. The rest is not up to me.

My mind keeps imagining the perfect birth, with the perfect pictures and the perfect moments. It’s likely it will happen in a distinctly different way than my human brain can imagine, but it will still be beautiful nonetheless. If God’s a part of it, how can it not be?

My prayer these last few weeks has been for God to replace my fear and anxiety with hope, joy and trust. I started asking for Padre Pio to intercede and then promptly switched to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. I don’t need shenanigans from him right now.

It’s funny how life works. Last night, I spent the evening eating dinner and visiting with a sweet friend who lost her husband to a failed heart transplant a few weeks ago. He was 36. As I sat and listened to her reminisce, teared up as she shared her struggles and laughed as we shared a few memories, I was reminded that most of the things we carry on our crosses are so meaningless. We worry about the wrong things. We get caught up in the drama and forget to live. We forget to be.

We forget to trust.

As the days march forward and we anticipate the newest addition to our family, I’m working hard to just love. Above all things, love. I’m also begging for YOUR prayer intentions. I plan on taking them with me into the labor and delivery room. For me, I’ve found that when I pray for other people, I’m able to put my own intentions into the proper perspective. So, load me up. Whether you post them in the comments below, direct message me on Facebook or Twitter, or shoot me an email, teamwhitakerblog{at}gmail{dot}com, I want to pray for you.

I really, really do.

And, thanks for listening to a pregnant lady ramble!


  1. Colleen on April 9, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Hi Kathryn! I’ll be praying for you that you have an uneventful labor that progresses quickly and brings you nothing but joy.

    My intention request is for couples dealing with infertility. Thanks! Best of luck!

  2. Bea on April 9, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Okay, momma. Remember Luke’s last surgery? His BRAIN surgery? How it come about so quickly, yet all came together, was scary to think about yet went so perfectly? That is what I’m praying for this go round. Because everyone gets scared, nervous, you can’t wait but you’re not ready, and us PTSD moms get a little more crazy than the rest. With all of that my you have a reassurance, a peace, a trust that this sweet baby and you will have a healing delivery and postpartum stay just like this pregnancy has been. May you remember the miracle of life not because it tenaciously holds on hour by hour but because of the joy and beauty of birth. May you witness the magnificence of God’s creation in a robustly healthy baby instead of being humbled by the smallest of warriors that fight their bodies’ imperfections. (Though Luke and Caleb are pretty dang near perfect in our eyes.) May you welcome the 8th member of Team Whitaker and catch yourself suspended in a moment when all is right and wonderful in your world because it truly is and blessings abound.

  3. Cindy15905 on April 9, 2014 at 8:58 am

    I will be thinking/praying/rejoicing for you as you walk through this time. <3

    If you could add this to your prayer intention list for me:
    That mothers of teenagers be as kind and gentle but consistent with their kiddos as when they were toddlers. I am seeing a lot of my friends losing heart as their children are getting older. I would pray that God softens their hearts to see that a child is a treasured gift to a mommy whether that child is 1 day old or 17 years old.

    Hugs to you and your sweet family!!

  4. Michelle on April 9, 2014 at 9:01 am

    If I could offer up a prayer intention for a family in our community…

    Mitch is a father of 3 and a super great guy with the most positive attitude and grateful heart. For over 2 years, he has been battling stage 4 cancer, as well as multiple hip and leg fractures that just will not heal over. He broke his hip again four weeks ago, but it was missed by his doctor. He has been in incredible pain and confined to a wheelchair most of the time. Today he has another scan to check for the cancer and I know his family is hoping that the cancer has at least not spread, because adding chemo would be nearly impossible right now.

    Please pray for healing for Mitch. Please pray for strength, grace and mercy for his family (wife Candi, son Adam (17), daughter Hope (15) and daughter Faith (10). Thank you.

  5. Jazlyn on April 9, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Kathryn, I truly hope that this birth is the healing birth that you desire, but I will be praying that God will give you the strength to endure whatever is to come. My husband and I are trying to conceive our second child, but are facing some fertility issues and would be incredibly honored if you would offer us up in prayer.

  6. Natalie on April 9, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Best to you and your family as you prepare for baby! Thank you for sharing your anxieties about labor and delivery. It’s comforting to know that even someone who has gone through it many times can have those feelings. I have two children so far, and the birth experience couldn’t have been more different for each! I was surprised at how little control we have over the whole process.
    Please pray for my aunt Rebecca who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. It’s been a hard life for her: she has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for years, and she’s never been able to face her addiction to alcohol. She is only 50, has two children and two grandchildren; so much to live for. Thank you.

  7. Dana on April 9, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Kathryn, I will definitely keep you in my prayers! And I just *might* be one of those moms of a teenager that Cindy is talking about, so please keep me in your prayers.

    My prayer request for your labor and delivery time is for Katie Kalina. Katie Borski Kalina is a sweet 24 year old mom of two young children with her third on the way. She suffered a stroke on March 22nd and underwent surgery to remove a large piece of her skull to make room for the swelling of her brain. She is now starting rehab to regain movement on her left side. Please pray for her complete recovery and for the health of her unborn baby. She is doing better, but has a long road ahead. Thanks!

  8. Bonnie on April 9, 2014 at 9:41 am

    I wish I could give you a big hug and buy you a Dr. Pepper.

    I will pray for you and I ask that you pray for me. It probably seems pretty small potatoes, but I’m really trying to stick with exercise and better eating. Time to lose the baby weight and be healthy!

  9. Caitlyn on April 9, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Praying for you! I look forward to the announcement of the new team member!

    if you could keep my grandmom, Sue, in your prayers. She’s going through a really, really rough patch physically, emotionally and spiritually. Also for my friend’s dad, his name was James, who just passed away. This is a family who has buried a brother, a sister, and a grandbaby all in 1.5 years so to lose their dad so suddenly is very difficult.

  10. Amy on April 9, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I will be praying for you and your sweet baby! Please pray for my parents Bill and Vicki to come home to the Catholic Church.

  11. Beth (A Mom's Life) on April 9, 2014 at 11:59 am

    So glad your fluid levels have tripled and that you made it to the 37 week mark! I will be praying that your delivery is smooth, quick and easy!

    Please pray for Rebecca. My C-Section is tomorrow at 9:00 and even though I’ve had two before, I’m starting to get a little nervous. I am assuming my nerves are stemming from Rebecca’s diagnosis. Any and all prayers are appreciated!

    • Kathryn on April 10, 2014 at 12:06 am

      Beth you’re already on the list dear! Holding your many intentions close and may God’s strength be enough for you in the coming days and weeks.

  12. Lisa on April 9, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    I have never commented on your posts before, but I find such inspiration from your blog. I, too, am a mother to a baby who spent time in the NICU. She is our 4th and has spina bifida. We are learning all kinds of things from her and have learned not to take anything for granted. Recently, we found out we are expecting again. Please pray for a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and BABY! It is a scary place to be right now, not knowing if all of this could happen again. But, we trust in the Lord and know that with Him anything is possible. Know of my prayers for you, your sweet family, and your unborn baby. May God bless you with a beautiful delivery and healthy baby!

  13. Mamabearjd on April 9, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I had 4 full term babies who needed coaxing out, and then 6 weeks ago my water broke at 38 weeks. Everything was ok, but I was a little worried and felt guilty for wanting him to come early.
    I took my prayer intentions with me, in checklist form, on evernote on my phone. That might appeal to you as a fellow OCD, I mean, organized mama.

    I would ask for prayers for sick children and the parents who watch them suffer.

    Praying for you.

  14. Emily C. Hurt on April 9, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    will pray. Please pray for my financial situation, that I find a full-time job and can pay my just debts. (like taxes, which nearly gave me a panic attack the other day.)

  15. Christy from fountains of home on April 9, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Oh, Kathryn. I’ve never had a premature baby, so I can only imagine what you’re experiencing, but I do know how real and difficult anxiety in pregnancy is and how desperately we hope and wait while pregnant. You’re doing such a great job acknowledging the fears and anxiety while remaining faithful and hopeful and I’m praying for you! I’ve prayed and prayed and worried and worried to make it to 37 weeks, my second son was born at 36 weeks 5 days so I became a little more nervous with the three pregnancies after that.

    If you’re looking for prayer requests I’d appreciate prayers for my brother’s conversion.

  16. Natalie G. @ "Here I Am" on April 9, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    As an almost finished nursing student who is trying to get started in OB and move onto become a midwife and a passionate Catholic I think offering up your labor as a prayer is incredibly powerful with crazy souls saved. Whoa. You can do this. It would be awesome if you could pray for my future job and vocation and my brother’s conversion.

  17. Colleen on April 9, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Shanegins from Padre Pio! I literally laughed out loud. #catholichumor

    Prayers for you and your little bundle of joy!

    • Colleen on April 9, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      Shenanigans * spellings not my thing

  18. Jennifer @ Little Silly Goose on April 9, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    So glad to hear you’re full term and your fluid levels are better!

    This Lent I’m praying especially for my husband and father that their relationship with our Lord would be strengthened. I want them to really know, love, trust, and live for Him. If you would like to join me in that prayer, that would be wonderful.

  19. Kelly Daniel on April 9, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    We will definitely be praying for you.

    I know you’ll understand my prayer request, so here goes: I’ve seriously been having baby fever, after having twins at 28 weeks almost 2 1/2 years ago. My need for prayers is so I can get some peace about my own intentions. I cannot figure out if I want to have another baby because I really, actually, want to have another baby or if it is because I think it will somehow “fix” our previous situation. If you could pray for some clarity for me, I would definitely appreciate it.

  20. Kristin on April 9, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    So happy you’ve made it this far!! I know how stressful things can be after you’ve had a less than textbook pregnancy/delivery. Praying all goes well these last few weeks and for a safe delivery!

    Please remember my SIL Katie who is dealing with an aggressive form of cancer. She’s got a sweet one year old she wants to see grow up and a beloved hubby she wants to grow old with.

  21. DeLaine on April 9, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Best Wishes to you and your family. My prayers will be coming your way. My wish is that you pray for couples suffering from infertility. Thank you.

  22. Katie on April 9, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    This post is beautiful–you are so right, “we forget to trust.” Thank you for sharing this perspective–one I need right now! I’m almost 33 weeks, and after a miscarriage, infertility, and subsequently “meeting” many women online who have suffered late term loss/stillbirth… part of me says this is too good to finally be true, and I worry a lot. So much so that I often wish she would just come early, so then I could just look at her and know she’s alive and breathing (as opposed to thinking “I haven’t felt her in a while? Is she ok? Has she stopped moving? Is she getting tangled in her cord?”) … does that make sense? But I can absolutely see your perspective too, and well, let’s just hope she stays put for another 4 weeks… and comes shortly after that 🙂

    Anyway, if you pray for me during labor that would be so nice, but it would be even better to say those prayers for my friends still dealing with infertility, especially for Bethany.

    Thank you!

  23. JO on April 9, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    I’m the mother of 2 NICU moms and saw how stressful it was for them so will pray for a safe and healthy delivery, as well as for peace, hope, and trust for you and your family.

    Please keep my children in your prayer intentions that God will gently call them back to His grace, and that they will answer His call with a resounding, “Yes, Lord!”

  24. Molly on April 9, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Praying for you! We’re trying to conceive again after two miscarriages in one year. Trying to learn to trust God’s will, but I just want a baby I can see and touch so badly right now. x

  25. Lauren on April 9, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Praying for you, Kathryn, and your sweet baby… for a peaceful and safe delivery in whatever way the Lord has in mind. Also praying for your peace. I believe we are about the same age (I’m nearly 39) and had my 5th last Spring. I have found that for me, the anxiety about pregnancy/labor/delivery has gotten worse with age, thereby with each pregnancy. And those were mostly boring pregnancies. So, I’ll definitely pray for your peace.
    If you would pray for my husband to settle into his new job, I would appreciate it. He’s a new grad nurse practitioner, which we spent years discerning and working towards achieving, and his job is kicking him in the teeth. It’s been so overwhelming for him… and for us at home to see him so defeated. It would mean a lot if you prayed for him. And for the family of my best friend who passed away unexpectedly last month, and the comfort of my heart.
    I loaded you up! Thanks, love! xoxo

  26. Laura on April 10, 2014 at 9:02 am

    I will keep you and Baby in my prayers! My husband and I just moved to Michigan for my job and the Mr. is currently stressed about getting work. So pray for him to find work, for us to discern where to live and that ultimately God blesses us with children of our own. Thank you!

  27. Elizabeth on April 10, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Praying for a boring, safe delivery for your newest little one! I really enjoy reading your blog and I’m so excited for your family. I also enjoyed the Padre Pio reference! 🙂
    We are experiencing secondary infertility following miscarriages and are hoping for another little one to love, soon, we hope! Your prayers for us would be so greatly appreciated.

  28. Nicole on April 10, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Kathryn – This blog post was filled with much emotion and revelation. You are an inspiration to put those feelings out there (“I’m not sure I fully came to terms with just how scared and frightened I was during Luke’s delivery… I’m realizing that in order to have the birth plan for this baby that God intended, I’m going to have to let some things go.”). I think it’s so important for others to learn that it’s okay to have these feelings. To draw from them. To pray about them. And to accept them. I think this post was so very powerful. Prayers your way for a textbook-style delivery.

    If you are looking to add to your list, could you offer up a prayer for my sister? She’s pregnant (about 5 months along) with her second child – a boy. She and her husband suffered through 8 (yes, 8) miscarriages before conceiving this baby. In order to keep her pregnant, she has many strict doctors orders to follow. Please pray for her to carry a healthy baby. Thank you so very much.

  29. Karen on April 10, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Thanks so much for this post. I am 25 (26?) weeks along with #3. Have had anxiety about each delivery followed by very easy, straightforward deliveries with both, especially the second, but am already having anxiety about this delivery. That it won’t be as easy as my second one and I’ll not be able to cope. It’s totally ridiculous. I love the idea of taking intentions into labor. I am going to do exactly that this time and already I feel more at peace.

    I feel like any of my intentions will be fluff compared to what’s already here, but I pray for a return to the church for my sister, I pray that I can instill a love of faith in my children, and I pray that my husband can come around to the idea of NFP (our “accident” #3 isn’t helping and he wants to get snipped).

  30. Sarah on April 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Best wishes for a full term and easy delivery!

    Since you asked for prayer requests… I am in RCIA right now and considering coming into the Catholic Church, but for right now that leave me sort of denomination-less and sometimes that’s really hard. However, many of these are a much bigger deal than mine.

    • Kathryn on April 21, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      Count on it, Sarah!

  31. LeAnna on April 24, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    For a first baby, my son’s birth was very traumatic (http://theporterslodge.blogspot.ca/2012/08/walters-birth.html) although I didn’t realize how much so until it was time to give birth to #2. And it was that second labour which brought me the most healing from the fear I’d been left with. I pray that God grants you a healing and joyful experience, and that all goes smoothly.

    Please remember my family in your prayers — we need God to bring us to the next place He wants us to settle and this transition period is such a burden some days.

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