Today is a wonderful day. Today, my sister-in-law made it to 36 weeks.
37 weeks would be even better.
38 weeks would be grand.
39 weeks would be kind of funny.
40 weeks is starting to get just plain mean.
But 36 weeks is a collective sigh of relief. For 36 weeks is five weeks longer than Erin has ever been pregnant before. Fetus weeks are kind of like dog years...and those extra five weeks matter.
My nephew was almost three pounds when he was born, and spent ten weeks in the NICU. I saw him once, with his head the size of a tennis ball and his arms like pink, fleshy twigs. He was off the respirator at that point, but he was still hooked to monitors that beeped and hummed, keeping him safe as he grew in his artificial womb.
Doug and Erin got to hold William for fleeting moments---changing a diaper, taking a temperature, and restorative skin-to-skin "kangaroo care."
But when I met him for the first time, he was eating through a feeding tube, and spent much of his day sleeping and still.
I know that we're not completely out of the woods yet---and truly, you never know. But, seeing that number 36 on my calendar fills me with such joy, and such gratitude.
I will soon have a niece. A beautiful little girl to love. I get to be Auntie Nancy again.
But stay in there, little Kiri, for at least one more week. Cook a little bit more, because I know that your little feet and poochy belly are going to be just delicious.