“Good Hearted” Advice

“Your holding her too much”, “She’s getting used to you holding her”, “hold her like this when you feed her”, “give her gripe water” ….. The list of unsolicited advice goes on forever and ever. Next time I meet a new mom I will remember to put my ” filter” on. Everywhere I go, No matter what I do as soon as people know or see that I have a baby they all of a sudden start spitting out advice like vomit. Its projectile, offensive and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If I dont ask then I am comfortable with whatever it is that I am doing so there is no need for you to offer your thoughts or
correction notes. Because what your really doing to a new mom is shattering her self esteem… Making that mom feel unsure and she questions herself. As if being a mom isnt hard enough.
I want to ask these these underpaid, over qualified experts where they got their degree because as far as I know child rearing is an open ended course that goes on for life and that no one graduates from… Particularly because its an ongoing, continuing education course, where the content changes with time and often has an infinite amount of variables and changes with each senerio and child.

… If I wasn’t insecure being a first time mom then any ounce of confidence I had would be chopped up like a chick from any of the texas chainsaw massacre renditions. And for those of you who have never seen Texas Chainsaw Massacre… Well it is raw and torturous.
From the soap I use to wash my baby’s clothes to how I feed my baby I feel like a jury has convicted me of incompetency. I would like to ask: “what is it you think I am doing the other 6 days of the week when your not around to tell me how I should wipe my daughters bottom?”

The truth of the matter is that this so called “good hearted” advice will always be offered and cant run from it. So my message to all new moms is to stay cool. Your doing fine. Your baby loves you no matter what you wash their clothes with. The only people you need to listen to is yourself and most importantly your baby 🙂 Relax and Enjoy!

This smile tells me I am doing a great job 🙂

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Ignorance is Blind but Now I See.

Until you have a premature baby you can’t really understand what it is! I was speaking to a friend the other day and she said to me “… but everything is good now. Right?”. Not to begin a very long drawn out conversation and rekindle alot
of many old and remaining emotions I replied “… Right!”.

I can’t really get upset with ignorance. I too was ignorant. I remember myself saying to a friend of mine whose sister had a 28 weeker “…but the baby is doing good right?”. I remember him pausing and saying. “…yes. But …” and then he stopped and ended that conversation. Looking back I want to slap myself now that I am aware. Aware of all the emotions that follow you out of the NICU. Anxiety, pain, anger, fear, sadness…. There are also positive emotions however the negative ones are the ones that still sting.

When I return to work I will seek out my friend to apologize for my ignorance. It won’t make things right but at least he will know that I understand.

No one understands until they walk the walk themselves so I can’t get upset. This has taught me one thing. Just LISTEN. As much as you think your comment may help …. That’s my advice for today…

~ Chronicles of a Preemie Mom

Big Girl Pants!

I thought leaving the NICU all the emotions and craziness would end. HA! Was I WRONG! Getting Aaliyah home was my dream. A dream that was so far away when she was born but now it is here. In the flesh for me to live !!! I am suppose to live happily ever after now right? WRONG. I am off the roller coaster and have entered a tornado of thoughts and worries… There are still many worries… Is she getting enough?, Gotta give her vitamins?, Is she gaining weight?, Ughhh, I still have to pump…How does this reflux work?… I hope she doesn’t get sick… And the list goes on…

Since Aaliyah has come home I have not had more than 4 consecutive hours of sleep, I have now become the master examiner of baby poop, google is my new best friend – spend most my nights with her, and I have learned how to take a shower in less than 5 minutes … Those are just few of many things …

So after a couple of tough days, a couple hours of crying it out with mom on the phone, and a nice hot shower (longer than 5 minutes) I decided to put my big girl pants on and plough through the storm 🙂

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Miss Nine Hundred and Ten Grams

We went to see Aaliyah’s pediatrician this week and the little Miss is now just over 3 kilos!!!!! The climb has been slow but she is doing great. I couldnt be more proud. What progress. From a peanut to a walnut.

Any baby is a real life miracle. People say miracles are rare but I say they happen every minute, every second of the day. I thank God for my daughter everyday. And I thank my daughter everyday for reminding me that I am blessed 🙂

I have a little celebration inside for her life everytime she smiles, coos or even cries. When I look at her I am in love all over again.

My Princess Warrior.
Aaliyah:
Definition: to ascend.

The NICU Rollercoaster

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Because that is what it is. A rollercoaster ride. NICU stands for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

When we were told our baby would most likely be delivered  prematurely we were spoken to about the NICU – where we were told Aaliyah would spend a couple months until she was a “full term” baby. The experience was described as a rollercoaster ride. It was also described as feeling as if you are taking 2 steps forward and 1 or sometimes 3 steps backs.

At the time I didn’t think about it and thought “okay that won’t be us” . Well. I was wrong. No one ever thinks that it will happen to them. Well I was humbled for lack of a better term.

THE ROLLERCOASTER RIDE

UP: First Cuddles a couple days after birth : holding her close skin to skin, feeling her live tiny body next to mine was the greastest feeling. I was scared to hold her at firstbut couldnt wait everyday after that.

DOWN: After being discharged from the hospital, the first night leaving Aaliyah was heart shattering… And every night after that…

UP & Some Loops: The first two weeks there were some sublte peaks and valleys – this is reffered to as the honeymoon period. Aaliyah was doing great and she was reffered to as a “sleep & grow” baby. Meaning she had very few issues. Don’t get it twisted, even having a “sleep and grow” baby will put you on the coaster. Leaving Aaliyah every night was a struggle, being at the hospital everyday was tough.  These things alone are enough to throw you around a bit.

The overall mood of my day depended on how Aaliyah did that day, how many times did she forget to breath… If she had a lot of these episodes during our cuddles it felt worse. I felt responsible, guilty, just overall terrible. Although these episodes are common in premature babies it still worried me.

ULTIMATE LOW/Twist & Turns: At the two week mark, like a giant unexpected drop and turn, Aaliyah developed a serious bowel infection called necrotizing enterocolitis (http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/digestive/nec.html). This was the lowest part of our stay at the NICU. It was heart wrenching to see this little precious girl go through it. We hung on to every little positive feedback from nurses we could get… things like “wow, she is fiesty” gave us hope.  Analyizing there facial expressions as they examined our little girl… LOOKING FOR ANYTHING TO HOLD ON TO. How did it happen so fast? She was doing so well! It is truely the scariest thing I have ever had to deal with.

Steady & UP: About 5 days later the docs told us she was recovering. YAY! I celebrated but only on the inside.

After this I was so cautious. When people asked me how she was I would reply ” she is okay” or “she is stable”. I would be afraid to say the she was “well” or “great”. I was afraid to say it… Afraid to believe she was going to be okay. I definitey believed… but only on the inside. I thought that if I let myself believe outloud I would be wrong. I didnt even like recieving gifts for her. Even when nurses would speak about when Aaliyah goes home I would get this flash of aniexty. As exciting as that thought was, I didnt want to talk about that even just in case it didnt happen. I reserved myself. Didnt want to get my hopes up unless there was a guarantee that Aaliyah would be coming home. This was the worst part of the experience. Holding back from feeling joy and celebrating the milestones because you are preoccupied with what will happen next. All any parent wants I think is to get a guarantee that their baby is going to be okay.

The journey at the NICU was more steady, on the up, after that however I still remained guarded. I had more questions, paid more attention. Aaliyah returned to a “sleep and grow” state.  So from a day to day basis we rode back on the subtle peaks and valleys.

Although my pregnancy was not exactly what some may call smooth, I learned to enjoy the experience that was offered to me. In the NICU, just like a rollercaster ride, although scary and crazy, it can be fun and exciting. They wonderful people the work there help you to learn to celebrate the mini milestones, one day at a time. Some times one hour at a time. I recognize that I got alot of positive things through the experience. I was able to enjoy my daughter and build a strong bond with her. I was able to learn her pattern, behaviour and learned her needs and wants. I was able to sit and literally watch her grow from day to day. How wonderful! How Rich! Although the ride was painful, scary, exciting, joyous, happy, and sad  I learned alot from my little girl. She is the strongest, most determined person I know. We enjoyed the ride.

“A person is a person no matter how small.” ~ Dr. Seuss

The NICU MOTTO!

The Perfect Post

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So I have delayed this post far too long. Wanting to find the perfect time, perfect topic, perfect words… You get the picture. Well here I am 3:30 am pumping milk for my little one with tablet in hand and I just decided to type…. It may not be the perfect topic or perfect words but it was a pefect time to unleash.

Here is my perfect post : Little Miss Aaliyah was born September 23, 12 weeks early from her expected due date. I was moving stuff from our room to bring downstairs when my husband told me I didn’t look like myself. Earlier that week I remember looking numerous times in the mirror thinking how swollen my face had been getting… Thinking “wow this pregnancy is blowing me up real good”. I had worried a bit about it as i knew the swelling was normal during pregnancy but I thought it may be a bit extreme. That, and I had just read an article about pre-eclampsia (click this link to learn about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-eclampsia) which made me a little more nervous about the swelling, especially in my face which was a new symptom to my pregnancy. So I went to the clinic alothough I had just had my last OB appointment just a few days earlier and everything was normal… But  I thought just to be safe. I am glad I did. What I thought would be nothing was definitely something and that hunch I had, potentially saved mine and Aaliyah’s life.

The clinic sent me directly to the hospital after my blood pressure read and finding protien in my urine. I was scared and panicked. I didn’t know what this meant or the slighest clue as to what the next steps would be which was more scary because all I knew is that if I had this pre-eclampsia thing it could be dangeours for me and baby. This increased my blood pressure even more. The hospital looked at me with concern and kept me there for 4 hours under observation. My two rocks, my mom and husband were with me. “We need to determine if we are going to deliver your baby” the nurse says… WWHATTTTTTTTTT????????  WTF…. It can only be described as an out of body experience. I think mind and soul left my body from that point until maybe about a couple days ago. And I every time I entered back it to my body during that period I just ran back out. This was my first child, pregnancy, so it was all the more over whelming. I felt guilty, ashamed, responsible and worst of all helpless to protect my child. It was all my fault! Was it because I was over weight? Was it the daily small coffee?  Was it all the junk I had been eating? which was it? That is all I kept thinking. To this day everytime Aaliyah displays a symptom of prematurity all those feelings come back.

5 days later from my initial hospital observation I delivered my little sweetheart. Those 5 days were a blurr and the delivery felt like a dream… I kept being told to rest in those 5 days but between being interrupted every two hours from a nurse for a blood pressure test and medications & blood tests plus all the “if you deliver” information visits from various hospital personel, rest was the last thing I could get.

I didn’t hear her cry like they told me I would but for some reason I knew she was okay… I had my baby! 910 grams she was beautiful to me. 12 weeks early. I had this little miracle that I couldn’t fully enjoy as yet. It was Bittersweet.