Preterm Esther-Day 23

I just got finished crying my eyes out. In the past hour I’ve questioned why, why me, why her, if this is a cruel joke, if this is some sort of trial I have to face like everyone else that will somehow change my life.

Although I am still not 100% about what the news means to my baby’s future, I know that at this moment its not good. Its manageable, but I don’t know what it will mean for her future. I want to see my baby talk, run, succeed, grow old. I want to see her beautiful face, I want to play with her and show her the beauty of this world, I want to teach her to be the best person, but I don’t know at this moment if I will.

The doctor was very vague and I might be over-reacting, but it is an emotional roller coaster. Just two days ago she had her “mask” taken off, and she is now using a cannula to breathe. She’s gained weight, shes taken the breast milk feeding very well. It was going smoothly. Aside from the duct not closing in her little heart, which people say she can live with as long as there are no symptoms, she was being perfectly healthy, strong and resilient for a baby her age/size. I was starting to get excited, and although I still had baby blues I was happy that at least my baby was pushing through and growing.

I’m embarrassed to say what the doctor told me, mostly because this is all an initial reaction and we have yet to receive a final diagnosis. But I just want everyone to know. It’s really hard. It is such a blessing to have a healthy baby. There are just thousands of things that can go wrong with a little baby, with such a tiny body.

All I can do right now is Trust. Trust that God is in control, trust that the doctors know what they are doing, trust the nurses will treat my baby with the utmost care, trust that my baby is the most resilient baby in that room and that she will continue to be a fighter, and trust that my husband will be there with me.

I saw the doctor search for a little vein, and heard my baby cry, and I watched and wanted to be there so bad for my daughter, although it hurt. He poked, and poked and poked until he found her little vein in her little arm. Then again later when the nurse did the same. I asked to help, so she got a pacifier. She usually pushes these out so I held her little head and made sure the pacifier was in place, but there was no need. She kept sucking and held the nurses finger firmly. She truly is a tough girl. The nurse said that if there is something wrong, she does such a great job at hiding it.

I love my little girl; she is finally showing character. So I can only hope and wait. Wait and see her grow. Wait and be there for her as much as I can. Read, talk and hold her. And Wait.

Preterm Esther-Day 10

I am falling in love with this child more and more everyday. She truly has something new to show me everyday! When they say everyday is a triumph, it literally is everyday. Each day there is something new to learn, to see, to practice. I find each day getting easier and easier.

Yesterday I kangaroo’d her for about 2 hours. During this time one of my hands was busy, so I only kept one on her bum, while the other was on the phone texting dad. She would squirm and cry, until finally I realized she wanted me to hold her bum AND her back at the same time. It was the cutest thing.

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Preterm Esther-Day 5

Having a preterm baby will try your patience, your love, and dedication to your child. It could also try your relationship with your significant other. It will try your faith, but there is also peace in knowing that your babies’ in good hands.

Aside from having to deal with recovering from my c-section surgery, eating and providing the best milk possible, and other emotional aftermaths, having a great support team IS KEY. I cannot thank my friends, my family, and the NICU nurses enough for being there for my husband and I. It’s only been a couple of days, but my comfort level so far has gotten better. I do not have to worry that my baby is being hurt, or crying all the time because I’ve seen the nurses work and they do AWESOME. Constantly informing me of every change and every update. My parents have taken their turns making sure I am not alone with hubby isn’t around and assuring I have everything I need. The friends are constantly giving me uplifting words when I start to feel down.

I know it’s too early to tell the end outcome, and I know there will be up’s and down’s but it makes all the difference to know who you have by your side. I’ve also had God and many friends prayers every step of the way. It can be assuring to feel like you child is not another statistic. Your child is unique and yours. NO ONE cares for this child like you do. And most of all, I am NOT alone. I have yet to attend the first support social here at the hospital, but I’m looking forward to hearing other stories.

If you or a loved one have had a preterm baby and would like to share words of encouragement or advise, Please do so! I would love to hear what you have to say.

My thoughts on Sleep Training

I’ve been reading up a lot on babies and their sleeping habits as a newborn. It didn’t dawn on me that the western culture of only having 3 months of maternity leave would affect my thoughts on sleep training but it has.

Turns out that during most of my readings there were 2 sides. First, babies should be sleep trained (or preparing to) after their first few weeks of being born. That they should learn how to self-soothe, and the the crying-it-out method isn’t that painful when done right. ( I was shocked when a woman said she couldn’t let her baby cry for 45 mins….DUH! that is way too long??) Secondly, babies apparently don’t have the skill to learn how to self-soothe after a few weeks, and that we should allow the newborn to take their time. That some babies/infants won’t learn to put themselves to bed even after being a year old.

Now of course there are different angles to this such as babies needing routines, not all babies needs are the same, the feeding habits, etc. But something I realized is that Side 1 above generally came from women who need to get back to the working world versus side 2, women who decide to stay at home or have a lot more maternity leave (such as Europe) have more time to tend to their babies sleeping needs. I am purely generalizing and making an opinion from what I analyzed (because I like to read between the lines.)

I do believe that women like me, who will eventually need to get back to work after maternity leave will consider side one above. Unless I can afford a nighttime feeder for my newborn once I start work again, I have to think about getting enough sleep to get up the next day. So I look at what my options will be once that time comes. I don’t envy or look down upon women who stay at home, actually I give props to those women, because I can only imagine that it’s just as hard BUT, they do get to spend more time with their child which I think gives the baby more attention. They get to spend more time tending to their child’s needs, versus choosing to split their time between work and their child.

Since this will be my first child, I have not yet put any of the above into practice, but it was something I noticed as I read. I do believe the US needs to work harder to provide longer maternity leave for women and better benefits since we lag behind the other less industrialized countries. BUT here comes my summary. There will never be a perfect mom, or a perfect way to raise a child. We WILL make mistakes, some we will be able to fix before its too late, some not. Deciding on whether we want to sleep train our child early will be our decision as parents. The way I see it is…so far I’ve decided I will, and it will be a trial and error type of phase. IF it works out, PRAISE THE LORD…if it doesn’t then on to the next option. Regardless I will make sure my baby stays healthy, grows happily, and has everything it needs to live a long life.

EDIT : I wrote this before baby Esther was born, it’s not really relevant as much since she is now in an incubator and sleeping habits are not the same as a 9 month born baby…but I’ll leave it out here. I still think there are two sides to sleep training 😉

Preterm Esther-Day 1

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Yesterday Monday January 4th at 9 am my baby Esther was born…at 24 weeks and 5 days. I have seen her about 4 times since then in her incubator and every time I leave her it gets harder and harder. She is going to be breastfed and it’s hard for a new mommy to get going this early but I’ve managed to get a good amount pumped. So far the nurses say she is doing great. She is breathing well without additional oxygen? or without the tube down her throat, which they claim is a great success. Cerebral function so far is going well too. First time I touched her she responded so well to my touch and my voice, she immediately calmed down. Being out of my womb is not only of a discomfort for her but for me as well. New sounds and unknown people. I never want to leave her side.

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Up to this point I’ve had faith in God, but I pray that He gives me strength now and going forward, to be the mommy she needs me to be. To not let her down, and be there daily. Provide her with breast milk that will help her grow and develop, and talk and read to her. Daddy is being a great support as well. He visits her more then I do (without me knowing) and keeps me posted with what the nurses say. (I must still have pregnancy brain because I can barely retain everything the doctors/nurses say.) Next week we’ll be attending a support group for parents like us and parents who have been in our position. I hope it will do us some good.

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I’ve cried a couple of times, but I think its mostly hormonal. I calmed down after my best friend visited me today. I hadn’t cried since I got to the hospital so I was holding it in. But after letting it out and being to express myself to her and the case worker at the hospital I was able to relax a little more, and the breast pumping came easier. My mother also helped me by providing suggestions as to what kind of approach I should take with the baby. Setting up a routine. I really hope I can get used to this for myself, and for the baby. So that she can grow and develop as she should.

This is more of a log, if anyone has suggestions or comments, PLEASE feel free to share. I would love to hear stories.

Happy 2016! Birthdays? Goals? Resolutions?

Happy New Years! and a Huge HAPPY 46 BIRTHDAY to my Lovely mother ^_^

This new years, like every other I’ve had, was my mothers birthday but boy was it interesting. Just to give you guys an idea, normally it’s just the parents, the sisters, maybe some aunts and cousins, and a cake. This year was a bit different because we had our parents, the sisters, the new hubby, marines cousin now stationed in VA with his wife and baby, and the parents’ gym couple buddies. I however came prepared because I brought my home made birthday cake, brought games to kill some time, and I’m pregnant, so that somewhat is a conversation starter for adults with kids. (I also used this time to ask questions and soak up every bit of information I can possibly get.)

Now, if you know my mother which you probably don’t, she LOVES to take family pictures. Unfortunately she is the only one in the family who does. One of my goals for this year is to take more pictures actually, and to PRINT THEM. It feels so antique to say that since everyone nowadays just digitally saves them somewhere and posts them on their social networks. I however, want to build a wall collage and get creative with scrap books and photo albums. Hopefully I can do it, lol.

Anyway, we fulfilled my mothers requests by smiling and posing for about 5 mins until she decided it was enough. When she came back saying we’d have to retake the pictures; no one wanted to join. I was saddened to see that a few minutes later she had secluded herself to shed a couple of tears. It broke my heart because mothers don’t ask for much, and I really wanted her to be happy on this day (that she sadly has to share with a holiday.) So I convinced everyone that after a game of Apples to Apples to retake pictures. At that moment i regretted the decision, but not so much in retrospect. I hope she enjoyed the other moments, and I know I tried my best as a daughter to make her happy.

This 2016 whether its to loose weight, savemoney, turn a year older,  become a better person or go to church, I hope that you are able to not only think of yourself but think of others. At times it can be frustrating, trying to do things that will make you happier (or so you think) but you’d be surprised at how much of a reward it is to make someone else happy. This year I will be having a baby, and I will unknowingly be doing everything in my power to try to keep that baby mostly happy (because believe it will not get EVERYTHING it wants,) but I know it will in turn make me happy as well.

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So Happy New Years! Happy Holidays! Happy Birthday! and to making this year count!