Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's Over


November has come to a close and so has NaBloPoMo. Thinking about this past month, I think I was crazy to even attempt to write a blog post every day for this month! In some ways, it has been a good distraction though and it has really helped me "deal" with things on this end. It's been therapeutic...cathartic even.

In a way I'm relieved that November is over, but I'm saddened at the same time. I'm sad that I didn't really get to enjoy the last trimester of my pregnancy. The last trimester is when the baby is supposed to do the last of her growing and developing inside the womb. Instead, she was born way too soon. I suppose Little One has got some pretty big plans of her own. She seems to want to do things quickly and on her schedule :) Being born twelve weeks early and keeping her parents on their toes for most of the pregnancy makes me think that she's going to keep us very, very busy! ;)

November in review:
* I was enjoying my pregnancy, but it was discovered that my cervix was already effaced at 24 weeks pregnant.
* I was on complete bed rest for the last few weeks of my very short pregnancy (from week 24 to 28).
* I was hospitalized and remained on strict bed rest in the hospital.
* I was air-lifted by air ambulance to Toronto.
* I had to be without my husband for the weeks that I was in hospital with visits only every other week (if lucky).
* On the up side, my friends and family in Toronto came to visit me and spend time with me while I was in the hospital. I even had family from Montreal and Kingston come visit.
* I was told I'd probably have my baby two weeks into my hospital stay, but we were going to try to keep that baby inside me for as many weeks as we could. We were aiming for week 32 or 34!
* I ended up going in to labour two weeks into my hospital stay. Darn! My OB-GYN was right!
* My baby just flew out of me and pretty much delivered herself. Seriously, there were no doctors in the room when she was born! Boy, did they ever come running in fast as soon as the Code Pink was called though!
* My baby girl was born very prematurely and it has been an emotional roller coaster for me. With Hubby 6 hrs away and baby in the NICU, it's been emotionally draining.
* Things are looking bright now. The Little One is very stable, tolerating feeds, tolerating breathing room air (she's even saturating at 100% most of the time), she's gaining weight and developing quite the personality already. She gained 40 g overnight and now weighs 1150 g.
* Oh, and my beloved feline baby, Trouble died in my absence. Totally heart-wrenching! I never expected to be in Toronto, delivering a baby 12 weeks early, having to be hospitalized, having my baby in the NICU for the next few months AND have my beloved pet die. *sigh*In retrospect, the first two weeks of Little One's life have been very hard for me. Though it has been the happiest time of my life, it's also been the scariest, saddest, loneliest. Even if you're in a city surrounded by people all the time, one can still manage to feel lonely. Now that I've gotten used to my new routine and know that the baby is stable, very strong and doing really well, I feel more comfortable and confident in how things are going. Life in the NICU is really good. She's in the best care possible and she's doing what she is supposed to be doing...growing and developing. The nurses and doctors at Mount Sinai are amazing. I'm feeling really good about the way things are progressing.

November seems to have just whizzed by. It went by so fast that everything is so much of a blur to me. At first it seemed like what was supposed to have been the happiest day of my life had turned out to be the most traumatic day of my life. Having my first baby wasn't supposed to be like that. Well, that's how it happened and I'm sure one day when the Little One is older, she'll enjoy hearing all about her birth story. Luckily her Mommy was able to capture it all on the blog. November is over, but this is just the beginning of our new life with the Little One.Though I probably won't be able to write daily posts on the blog, I will continue to give updates on the baby when I can and I will try my best to visit (and comment) on all my favourite blogs. Thanks again, everyone! XOXO
Saturday, November 29, 2008

Precious Moments


Since the baby and I will be in Toronto until the doctors think she is ready to go home, we don't get to see Hubby much. Our life on the Island is really busy and getting off Island is hard for him. He is going to try to get to Toronto every other week (if possible) to spend time with us.
Today was a joyful reunion. I hadn't seen Hubby in 16 days! The last time he saw his daughter was when she was born almost three weeks ago!
We had a lot of quality time together and I let Hubby bond with his baby girl.I even let him change her diaper and take her temperature. He changed her diaper and cleaned her twice today and he got to hold her on low flow for two hours. Normally I hold her for two hours while the doctors and nurses are trying her off her CPAP, but I wanted Hubby to be able to connect with her. She seemed so comfortable in her Daddy's arms.

Being away from Hubby for so long has really shown me that I hate being without him. Being apart while our baby is in the NICU has been really difficult. I can't wait for the day when our baby is big enough and strong enough to come home with us and we can be together as a family.

All tuckered out :) Hubby has to go back to the Island tomorrow :( It's almost December and that means my birthday, Christmas and New Year's are just around the corner. Hopefully Hubby will be able to be with us for at least one of those occasions. If I could have my way, he'd be with us for ALL of those special days, but I have to be practical and realistic. It is 6 hr drive to Toronto and Hubby has to work while I'm at the hospital with the baby for the next few weeks. The good news is that she is doing really well and this week will be 31 weeks corrected. It's all a matter of time before she can go home :)
Friday, November 28, 2008

Life with a premature baby in the NICU


The Little One is two weeks and three days old now. I think the first two weeks of her life I was running on pure adrenaline. I didn't have time to process anything that was happening. I was in "fight or flight" mode.

Now that she's been pretty stable, doing well and I'm getting used to my new routine, things have started to settle in more. I woke up today and thought, "Holy smokes! I'm a Mom! I've got a little daughter in my life now!" It's pretty surreal.

I can't describe the feeling I get whenever I see my precious little miracle. She is so sweet and so funny already. When she sleeps, she does her little calisthenics. She stretches her legs and her arms. She does this funny movement with her shoulders. It's really cute. The best part is when she does these facial expressions that remind me of my Dad. She looks like her grandpa when she sleeps!

Of course, there are all these wonderful moments I get to share with my daughter a lot sooner than I would have if she were born at term. There are also aspects of having a premature baby that aren't so easy to deal with.

I constantly worry about how her future and her health will turn out because she is premature. I think about "Will she be okay tomorrow?" or "Will she develop as she should?". I suppose all parents think about these things even when they have a term baby. With preemies though, there are a lot of things that are up in the air. They need a lot more time to develop and they have to work harder.

The Little One is doing great so far. She is breathing room air for much of the time and today she was on low flow again for two hours. She's gained another 10 g. She's now 1110 g! The doctors are happy with her and say all she needs now is to grow :)

I've been very fortunate to have a good support network. My friends and family have been wonderful. I have also been able to bond with some of the other parents (mostly moms since the dads tend to come after work or on weekends) and having people know exactly what I'm going through has helped a lot. They've been there and can sympathize and offer support and understanding.

I've had some people ask me questions that I have a hard time with...or make comments that really baffle me. I know that if one has never had a preemie, it would be hard to relate to. I totally understand that. I'm just venting here because I need to. I know people don't mean anything malicious by their questions and comments, but I just have problems understanding why they would even say the things they do.

It upsets me when:
1) People say things like "Do you really need to be at the hospital all day?"
Ummm...Hello, people! She is my daughter! Of course I have to be at the hospital all day! If you had a baby in the NICU, wouldn't you feel the need to be with your baby too?

2) People say things like "Well, what do you do there all day?"
Okay, are you serious?? I pump milk for my baby every two hours, I spend time with my baby, I sing to her, read to her, talk to her, hold her, change her diapers, pump again several times during the day, try to fit in a few minutes to eat something quick, talk to her nurses and doctors about her progress, etc. I barely have any time to breathe! Asking me what I do at the hospital all day just makes me feel like they really have noooooo idea what I'm going through.

3)
People say "If you think you're tired now, wait until you have the baby home with you!" or "Right now you have it easy. You get to relax and rest while the nurses take care of your baby in the NICU!"
This by far is the worst for me. I feel like saying, "You're kidding me, right?!" I'm freaking tired. I just delivered a baby 12 weeks earlier than her due date. Everything happened so fast. She was taken away from me pretty much right away. I had to leave her at the hospital. We were separated and I don't get to hold her and be with her like one would be able to with a term baby. Sure, the nurses are with her 24-7 and I'm there for the morning, day and parts of the evening sometimes, but it doesn't mean I am "relaxing" or "resting". I'm not! If I were at home with her, yes I'd be tired, but I'd have her home with me. I'd be in my own house and in my own bed. With her in the NICU, I'm up at 5AM pumping, I leave at 6 something, I'm at the hospital at 7 something, I pump again, I'm in the NICU with her to do diaper change, I'm there when the doctors do their rounds, I'm at the hospital the entire day. Then I have to commute by subway, bus and walking. When I'm not with my baby, I'm thinking of her. I call the NICU at night to check up on her. Don't tell me I have it easy and that I am resting and relaxing, because it's quite the opposite.

*sigh*
Sorry for that rather long venting session there! I just needed to get some things off my chest.
Thursday, November 27, 2008

One more sleep


...until Hubby comes to Toronto to spend the weekend with us!!! I am so excited! These past few weeks have been the longest I've ever been away from Hubby. I really hate being away from him for so long :(

The last time Hubby saw the Little One was when she was born two weeks ago. I've been sending him photos and he's been reading the blog (and not commenting!), so he can see her growth that way. He will be really surprised when he sees her in person though! She just keeps changing every day!

It's hard to believe she went from this:
to this in just two weeks!
Here's Mrs. Hollywood visiting the babe.

Incidentally, Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood, RenRen and Sharmander took me out on my first night out of the hospital. I was so bummed when I was discharged from the hospital and I was in tears because I had to leave my newborn baby, but these guys (some of my favourite people in the world!) took me out for Thai food. I look horrible here. They just busted me out of the hospital and I was really upset that I had to leave my baby there.
We went to Salad King. I ordered the pataya chicken. It was delicious. Loaded with lots of fresh veggies, and just the right amount of lime. The restaurant was BUSY! Usually when a restaurant is packed and the waiting list is long, it signals that the food is good, right? Well, the food was really good. The presentation was a bit messy though. There were grains of rice stuck to the outside of my rice bowl. I didn't care that it was a sloppy presentation though. The food was really good!
My cousin (whom I'm staying with while I'm in Toronto for the duration of the Little One's NICU stay), my two brothers (Middle Bro and Baby Bro), my SIL (Lele) and my 19 month old nephew came to meet the Little One last weekend.

It was a joyful reunion. I'm so happy my brothers drove from K-town to Toronto to visit us. It was really special.
My beautiful SIL is expecting twin girls! Her EDD was two weeks after our Little One's EDD. She was due Feb. 21 and I was due Feb. 3. However, because she is having twins, she will most likely have them earlier than anticipated...not as early as the Little One though! That was crazy early!
After spending the day at the hospital with the baby, I went out for a meal with my brothers, my SIL, my nephew and three of my cousins. We were going to go for Chinese food, but the restaurant we wanted to go to was closed. We ended up at...another Thai place. The Garden Restaurant was not very packed. Okay, it was empty. The server was friendly and the portion sizes were really big. I think it would have been a good idea to each order something and share our dishes.

I ordered the pad thai, because I'm boring like that. I was craving it, and I must say that it feels really good to finally be able to eat real food again! There's just so much hospital food a girl can stomach :)

Oh, you are probably curious to hear about the Little One's progress. Today she weighs 1100 g! She seems to be gaining about 10 g a day. She was 34 cm long at birth and now is 39 cm. She grew 5 cm in two weeks! The doctors wanted to try her off her CPAP for TWO hours today. I got to hold her for two hours while she was on low flow and she did great! She seems to tolerate it well. At one point when the doctor came around to examine her, the Little One knocked the prongs for her low flow out of her nose and I freaked. I thought she wouldn't be able to breathe! The doctor laughed and said she was fine. I looked at the monitor and the Little One was "satting high" even without the low flow! That means her oxygen saturation level was 99-100% even without having the air from the low flow.

She is doing really well. She loves sleeping on Mommy's chest and listening to French songs. She sucks on one of her hands and with the other she wraps her tiny little fingers around mine. She alternates between sleeping and trying to look up to see me. Of course, I don't think she can really see cleary yet but she seems to like to try to look up at me.

It's interesting to see her changing and growing every day. She looks so different each morning. Today she looks much chunkier! Imagine...all of these changes I get to witness each day are things that she'd be doing inside my womb if she were still in there!!! Crazy and amazing!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

When it rains, it pours


I came home from the hospital a lot earlier than normal because I think the exhaustion of having just had a baby (very prematurely!), having to deal with her being in the NICU and having to commute over an hour to and an hour from the hospital every day and be there all day has finally hit.

As if that weren't enough to deal with, Hubby and I were talking on the phone and I discovered some terrible news. At first, I was really excited that Hubby will be coming to Toronto to be with the baby and me this weekend. He commented on how I sound like I'm in much better spirits today.

...Then I asked him a question I didn't want to know the answer to. My dad e-mailed me to tell me that he discovered something gruesome behind our house when he went to visit my husband. My beloved feline baby, Trouble had gotten stuck on the barb wire fence (his collar got snagged and he probably struggled to free himself) and died. I asked Hubby if it was true and he hesitated to answer at first.

I cried and cried when he confirmed the news. For people who don't have pets, it may not seem like a big deal. It may even seem silly to some people if they hear that a grown woman would cry because her cat died. My pets have been my first babies and hearing the news was pretty traumatic.

Trouble was indeed a trouble maker, but he was a really loving and affectionate cuddle monster. I'm really sorry that he had to pass away the way he did. I will really miss our cuddle time. He was definitely the most affectionate cat I've ever had. We'll miss you, Trouble. Thank you for bringing love and joy into our house and in our hearts. I will always remember the way you snuggled up on my lap and purred really loudly every chance you got. You always loved to be held.

The crazy thing is that I don't know if I can ever have pets again. If something were to happen to Spike or Chance, I think I'd have to never ever get another pet again. The pain and heartbreak are just too much to endure. I honestly don't think I'm strong enough to deal with things like this.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What a difference a week makes!


Gah! My baby girl is two weeks old! TWO WEEKS?!?! Where on earth did the time go? I can't believe I was put on complete bed rest on October 16th and I was hospitalized on October 28th. It feels like I've just blinked my eyes and all of a sudden she's here and she's two weeks old (errrm...30 weeks "corrected age")!

What a difference a week makes. Today during "cuddle time", I got to hold her for an hour WITHOUT her CPAP on! YES! I was shocked that the nurse tried her on "low flow" today! I didn't think she would be ready yet, but she did pretty well. I only held her for an hour because I didn't want to exhaust her. She looks so cute without her CPAP mask on!The Little One is now past her full feed. She's at 16 cc of milk every 2 hrs. She's got no more IV lines in her. The only things she has are her NG tube, CPAP and some sensors to monitor her heart rate, oxygen level/saturation, and respiration.Hubby's aunt came to meet the Little One today. We then went out for lunch and spent some time together before she headed back. It was so nice to see her. I'm so glad she got to meet our girlie! She also made the most adorable baby quilt for her.

I left the hospital early tonight. I was going to stay for a parent group class, but decided I needed sleep more. See? I'm following the advice all of you have been giving me :) I'm trying to get some rest. Honestly, I remember leaving the hospital and before I knew it, I was getting off the bus and walking to the place where I'm staying. I don't remember the subway ride, the bus ride, and everything in between. How crazy is that? Have you ever been so tired that you completely blanked out and when you woke up you were where you were supposed to be in the end? Gah! I think I need more sleep!

Toronto subway stations at rush hour and all the people rushing about, stern-faced and unsmiling make me think of a famous quote by H.D. Thoreau. "THE MASS OF MEN LEAD LIVES OF QUIET DESPERATION." Thoreau comments that most men are slaves to their work and enslaved to those for whom they work. I felt so out of place. Hard to believe I used to be like that when I worked in Toronto. Always in a rush to go somewhere...and when I gazed at my reflection in the subway window, it made me sad to see my unsmiling face. I looked so tired all the time.
Monday, November 24, 2008

Attachment Issues


Okay, so maybe I'm a little bit of a freak when it comes to my daughter. I just don't want to leave her for too long. I'm at the hospital a bit after 7AM and don't get home until sometimes 8PM or later. Does this qualify as having attachment issues?

I just gave birth to the Little One two weeks ago and part of me feels like it never really happened. It happened so fast and then all of a sudden I was discharged from the hospital and had to commute back and forth every day to see my baby. Several people have told me that I don't even look like I just had a baby. Funny, because I don't even feel like I just had a baby. I never had time to process anything. I feel like I've been dropped in the middle of the ocean and have been forced to swim. Part of me envies moms who have "term" babies and stay in the hospital for a day or two and then get to go home with their babies. They get to be with their babies and they get to be home with their babies! Me? I get to commute to and from the hospital every day and bond with my breast pump every two hours.

Okay, I do get to spend quality time with my daughter. The nurses let me have cuddle time with her. Lately they've been letting me hold her for over an hour if she's having a good day. It's the best feeling in the world to just hold your baby and listen to all the funny noises she makes.

Oh, and the only clothes I have with me since I was on hospital bed rest for several weeks are my maternity clothes (which are now being held up by safety pins). I told Hubby that when he comes to visit us, he needs to bring my pre-pregnancy clothes (otherwise I'll go shopping...and the Eaton Center is only a 15 min walk from the hospital)! I've lost 14 lbs since I delivered the Little One. I don't know if it's because:
A) I've shed some pregnancy weight
B) I've been running on almost no sleep
C) I haven't had much of an appetite (Don't worry. I am eating enough because I am pumping for the baby)
D) I've been pumping every 2 hrs
E) I've been commuting (lots of walking and running to catch the bus and subway)
F) All of the above

Speaking of attachment issues, the Little One hit another milestone, but is struggling with an attachment of her own. Not only has she received her "Official Kilo Club Membership Card" (preemies get a Kilo Club card every time they reach a kilo!), but today she moved up to full feed )14 cc of milk every 2 hrs) AND she got her IV line removed! Yay! No more IV! I hate IVs! However, she still has to wear her CPAP and she still needs her NG tube until she learns how to suck, swallow, breathe on her own. The Little One was on room air for 2 hrs but then got tired and ended up forgetting to breathe. It's tough for a preemie to remember to breathe. They're not supposed to have mastered that yet. The Little One still needs her CPAP. In fact, she hates it when her CPAP is off. I guess it's sort of like a security blanket for her too. In many ways, even though it may annoy her sometimes, it's easier for her to breathe with it.

I wasn't expecting her to be off her CPAP and NG tube anytime soon anyway. She is 2 weeks old and was born 12 weeks premature, after all!

I learned something interesting from the doctors today. Because the Little One was born 12 weeks before her due date, she is technically not supposed to be outside of the womb yet. This means that developmentally, she is 3 months behind most "term" babies (babies born at around 40 weeks gestation + or - 2 weeks). It makes sense though, since she was supposed to do a lot of her developing inside the womb for the next 3 months. In other words, when she is 3 months old, she'll be like a 1 month old. It really does make sense, since she'll be playing catch up for a while. Oh, the Little One seems to like doing things early, so hopefully she'll be okay. The docs have said she looks great so far and it doesn't seem like she will have any problems developmentally. Everyone keeps telling me that she is a very strong little girlie and that she is tolerating feeds well and is growing nicely. She even grew in length since birth. She was 34 cm long at birth and is now 39 cm long!
Sunday, November 23, 2008

Odds 'n Ends


1) The Little One is now 1080g! She's 100g past her birth weight. She's drinking 11cc milk every 2 hrs. Full feed is 14 cc, so by tomorrow if she's tolerating full feed she will get her IV line taken out of her! Yay!

2) Hubby is trying to get down to Toronto this weekend to see us. I miss him soooo much.

3) This week seems to have gotten better for me. I think I'm starting to get used to my new "routine". I wake up at 5AM, pump, have breakfast, leave at 6:45 to take the bus and subway to the hospital, pump, change the little one's diaper, take her temperature, spend time with her, sing to her, pump, talk to some of the other moms in the NICU, take a little break, pump, have lunch, change the little one's diaper, take her temperature, talk to the doctors about the little one, pump, spend time with the little one, do one last diaper change and temperature check and commute again.

4) I think I'm still in a bit of shock that I just had a baby almost two weeks ago. Everything happened so fast, it was almost as if I didn't have time to process what just happened. I was pregnant, I had a baby sooner than we expected her to arrive and all of a sudden I'm commuting back and forth from my aunt and uncle's house to the hospital every day to be with my baby.

5) I can't believe I actually NaBlo'd every day so far. It seems pretty crazy of me to post every day for the month of November despite all the craziness that has just happened in the past few weeks!

6) I PROMISE to get over to everyone's blogs and do some serious catching up soon. I also promise to try to send out Thank You cards for all the presents everyone has sent the baby and reply to e-mails and Facebook messages soon. Thank you for continuing to visit and leave wonderful comments...even though I've been such a delinquent blog buddy, friend, sister, aunt, daughter, etc. I'm hoping that soon I will regain semblance of normalcy in my life again.

7) I cannot believe the little one will be 2 weeks old and 30 weeks "corrected age" on Tuesday! Wow. Hopefully she will be big and strong enough to go home before she reaches "term". Then again, "term" is only 10 more weeks from now. I guess I'll survive. Whatever is best for the baby, right?
Saturday, November 22, 2008

My Little Hero


It's hard to believe that I was still pregnant twelve days ago! I just can't believe that our little one came almost three months earlier than expected. I guess she has big plans of her own.
Photo taken moments after I delivered our little one.

Part of me feels a little sad that she didn't get to stay inside me for longer. The other part of me is glad to know that she is okay and that she is growing strong and healthy. She's now 1060 g and drinking 9 cc of milk every 2 hrs!

Our little one seems to be in a rush for everything. She was eager to meet her mom and dad :) Now that she's here, I can't imagine my life without her. I never knew how emotional I would get just being a parent.

Every moment I spend with her, I think of what a trooper she is. She is so strong and so full of fight. I keep praying that she continues to have the strength she does to grow so that she can come home with us.Maybe it's just me, but I can really see a difference in how she looks now and how she looked just last week! She seems to change every day. She is becoming a little chub chub. I love how her arms, legs, belly, and cheeks seem to be plumping up. I love everything about her.

Her little cry when she's upset just melts my heart. I love how she makes little sucking movements with her mouth when she sleeps. I can never tire of watching her stretch her arms and legs while she sleeps. She is so adorable when she lets out a big yawn.

Today I got to hold her for over an hour. She did well breathing room air. She had her CPAP on, but didn't need much help breathing. She slept on my chest while I sang to her.

I am so in love with my little girlie. I never knew I had the capacity to love this much. Of course, I love Hubby sooooooooo very much, but the love I have for the little one is so hard to describe. It's something so powerful that it makes me cry just thinking of how much I love her.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Here She Is!!!


Everyone has been asking for photos. Please disregard the date on the photos. The date is incorrect. The Little One was born on November 11th and these photos were taken not too long after she was born.
Because she was born at 28 weeks gestation and was not supposed to be out of the womb yet, her lungs are still not strong enough for her to breathe on her own. Though she is breathing room air now, she still requires the aid of her trusty friend, the CPAP. Don't be afraid of the tape and the mask. It's a lot scarier looking than it really is. All those sensors on her are just to monitor her heart rate, respirations, oxygen level, etc.
This was the first time I got to hold her. Isn't she sweet? Her soother is almost bigger than she is! Look at those tiny hands of hers!

Her bilirubin numbers were a bit high so the doctors put her under the lights to treat her jaundice. She has a penchant for blowing bubbles out of her mouth. Too funny!

The diaper they use on her is a newborn diaper. Check out how BIG it is on her!
She is tiny, but she is growing quickly! She gained some weight and is now 1020 g! She was 980 g when she was born. She is also a little piggy :) She is now taking 7 cc of milk every 2 hrs! Just the other day she was drinking 3 cc of milk every 2 hrs! I told Hubby that the only thing his daughter inherited from him is his appetite! That's a lie though because I think she got his hair colour. Her hair was black when she was born and now it's brown (and her eyebrows are blonde)!
This is her "leave me alone" pose.
Hope you enjoy these latest photos of our little one :) She looks pretty good for a preemie her gestational age. Then again, I'm biased! What mother doesn't think her little one is adorable? ;)
Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thank You!


Thank you to all of you. You truly have helped make this process a little easier for me. All my friends and family who read the blog (and don't comment often!!!!) and the blog friends who have been a constant source of support...thank you so, so, soooooo much.

I know this is a bit late, but I would really like to thank some of you for thinking of me while I was on complete bed rest for the pregnancy. I never had a chance to send out thank you cards or proper e-mail messages to you. You know I appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness. I've just been really overwhelmed with having just had a baby and not being able to be with her because she'll be in the NICU for weeks or even months.
Canine Cologne, thank you for the package you sent for the baby and me. I love all the things you've included. The CD is awesome! Love the earrings, books and everything else too! The card, as always was the best part. XOXO
Rosie, thank you for thinking of me while I was in the hospital and for providing me with LOTS of reading material! I really thought I'd get a chance to read all the books (since I devoured the Twilight books in a matter of days), but soon after I received the books you sent, I was sent to Labour and Delivery!
Humps n Bump visited me just days before I went into labour. Funny. I was telling Humps that I was hoping to make it to at least week 32 or 34! She brought me a lucky bamboo plant. Sorry about the icky photo Hubby took of me ;)

Thank you to my aunts who visited me. One of them gave me a lucky Chinese jade fertility god. Hmph! I don't think it was so lucky because I went into labour the night I put it on!!!

Another aunt gave me a rosary and then she asked me, "Do you still remember how to say your prayers with the rosary?".

Thank you also to Ms.Mamma and J. Ms. Mamma, I was so surprised to see a HUGE box delivered to my hospital room the day before I gave birth to the little one! I have to post photos of the present you sent her. It's awesome! It'll look great in her room!

J, thanks for the card you sent. It was really touching and I am keeping it in my bag for when I need a pick me up :)

I guess you're all wondering how the little one is doing. She had a great day today. No spells and she might even be on full feed by this weekend. She's been given 5 cc of milk every 2 hrs and is tolerating it. Tonight she will try 6 cc. Once she is on full feed, she can get another one of those attachments taken out (the one attached to her belly button that is kind of like an IV line)! Yippeee! Let me tell you, she is one chunky little monkey! :) I got to the hospital this morning and she looked soooooooooo chubby! Her legs, belly, arms and face look chubby! I told Hubby that if there's one thing our daughter inherited from him, it's her appetite! She loves her food!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Roller Coaster Ride


Everyone has been telling me that having a preemie in the NICU is a roller coaster ride. There will be lots of ups and downs. The good days will be good and the bad days will sometimes be very bad. I never expected this because our little one has been doing so amazingly well so far!

This morning I was greeted with wonderful news from the nurses. Our little one gained some weight and is now 1000g! She lost some weight last week but started gaining back this week and is now just past her delivery weight. Her feed was also increased from 1 cc breast milk every 4 hrs to 1cc breast milk every 2 hrs...and then 2 cc every 2 hrs and now 3 cc every 2hrs!!! Her full feed is 13 cc and once she gets to 13 cc breast milk every 2 hrs, they will take her NG tube out!!!

I won't lie. I'm having a pretty rough time. I am drained and exhausted. Between pumping every 2 hrs, waking up at 5 get ready to head to the hospital for 7:45AM and leaving in the evenings, I am drained. I don't want to leave her side though. When I'm not with her I think of her, so it's better if I'm just with her.

I think the hardest thing I'm going through right now is having to do this by myself. Listening to all the medical jargon and trying to process everything is a bit overwhelming. Plus, the little one had a bad day today. The nurses tell me that occasionally she has a "spell" (when she desats and her heart rate goes down). It never really had an impact on me until I witnessed her having one today. I was with her and she had a spell...her little tummy and chest just stopped moving up and down. The nurse didn't have to give her oxygen but just had to stimulate her and then she woke up and remembered to breathe. It was the most traumatic thing I have ever had to witness. I cannot tell you how hard it is to see your baby stop breathing. Oh, the panic and horror! I was told that she will have spells and that is to be expected because a baby her gestational age does not breathe on their own inside the womb and now she's forced to do so much more work. She occasionally forgets to breathe.

I've been told by the doctors, nurses and other parents of preemies that she will have ups and downs over the next few weeks and that she is doing great for her gestational age and for her size.

She's starting to pack on some chub chub. Her legs are looking mighty chubby compared to last week and her cheeks are adorable. She looks completely different from how she looked 8 days ago. I love her little mouth. She's got heart shaped lips. So sweet.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Getting Reacquainted With Toronto


After almost five years of being away from Toronto, I find my return rather interesting. The circumstances which brought me back to the city of my birth were unexpected. Who would have thought that my daughter would be born in Toronto too? Certainly not me, since we live six hours by car from Toronto!Photo of our little one taken minutes after her birth. It's amazing to see how different she looks now! She looks completely different!
Four days after she was born. Her bilirubin numbers went up a bit and she was put under the lights for her jaundice. Like her cute little shades? I love the little eye lashes the night nurse drew on them. They have wayyyyy too much fun in the NICU! :) I love my adorable, little, flying, sun tanning, code pink baby girl.

I guess being away for so long had me forget what it was like to commute in rush hour. The buses and subway cars are always crammed with people. Yesterday was the Santa Claus Parade, so University Street was closed. The parade passed right in front of Mt. Sinai Hospital and Sick Kids Hospital. We had the perfect view. I have photos, but forgot to upload them.

Being back in "the city" was sort of a shock to me. I felt like a fish out of water, which is funny because I'm a city girl. I forgot what it was like to have to transfer to a different subway line or have people bump into me and not think twice about it. In the "country" people are much friendlier. It's taking some getting used to being back in Toronto.

The Eaton Center is a short walk from the hospital and I could very well take a break from being in the NICU and go shopping or for a walk. The sad thing is that I don't have time! I'd LOVE to see my friends, go to the movies, go out to different restaurants, go shopping, and just do things I can't do on the Island. Toronto is full of things to do. Sadly, between pumping and spending time with the baby, I have very little time to even breathe! I'm just plain exhausted.

I did go to a Thai restaurant the other night (my first night discharged from the hospital) with Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood, RenRen and Sharmander. I'll post a restaurant review in a few days. I'll try not to make this all about the baby in case you're getting tired of reading about her :)

I really, really miss my husband and though I know he needs to be on the Island because of the farm and other jobs, I do wish he were here to help me through this tough time. The baby is doing really well. She's stable and getting stronger by the day. She's starting to gain some weight and she is digesting my milk now. She looks so different from the way she looked when she was born. I cannot believe tomorrow she will be one week old! It seems like I gave birth to her just yesterday! Crazy!

Counting the days until she can come home and we can be with Hubby on the Island. I know I need to take things day by day, but it's hard to not think about having to be here for the next twelve weeks. I never imagined having a preemie, but she really is a little miracle. I did well today. I only cried four times! :)
Monday, November 17, 2008

It's Been One Week


...since our baby girl was born. I cannot believe she is a week old already. It seems like just yesterday I was rushed to the delivery room because I was going into premature labour!


Our little one has changed so much in seven days. She maintained her weight for a bit last week and then lost a bit. Now she's gaining weight again. She was on phototherapy because she had a little bit of jaundice. She looks great and is really active. Her day nurse was gushing over her and saying how well she's doing.

Everyone keeps telling me that I need to take care of myself before I can take care of the baby. Though I know this is true, I find it so hard to not be there with her all the time. I do take breaks. I pump, have lunch, chat with some of the other moms, sneak away into the "parents' lounge" and try to rest for a few minutes. I just hate being away from my little girl.

I met a couple in the parents' lounge who have twin preemies. They were born at 29 weeks gestation and are now 11 months old. They look PERFECT :) They're both doing great. It really gives me hope. The mom and dad chatted with me about what to expect, how difficult a roller coaster ride it is to have preemies...especially in the first few weeks. Their babies look great but are more like 7 month olds than 11 month olds. That is to be expected with preemies. Apparently by the time they are 2 years old they will have caught up with most "term" babies.

I also learned that our little one is not really 7 days old (since she was born 7 days ago). She is "29 weeks old corrected age". That means since she was born at 28 weeks gestation, this would have been her 29th week. There is so much to digest right now. All the medical terminology and jargon kind of go way over my head and I find myself asking the doctors and nurses a million questions about my baby and how she's doing.

I really do admire and respect single parents. It is a lot work physically and emotionally to be there for your child alone. Though I do have a husband, he is not with us right now and it makes things a bit harder for me to deal with over here. Having to talk to all the doctors alone and do everything here alone is really draining and stressful. I think part of me is still reeling from having just had the baby last week.

I did attend a "group night" for parents of preemies tonight. We watched a film called "To Have and Not to Hold". It was about strategies and coping mechanisms for dealing with a preemie in the hospital. I bawled my eyes out because everything discussed really hit close to home. One of the coping strategies was to be able to talk to one's spouse, hold them, visit the baby together...Ummmm, my hubby's 6 hrs away!!! My tears had a domino effect since the room was filled with a whole bunch of hormonal postnatal moms of preemies. *sigh*

Anyway, enough about me. The baby is doing great. Happy One Weekaversary, Little One :)

Oh, and my husband is so funny. After we hung up from our one hour phone call (mostly me crying and telling him I wanted him to come to Toronto NOW because I really don't feel like I can do this whole "hospital every day/learning about what to expect when having a preemie" on my own), he surprised me and called me again before bed. This time, he sang "I just called to say I love you" and then asked me "Honey, where do we keep the cooking oil?" LOL!!! *sigh* Too funny :)
Sunday, November 16, 2008

Every Little Thing She Does is Magic


Today wasn't as bad as yesterday or the day before. Leaving my baby at the hospital at end of the day was hard but not nearly as emotional as the first day I was discharged from the hospital without my baby. I think mostly because I am just plain exhausted. My life right now is basically pumping milk for the baby, commuting to the hospital and back, spending time with the baby in the NICU and doing it all over again.

Our little one continues to amaze me. I simply cannot believe she is already 5 days old! She was inside me five days ago! I was just getting used to all the crazy kicking and moving around (this kid was so active in the womb and is so active outside of the womb)! I was anticipating being hugely pregnant but never had a chance to get that big. She just came so fast! 28 weeks!

Today, she had her eyes opened and whenever I spoke she would look in my direction. I know babies this young can't really see anything (except for probably a blurry outline of shapes or something), but she would look in my direction. She reacts when I sing to her. When I was pregnant, I used to sing all the time. I'd sing French songs in the shower and today when I sang a few French songs to her, she would suck rapidly and clutch onto my finger with her tiny hand.

My little girl amazes me. She is so sweet. I broke down today when I realized that "Oh my goodness! I've got a daughter!!!". It just hit me today. I think everything that has happened this week was just overwhelming and I'm overly tired and still very hormonal. The nurse told me to go home and sleep. The good thing is that even if I go home around supper time, I can call the NICU at any hour of the day or night and the nurse will keep me posted on how the little one is doing.

Thank you all for being so supportive. It really means a lot to us. I PROMISE to e-mail and check out some of your blogs (and leave comments) SOON. Things have just been so crazy here. I promise I'll be less of a negligent daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, sister, friend, teacher, wife, and blog friend. Right now it's been all about the baby. Hopefully I'll settle into some kind of schedule soon. I just don't like leaving my baby at the end of the day. THAT is the hardest thing.

Thank you to some of you who have suggested nicknames for the babe. I don't want to use her real name on the blog. I don't use real names for any of my friends, family or students on here. If you've got some other suggestions for nicknames, let me know :)

So far we have:
*Birdie (suggested by Sharon)
*Star, Jaime (J'aime), Cara - beloved, (or Kara), Bella (suggested by Gadget Girl)
*Little One (my suggestion)
*Junior (Hubby's suggestion)

More photos to be posted soon. Now I think I need to get some sleep. *sigh* It's only 6:30 PM!
Saturday, November 15, 2008

Baby Blues


Everyone warned me that having a baby is a very emotional experience. Friends, family members, other moms in general would tell me that it was expected to get teary eyed sometimes. Boy, were they ever right!

I won't lie. I am having an extremely difficult time right now. I was discharged from the hospital yesterday and walking out of the hospital without my baby was definitely the most difficult moment for me. I spent most of the day with her in the NICU (except for when I was pumping and speaking with and getting checked by my doctors and nurses). I just didn't want to leave my baby girl. Whenever I think of being apart from that sweet little baby, I just break down in tears.

I know she is in the best care possible and the team at Mt. Sinai are truly amazing. It's just still very hard for me. In the next weeks/months to come I will be commuting back and forth to the hospital to spend my days with her.
Friday, November 14, 2008

C was discharged from hospital today. Baby is getting stronger every day. C is finding it hard to be away from baby. C will catch up on her bloging soon.

from C's husband.
Thursday, November 13, 2008

Because You Asked For It!


PHOTOS!!! I know...finally!!!Soooooooo tiny but a real fighter! :) 2 lbs, 3 oz and 34 cm long!
Not too long after she "flew out" (literally) of Mommy!

Holding Daddy's hand. Check out the proud Papa!

Things have been a bit crazy over here in the last 48 hours. I cannot believe our baby is 2 days old already. On her first day, she was taken off her respirator because she was breathing on her own pretty well. She's on a CPAP but that's a step up from the respirator! Now, on her second day she had her arterial line taken off! She continues to amaze everyone :)
She's a feisty little one too! Apparently, she's like her Mama. Not only is she feisty, but she's a crier! She doesn't like it when the nurses in the NICU change her diaper or listen to her heartbeat with the stethoscope.
Oh! Here's something funny! Remember how I said that she had a full head of black hair? It's now brown and wavy! Her eyebrows have also changed from black to blonde! How funny is that!? The nurse said, "Your daughter is really fair" (meaning her hair colour). I was shocked when I saw how much she has changed in just two days!
Something exciting happened today. Let me first tell you that today was sort of a roller coaster ride for me. It started off with the frustration of breast pumping, then the excitement of seeing my little one. Then I had a big scare. I was going to pump again and then see my baby after I took a shower. I'm telling you, I'm either in the NICU with the baby or I'm pumping. That's my life right now. Anyway, while in the shower I noticed something "hanging out" of me. It freaked me out and I hit the "call button" in the shower. The nurses rushed in to get me and at that point I didn't care who saw me naked and soaking wet. I had something hanging out of me! SCARY!
It turned out to be "retained placenta"...and not just a tiny piece of it! The doctor came in to examine me and extract the remaining placenta. I'm so glad they didn't discharge me from the hospital yesterday. Imagine if that had happened while I was already released from the hospital and nowhere near any nurses or doctors???
I am now on an IV (again) just for 24 hrs. They put me on antibiotics so I don't get an infection. What a crazy day.
Now for the exciting part! I GOT TO HOLD MY BABY TODAY!!! For the first time, they let me have skin to skin contact with our little one! For the past two days it's been just touching but today I got to actually hold her! They put her on my chest and she was so calm and peaceful. She is such a little sweetie. I am so in love!
I honestly don't know how I would have made it through the day without my SIL. She drove down to Toronto from "the Island" the day the little one was born and has been here for moral support. She has to go home soon (obviously, since she has to go back to work and she also has a husband and two daughters). Seriously, without her today I think I would have had an even harder time. Breast pumping frustrations, the baby having to be in the NICU for a few months, Hubby being so far away and not with us throughout this challenging time, the whole retained placenta scare, not knowing how I will cope over the next months that the baby will have to be in the NICU...It's a lot to handle. Throw in some of those hormones from having just delivered a baby and that makes one crazy emotional cocktail! *sigh*
I know I'll get through this...One day at a time.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Day After


Well, our little one is now a day old. She is looking great and breathing on her own! The doctors have taken her off the respirator and she is now on a CPAP. She is so tiny, but the doctors told us that for a baby delivered at 28 weeks gestation, she is at a good weight. She hasn't lost any weight (she's still 2 lbs, 3 oz). She was 34 cm long at birth.

Today, I spent most of my day with our little one in the NICU. The times I wasn't with her, I was pumping (since I can't breastfeed her yet, the doctors told me they could give her my milk through a tube, which is the best thing for her). Hopefully when she's off all the tubes and wires and has her sucking reflexes going and is strong and big enough, I can start breastfeeding her.

I was a bit sad today (okay, I was MAJORLY weepy!) since Hubby had to return to the Island this afternoon. I really didn't want him to go and it was so hard for me to say goodbye. It would just be easier if he were with us through this. Actually, it would be easier if the little one were born at term and didn't have to stay in the NICU. All I want is to be able to take her home. I know she is where she needs to be and that her team is working their best to make sure she is a healthy little girl. It still doesn't make things any easier though.

I did get to experience something miraculous today. The little one looks so different from how she looked just yesterday when she was born! I was with her when she opened her eyes for the very first time! I also got to hear her cry for the first time! I didn't think she was able to cry because she was so tiny and I wasn't sure if she had the capacity to do so. Her cry was the sweetest sound I have every heard! The crying is a good thing because it shows that she is using her lungs.

I am so in love with our little girl. The next weeks/months to come while she is in the NICU are going to be hard for me. Hubby will be on the Island and I will be discharged from the hospital very soon. I will probably stay with family in the suburbs of Toronto and commute to the hospital every day to be with my baby. The nurses have been pumping every 2 to 3 hours so I can provide the little one with milk.

I don't know how I'm going to make it through the weeks/months of the little one's NICU stay with Hubby so far away.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's a GIRL!!!!


Yes, my friends...Junior is indeed a GIRL!!! I started having contractions and by 3AM I was already 3 cm dilated. I called Hubby and he and his youngest sister rushed over to the hospital. By 5AM, I was 5 cm dilated. My night nurse gave me some morphine to help with the pain. The contractions and backaches were unbearable. My SIL was laughing because apparently I kept saying, "I love morphine"!

I was wheeled over to Labour and Delivery (Again! That's twice in two days!) and the OB-GYN said that I was going to have this baby TODAY! Today is Remembrance Day (Veteran's Day in the States) and definitely a day I will always remember!

I was in labour from pretty much 2AM and then by 2PM I was 8 cm dilated. Soon after, I was fully dilated, but my water had not broken yet. The doctor had to break it for me. I did end up getting an epidural. I cannot imagine not getting one. I considered going all natural, but am glad that I decided to get it in the end. I'm the biggest wuss!

The good news was that the baby was head down and I was able to deliver vaginally. The crazy part is that I only pushed three times. On the third push, the baby FLEW out! Seriously! She delivered herself! The nurse was standing beside me, about to use the "Code Pink" button to call the rest of the medical team and Hubby was next to me holding my hand as I was going through another contraction. The nurse told me not to push and to just wait and relax, but I couldn't. I pushed and out flew Junior! She landed on the bed (on my foot). It was the weirdest thing ever! Super flying baby! Everything happened so quickly. Within seconds, a whole entourage swooped in and whisked Baby away.
They brought her back after they cleaned her. Since she is a preemie, she was super small. She weighed 2 lbs, 3 oz. I wasn't able to hold her, but I was able to touch her through the incubator window. She is soooooo tiny! She looks like a little doll! Hubby took photos, but we will post them soon. She'll be in the NICU for weeks. We can see her whenever we want (apart from when the staff has their shift changes). She is doing well and looks really good. She looks bigger than I thought she would for a baby at 28 weeks.
I cannot believe Hubby and I are parents! It all happened so quickly! Junior was born at 28 weeks gestation. I can tell already that she will certainly keep us on our toes! :)

As If Things Couldn't Possibly Get More Exciting


Gah! You're probably wondering why I'm up and posting from my hospital bed at 4AM.
After yesterday's crazy action-packed episode, I was finally getting used to the idea of having an IV stuck in me for a few days and I was happy that Junior would be staying inside for a few more weeks.

Guess what?! I have been having contractions since yesterday afternoon-ish but had no idea they were contractions. Totally not what I expected. Why on earth didn't anyone tell me what contractions felt like?! Then my back started hurting every time I got one of those pains and then at night they were 3 min apart.

The night nurse came in to change my IV bag and I told her about the pain and discomfort. She got the OB-GYN and she checked me. I am 3 cm dilated. Gah! We're only 28 weeks pregnant today! I hope the contractions go away on their own and I still have some time to "incubate" Junior inside me for a bit.

I'll write more if I'm not in the delivery room in a few hours. They're keeping me under observation but will rush me back to Labour and Delivery if things progress or get worse. Luckily Hubby didn't make it back to "the Island" yet. He spent the night in Barrie (1 hr and a bit away from Toronto) and I called him at 3AM to give him the heads up. He's on his way back to the hospital now.

Oh! This is just way too much "excitement" for me to handle. All of a sudden, having an IV sticking out of my arm doesn't seem to bother me at all. It's nothing compared to the contractions!
Monday, November 10, 2008

SURPRISE!!!


Many of you already know that we were worried about Junior being born prematurely. On Thursday, I was experiencing a bit of cramping and a lot of mucus. I know this probably way TMI, but my panties were drenched with fluid. I didn't think it was my water breaking, because from all the movies I've seen, when a woman's water breaks, it gushes! There was no gushing.

Anyway, I mentioned my concerns to the doctor and she checked me out. Immediately from the speculum, she said I had to go to "Labour and Delivery". There was a lot of mucus and of course, my cervix was already a bit open. She was worried that the baby might get an infection. It would be dangerous for Mom and Baby if this happened. Gah! We're a few days short of 28 weeks! We couldn't possibly be having the baby NOW!

Off to L&D we went. Thankfully, Hubby was with me over the weekend. I said maybe it was a blessing that he was able to make it this weekend. He almost didn't come!

While in L&D, I had a battery of tests done (Ultrasounds, blood work, and even an amniocentesis)! I'm scared of needles and always dreaded having to get an amniocentesis. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be though.

The docs in L&D wanted to avoid having to induce me. They wanted to see if there was indeed an infection inside the fluid surrounding the baby. If Baby was in danger, then they'd deliver early. If not, they'd treat the infection and try to keep Baby inside for as long as they could and monitor us closely.

I was in L&D for over 24 hours. No signs of infection inside or around Junior's 'living area' and Junior looks fantastic. This little guy (or girl) is really active and strong. We were hooked up to the fetal monitor all night just in case something went wrong and Junior's condition all of a sudden took a nosedive.

To answer your questions, we almost delivered the baby yesterday. Can you imagine???Thankfully we get to keep the little bambino inside for a bit longer.

Just to make sure there is no infection, I'll be on IV for the next seven days. *sigh* I had one night of being hooked up on an IV and it was brutal. Hubby had to help me with everything! Yes, even with going to the bathroom.

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About the Blog Author


City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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Life on Manitoulin: Just a bunch of ramblings from a city girl gone country!

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