Monday, January 26, 2009

Three Princesses...and a Prince


Middle Bro and his wife (my beautiful SIL), Lele introduced their two princesses to the world last week. My gorgeous little nieces were born in K-town. Aren't they just scrumptious??? My parents went from having just one grandchild to having FOUR!!! Little One and the twins were actually due two weeks apart, but Little One decided to come two months early! The twins were a bit early too (born at 35 weeks gestation).
Now my adorable little nephew is a big cousin AND a big brother!

Of course, I had to add some photos of Little One! Here's our little princess holding my hand. Just chillin' with Daddy :)

This is a little belated, but congrats to Fancy Pantsy on the birth of her precious little one as well!

*The first three photos are courtesy of Lttle Nephew's (and The Twins') Nana. Thanks for e-mailing the photos, Nana x4!!!* xoxo
Thursday, January 22, 2009

Confessions of a Preemie Drama Queen


We are finally home. It's been a long two months (two and a bit, actually). Little One was transfered from Mount Sinai to the hospital in the closest "big city" to us on January 13th and was able to come home on the 18th.

One of the nurses at Mount Sinai told me that should I ever write a book about Little One's dramatic entrance into the world, I should entitle the book "Confessions of a Preemie Drama Queen" or "Code Pink Baby". Everything about Little One has been nothing short of dramatic. Her spontaneous birth to her adventures in the NICU...and then being airlifted to her step down hospital. *sigh* I'm surprised I survived all the drama. When I think of everything that has happened, it amazes me that we are finally home. I never thought I was a "strong" person. This whole experience taught me otherwise.Bath time before the big trip! This will be Little One's second airplane trip already and she was only 37 weeks corrected in this photo.One of the nurses was telling Little One that she was about to go on another big adventure! It was so funny because it looked like Little One was really paying attention and listening!
Being airlifted by air ambulance. Brrrrr! It was COLD!
Little One charmed the pants off of the paramedics too. Too funny!
Hubby was so happy to have his girls back home :)

Never in a million years would I have imagined having to go through what Little One, Hubby and I had to go through in the 38 weeks of her life. It's funny to think that in two weeks she will have reached her "due date".
Grandma was so excited to finally be able to hold Little One!
I know...enough with the baby photos already! :) I just can't get over how this tiny 2 lb, 3 oz preemie turned into this 5 lb, 9 oz little girlie! I'm also amazed at how long her eye lashes are! Just like her Daddy's! I'm jealous! Little One won't have to wear mascara like her Mama! I've got really skimpy Asian lashes :(
Look how happy she is to be home sweet home! :) Oh, and check out the rolls on her! Aren't they just scrumptious?!
Monday, January 12, 2009

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye


As if life weren't "exciting" enough, at rounds this morning I was informed that Little One would be transferred. That's right. We are leaving Toronto.

I felt a mix of excitement, nervousness, stress, anxiety (mainly over figuring out the logistics of things) and sadness (I really am going to miss Mount Sinai since it was my life for the past two months.). Everything happened so quickly and I feel sad that I won't get to say goodbye to everyone. I wanted to say goodbye to all the nurses and doctors who took care of Little One, as well as all the mommies I became friends with while their babies were in the NICU and Level 2 Nursery with Little One.

Little One will be air lifted to "the closest big city" to the Island sometime in the morning. Whether or not I will be able to fly with her is yet to be determined. I hope I can get on the air ambulance with her. If not, this raises a whole new set of worries and anxiety for me.

I just can't get over how quickly things go here. Everything just happened so fast. One minute, we're all settled into a nice routine and comfortable with all the nurses, the doctors, the schedules...and the next minute we are getting transferred.

We will be a little bit closer to home, but still two hours away. Oh well. Everything regarding Little One's birth has been dramatic (including her entrance into the world). I guess it would be silly to think that the rest of her life will be anything less than exciting and action-packed.

Little One is worth all of the craziness I've had to go through over the past sixty-three days. As hard as it has been to go through having a preemie in the hospital for two months and having to do it without my husband with me, I would do it again if I had to. Whenever I look at her perfect little face, I want to cry. I keep thinking that we made her!!! Seriously! Hubby and I made this perfect little human being! We made a human being! It's not like making a cake or anything! It's unbelievable.
Sunday, January 11, 2009

Coping


I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The nurse today told me that she doesn't think Little One even needs her NG tube anymore, since she can take all her feeds from breast and from bottle. Her low-flow is coming off tomorrow, so hopefully she will have nothing on her cute little face! All the tubes and things sticking out of her cute little nose will be gone if things go well.

Though the end of her stay in hospital is near, it's still not nearly close enough. There was talk that she may be transferred to another hospital (the one where my friend, Fancy Pantsy had her baby last week). Little One may or may not be moved from Mt. Sinai. I was hoping that she'd just get discharged from Mt. Sinai and that we can finally go home!!!

Little One is doing GREAT :) It's just me that is having a rough time. Living in Toronto for the two months that she has been in hospital is expensive. I'm fortunate that my aunt and uncle have been so great and have taken me into their home. They have been wonderful and I couldn't have gone through this whole giving birth to a preemie/getting air lifted to Toronto/having baby hospitalized for two months without them. The kicker is that even though I've been lucky to have had this support, there's also transportation, food, and miscellaneous expenses that I have incurred while stuck in Toronto Little One gets ready to come home from the hospital. My cell phone bill was so crazy that when I saw the bill, I wasn't sure if I was going to pass out or throw up. *sigh*

It's all worth it in the end. Little One is a healthy, strong, active, alert baby girl. I just cannot wait to get her home so we can have some semblance of normalcy.
Thursday, January 08, 2009

Must Haves


...for moms (and/or dads) who have babies in the NICU or Level 2 Nursery.

Having a premature baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is a difficult and very emotional experience. With all the worries we have for our babies and having to be with them in the hospital all day, it can get a little stressful and overwhelming at times.

It's hard to have to see your child go through all that they are going through in their early days in this world. IVs, spinal taps/lumbar punctures, x-rays, blood tests, eye exams...All things one would cringe at when seeing it happen to a tiny baby. It is not easy when you have to watch as your infant goes through this.

Here are a few things I've found particularly helpful in helping me get through those long days in that room with alarms, flashing lights, and ringers that never seem to stop:

1. The support of family members and the other parents who are going through the same thing as you are. I have made a few really great friends during Little One's stay at Mt. Sinai. It helps to be able to unload, vent, and share feelings of worry, frustration, sadness, anxiety...to people who understand because they know what you are experiencing.

2. The help of the support staff, doctors, nurses, social workers, etc. Use the resources you have at the hospital. That's what they are there for. Mt. Sinai has an EXCELLENT support system for parents of infants in the NICU and Level 2 Nursery.

3. The Internet. Of course, not for Googling all the medical terms, procedures and illnesses/conditions you hear the doctors talking about with regard to your baby! I don't advise anyone to Google anything like that. It will just overwhelm you and make you worry more! Use the Internet to divert your attention sometimes. E-mail, search for baby products, shop...whatever. Just try to get a couple minutes a day to yourself and just distract yourself for a bit. I found that getting out of the nursery for a few minutes was helpful. I'm there all day, so it is a bit wearing on a person to be by the baby's bedside all day without a break.

4. Baby books. I read to Little One as often as I can. It's a good idea to have your baby hear your voice. They know your voice since they've heard it in utero. Plus, I'm a bit biased. Being an ESL teacher, I think it's important to introduce children to the wonderful world of books and reading right from the start :)

Some of the books I have been reading to Little One at the hospital are:
I Love You Through and ThroughI bought these two books for Little One because they illustrate perfectly just how much I love my little girlie.

5. A BPA-free water bottle. Being at the hospital all day can get a bit dry. It's important to keep hydrated anyway. I also find that when I'm nursing or pumping, I get really thirsty all the time.

Sigg Bottles are reusable, eco-friendly, and fashionable. SIGG specializes in aluminum bottles lined with a resin to protect you from off-tastes in the water and any stray aluminum molecules. I've got a great BPA-free BIOS H20 bottle, but would love to get myself a Sigg.

6. A good pump! Of course, this is for you moms out there and not you dads! Mt. Sinai Hospital uses the Medela "Symphony" pump and Sick Kids Hospital uses Ameda's "Purely Yours". Both are very good pumps. I was given the Purely Yours as a baby shower gift and it works very well. I do find that in my case, the Symphony yields more milk though. (Sorry for the breast pump talk! Probably TMI for some, eh?) The Symphony is also designed to simulate a baby's sucking patterns. It helps for build up and let down periods. "This breastpump for hospitals and home rental gives the mother the most natural of feelings along with unique technical refinement. Ideal for long-term and frequent pumping needs."
The reason I mention breast pumps being a must have for NICU/Level 2 moms is because if you want to give your baby breast milk, it's a good idea to pump while you are at the hospital if you're there all day. Since most of us with babies in the NICU cannot breastfeed right away because our babies are too small or not ready to breastfeed, the lactation consultants/nurses try to get moms to start pumping right away to get their milk flowing. I pump because I want to make sure to keep my quantity up, but am wondering how I'm going to pump when Little One is now breastfeeding ad-lib while I'm at the hospital during the day! Again, sorry for all the boob talk, guys!

The Symphony is not for sale to the public. The hospital rents out the machines for a small fee per week. I think the machines cost $3000 a piece (or so I've been told)!

7. A camera. You won't want to miss out on any of those precious early moments! I know I've taken a zillion photos of Little One already and she's only (Gah! I should say already instead of only!) 60 days old!

8.The Nestle Baby Backpack. It's free if you go on the website and request one by joining the Nestle Baby Program. My sister-in-law is expecting twins and when she had her first baby she told me about the Nestle Baby site. The backpack is a convenient diaper bag that comes with a change pad and is insulated. It's pretty roomy, yet not bulky. I've been using it to lug around my Purely Yours pump, bottles and other things like my notebook, pen, cell phone, etc.

9. A notebook and a pen. You might want to do some journal writing while you're there. I've been keeping a journal to keep Little One's story for posterity. It's an amazing keepsake for her to look back on when she is older. Though I have the blog and have chronicled her story here, there's nothing like the tangible properties books have and the written word (and I mean handwritten) is so special too.

If you're not a journal writing kind of person, it's also handy to keep a notebook and pen anyway in case you need to jot down any questions or concerns you may have. I've done this many times in Little One's early weeks. I took notes for Hubby since I had to sift through all the medical jargon myself and speak with doctors about things like Bilirubin levels, repeat levels, phototherapy, Trivisol, RSV, apnea of prematurity, spells, retinopathy of prematurity, bradycardia, desats, etc.

*sigh* There are so many things I never thought I'd ever need to know until I gave birth to my preemie :) I hope this post helps other parents out there who have infants in the NICU/Level 2 Nursery.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009

It Makes My Heart Hurt


...but not in a bad way.

Whenever I look at my Little One, my heart hurts. It swells with emotion. It's something so overwhelming and words cannot seem to explain the feelings I have for her. I look at her and I think of the miracle she truly is. She is absolute perfection, all wrapped up in the tiniest of packages. She amazes me.

I cannot believe she went from this 2 lb, 3 oz preemie
to this 5 lb, 3 oz little girlie...
*Yes, I had to cover up her girlie bits in that first photo. I'm sure that if the blog is still around when she becomes a teenager, she'll be very upset with her mommy for posting incriminating photos of her! *sigh*
Monday, January 05, 2009

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!


Okay, apparently keeping away from the blog was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I thought I was going to close shop, but now I'm not so sure. Yes, at times it feels like a bit much to keep up with, but at the same time it has been very therapeutic.

Hubby told me today that he believes the blog has been good for me. It started off as a place for me to keep in touch with the loved ones I left behind in the city and all over the globe. It then took on a life of its own and became a place of sharing. I've shared funny moments, difficult experiences, happy times, etc.

Hubby also reminded me that I've not only been able to keep friends and family up to date, but I have met so many wonderful people along the way.

Recently, it's been a place where I've chronicled the journey we went on to bring Little One into the world and then her birth story, as well as the experience having a baby born very preterm. It hasn't been an easy journey, but Little One is a fighter and she is doing so well.

Hopefully Little One will be discharged from the hospital soon. Heaven knows that her Mama is emotionally, physically and mentally drained from the months that led to her birth and the two months of her being in the hospital's NICU/Level 2 Nursery. I guess I'm so anxious, exhausted and emotional because Little One has been in the hospital for 56 days (I have been away from home since OCTOBER!!!) and I know we are so close to the end. I just want to go home already. Soon. Hopefully soon.
I guess you guys are stuck with me for a little longer! :)
Sunday, January 04, 2009

55 Already!


That's right. Little One is 55 already! 55 days old, that is! She's also just a little over 5 lbs! Pretty incredible since she was only 2 lbs, 3 oz at birth!

Little One is very alert and active. She loves listening to Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. She is entranced by her mobile and intrigued by her reflection in her mirror. She loves her bath and when I read to her, she watches me attentively. She is a very sweet baby and doesn't cry much. When she does, she self-soothes within a few seconds. She only cries when she is disturbed (when taking her temperature or when the nurses take blood from her tiny foot).

I also have some other news. I'm thinking of taking a break from the blog and the blog world. I'll miss it, but it's also been a source of stress. I've had a few comments and e-mails about my last post (as well as other posts) that have just added to the stress I already have with everything that is going on with the baby being in the hospital. I don't have the time or energy to deal with all the negativity.

I am having a very hard time dealing with everything regarding the baby (and the baby being in the hospital) on my own here. I've been very fortunate to be staying with my aunt and uncle, who have been so helpful in so many ways. This said, I'm far away from my husband and my home and I just want my baby to be able to come home with us soon. It's been a long two months and I am getting tired. Every mother I have spoken to has said that having a baby is an emotional time. That is true...and having a baby very preterm AND being in the hospital for two months is even more emotional.

Thanks again, everyone. I'll be in touch with some of you outside of the blog world.
C
XOXO
Friday, January 02, 2009

Stranger on a Train...and Other Strange Stories


A few days ago, I was taking the subway back after a day spent at the hospital with my baby girl. I've been feeling like a walking zombie these days because I'm just so tired. Tired of commuting to have to see my baby in the hospital! Anyway, I fell asleep probably before Union Station and opened my eyes when we reached Queen or Dundas. I looked up and there was this very pregnant woman standing in front of me. I quickly jumped up, hopped off my seat and said, "Excuse me. Would you like to sit down?" She gladly accepted and gestured to the man sitting next to me and said, "Yes, thank you! I thought that man was going to let me sit, but I guess there are no gentlemen left in the world." I knew she was being sarcastic and we both chuckled. I was shocked that no one offered her a seat. The subway was packed, but wouldn't you think that people would offer up their seat to anyone who was in need (like someone pregnant)?

"I would have offered you my seat earlier had I not fallen asleep", I said. "Oh, no problem. Thank you so much".

I asked her where she was from, because I detected a Monterrey accent. Yes, she was from Mexico and was surprised that I knew where she was from. We talked about how I teach ESL and have lots of Mexican students. We also chatted a bit in Spanish, and I apologized for being a bit rusty. She was just excited to be able to speak Spanish with me.

I then asked her where she was going to have her baby and she said, "I don't know if you know this place. It's Mount Sinai". "Oh! That's where my baby was born! I gave birth to her a few weeks ago!" "Oh! You just had a baby?! Do you want to sit down???" I said no and insisted that she sit down. We talked about Little One and her dramatic entrance into the world. Before I knew it, we had reached my stop. We departed as two long lost friends would. She was surprised to have met someone so friendly on a crowded subway.

I thought about that on the bus ride back to the place I am staying at. Why should it be such a surprise to meet someone friendly? It sometimes feels like we seem to lose that 'ability' or 'want' when it comes to being kind to strangers. Anyway, I left the subway station feeling pretty good and the conversation did make the ride seem to go by faster.

One last strange story before I call it a night. I had a disturbing (to me) conversation today with someone pretty close to me. It went something like this:

PersonWhoShallRemainUnnamed: When you get back home with the baby you will have to do something about that weight. You have a lot of work ahead of you to get rid of all that weight and get healthy.

Me: (in total disbelief) I just had a baby seven weeks ago. Actually, I now weigh less than I did BEFORE I got pregnant. (Sheesh! Why are we having this conversation now? I've got a lot to deal with right now...namely having a baby in the hospital and desperately wanting her to be able to leave the level2 nursery so we can go home!)

PersonWhoShallRemainUnnamed: Hmph. Okay. You say what you want. I think you know deep down what you need to do.

Me: I cannot believe we are having this conversation.

PersonWhoShallRemainUnnamed: Fine. I'm not going to go there. You know what you need to do though.

Okay, perhaps said person has my best interests at heart, but most of the time it feels like said person is just being hurtful. I know that I will never be a size 0. I never was a size 0. Hubby and I are active and we eat healthy. At home I cook all our meals from scratch, we eat fresh produce that is mostly from our garden, and we don't eat much food that has preservatives or additives in it. Everything is mostly homemade and healthy.

If PersonWhoShallRemainUnnamed were the poster child for healthy living, perhaps I might not be so upset. However, said person is not the picture of good health, so why is said person beating down on me when said person has a lot of health issues to contend with himself? It just made me so mad.

I just had a baby a few weeks ago. I've been commuting, breastfeeding, walking a great amount, running on no sleep...and have been losing weight because of this craziness ever since being discharged from the hospital. All of my clothes were too big that I had to buy new jeans and pants and my wedding ring and engagement ring are so loose now that they just slip off my finger. Actually, Hubby has been telling me that he hopes I don't disappear on him because every time he sees me (when he comes to Toronto to be with us every two weeks) he tells me not to keep shrinking so much.

By the way, I told Hubby about my rings being too big on me and he suggested getting them resized. I said I think I need new ones! ;) Just kidding!

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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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