1) It’s amazing how much of my emotional state is directly influenced by how the baby is doing. When she’s doing well, I’m ecstatic and my spirits are high. When she goes through challenges most preemies go through, I find myself in tears, stressed, very emotional…and just a mess.
2) My life is pretty much ruled by being with Little One and pumping breast milk every 2~3 hours. I constantly find myself trying to figure out how certain appointments or activities will interfere with my pumping time and baby time. My birthday is next week and I’m supposed to go out for dinner with a few people, but as much as I’m looking forward to that, I am also thinking, “Gah! How am I going to fit in pumping if I’m out for dinner?” 😉
3) I never knew I’d have the capacity to love one person this much. I’ve invested all my time, energy and love into my daughter and everything seemed to come so naturally. Not that I thought it wouldn’t, but I’m amazed at how different everything is for me right now. She is my priority. It’s not about me first anymore. Not that I ever really put myself before anyone else. I’ve never really been that way, but now there is someone who needs to be put before me even more. Also, it’s not about my husband anymore (sorry, Hubby! I love you!). My first thoughts in the morning when I wake up are of Little One and my last thoughts at night when I go to bed are of Little One.
4) Little One definitely is a miracle baby. She was born twelve weeks too soon, but somehow managed to be a strong and determined baby whose only major issue is that she needs time to grow more and get stronger so she can develop and leave the hospital and come home! There are so many other things that could have gone wrong (and I dread thinking of all the possibilities), but this kid really amazed me. She’s a precious little miracle.
5) Talking to others and getting your feelings out really helps a lot.
6) Taking time out is also important. Going for a walk, having lunch with a friend or some good ‘ol retail therapy is sometimes a good way of getting your mind off of all the stress, anxiety, fear, and worry you have of your baby being preterm. Hubby, if you are reading this, don’t worry. When I meant retail therapy, I didn’t mean that I bought anything extravagant. I just bought a few items of NON-MATERNITY clothing since all of my maternity clothes are falling off me and I don’t have any of my pre-pregnancy clothes with me 🙂 Tee hee!
7) You learn to “know” your baby. You become familiar with her patterns and what is normal for her. You learn all these neat and special things about this tiny person…like when she scrunches up her face, strains her body, turns beet red and makes a grunting noise, she’s most probably pooping. At least that’s what Little One does when I’m holding her! I also know that she KNOWS when feeding time is. Every twenty minutes right before feeding time, she gets really active. She stretches and moves around like crazy. She opens her eyes and is really alert. Food is coming!
8) After a few weeks in the NICU, I’ve learned not to be obsessed with the monitors and computers by the baby’s bedside so much because sometimes it’s not the baby that has the problem. Sometimes the sensors are kicked off by the baby or sometimes there are techinical/mechanical problems. It’s not always accurate. I’ve learned to ignore certain alarms/bells. I’ve learned to look at the baby first. If the baby is pink, active and breathing, she’s fine. If the nurses don’t seem distressed, then you shouldn’t be.
9) I miss my husband and can’t wait to be back home and start our life as a family with the baby.
10) There will be many bumps and hiccups along the way.
11) Mount Sinai is an amazing hospital. The medical staff is fantastic and there are a lot of programs, groups and classes for parents with babies in the NICU and Level 2 nursery. Seriously, I feel so fortunate that Little One is getting the care she needs at Mount Sinai. We are at the best place for her right now.
12) Sick Kids Hospital is right across the street. Toronto General is also across the street and Princess Margaret Hospital is right beside Mount Sinai.
13) Sick Kids Hospital is a happy place for kids. When I went to visit a friend’s child there, I thought it would be sad to see all those sick kids… but it really is a happy place. It’s decorated in such a lively, kid-friendly way. There’s even a train that runs on a track that goes around the cafeteria! It’s a very happy place to be. I love that it’s kid-centered.
14) Taking an “Infant and Children’s CPR Course” really is so important. I feel so much more confident for when we take Little One home. I took my St. John’s Ambulance course years ago but never took a refresher course. The SJA course also just touched on what to do in case you are dealing with an infant or a child, but this CPR course I took was all about CPR for infants and children. I think I’ll write a post about it sometime soon.
15) Sleep is such a valuable thing…and I’m not getting nearly enough of it!!! 🙂