Monday, November 28, 2011

Lvl Up: 3 Months

Dear Baby,

I'm sorry I haven't written much this month. I've been very sick. I need to have my gallbladder out, but the doctors are taking their time booking me for surgery. This past week has been the worst, so we've been staying at Nana's for a few days. We're going back home today though, because Daddy misses us soooo much, and tomorrow is the beginning of his weekend; so he can lose some sleep and not be unsafe at work (Daddy works with big machines so he has to be alert). I feel better today though; and since you're being a couch-bundle, I figured I'd do your birthday message now.

First of all, I called you a couch-bundle because whenever you're happily bundled up in a blanket Daddy and I call you our Baby-Bundle. You're a couch-bundle right now, because you're all bundled up on Nana's couch. Don't worry about being a couch-bundle though. Whenever you're a couch-bundle I tuck you into the corner with a heavy pillow blocking the edge of the couch (just incase that moment is the moment you decide you're ready to roll over and over). I always block you in like a triangle, with the base at your head, so you have plenty of room to breath but have your little body snuggled in place. I also make sure I can always see you for extra safety. You love being a bundle!

Ok, here's the list of new Baby things you've accomplished in the last month:

  • Toys - Not only do you play with the toys that dangle down on your Princess Chair, but you also have a favourite snuggle toy now. The Nans bought you a little stuffed reindeer (Rudolph's girlfriend, Clarice, from the classic movie we'll watch this December) and you love to suck on its ear. You also will hug it sometimes and nuzzle your little face into it.

  • Words - You have firmly decided that "Nah" is your word for your bottle. Whenever you're hungry you fuss and cry out "Nah" until Daddy and I can get the bottle into your mouth...and if we don't move fast enough you start to howl! Now, however, if you're not super hungry, you'll calmly say "Nah" loud enough for Daddy and I to hear, but without the fussing. I think this means you know that Daddy and I do our best to satisfy your needs, so you don't need to panic when you get know you'll get fed. You also call your Choochee "Nee". When you want your Nee, you say it so sadly. It's like you're asking for your long-lost best friend to return to you!

  • People - I think you're starting to learn that you're capable of preferring certain people over others. You're starting to assign "words" to the people you want the most. You've already said "Mama" and "Mah" a lot. That's obviously me, and when you're really upset and crying for me I'm just "Aaaah. Aaaah. Aaaah." You click your tongue in a very definitive way for Daddy (that's because Daddy clicks his tongue to soothe you). You also clearly love Nana! You call her "Nine" or "NieNieNie". You don't have a sound for Auntie E yet, but you make it known that you love her a whole lot too. You love everyone else as well, but I think the four of us are your "favourites".

  • Growth - You've broken 9lbs! Last time you were measured you were a little more than 1 2/3 feet, and you were 9lbs 2oz. Good growing Baby!! You're still very petite though, and we still get lots of adoring fans commenting on how tiny you are. Mommy and Daddy will literally get stopped in public by complete strangers commenting on how cute and adorable and perfect you are. We already know you're perfect, but we thank your adoring fans anyway.

  • Rolling Over - You're able to roll from your back to your side on your own now. You can also roll from your tummy all the way to your back. You still haven't rolled from your back to your tummy yet, but that's only a matter of time I'm sure.

  • Back/Neck Strength - You're now able to hold your head up for super long periods of time, and you love tummy time because you get to show off your strength! You've also been able to hold a sitting up position with no assistance (although I kept my hands close to catch you) for more than 30 seconds at a time. We're exercising your legs now too: I hold you under your arms with your legs touching my lap, and you push back with your legs. They're getting really strong. You should be able to play in your Jolly Jumper pretty soon! You love, love, love sitting and standing now. You love anything that makes you feel like a big girl!

  • Those are the main accomplishments I can remember right now, Baby. I'm starting to get sleepy again. I think I'll join you for a nap on the couch. We can be couch-bundles together!

    Mommy and Daddy love you so much, Baby! Keep growing and keep being the smart, adorable, perfect little (big) girl that you always are! Oh, and keep those huge, adorable smiles coming! Everyone eats those up!

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Lvl Up: 2 Months

    Dear Baby,

    Yesterday was the day you were supposed to be born. Now that we're here, I can definitely say I'm soooo happy you decided to come out early. I can't imagine the last two months (and a bit) without you! Staying true to birthday tradition, I'm making a list of all the cognitive developments you've made since your 1 Month Birthday:

  • Laugh - Now with sound! You laugh half the time without sound still, but half the time you make noise now; and it is the most beautiful laugh I've ever heard. I can tell your a happy baby, because you laugh in your sleep almost every night!

  • Toys - You have enough control over your hands now to reach up and bat at the toys that hang down over your Princess Chair (your bouncy seat). You're still gentle and curious, instead of confident and enthusiastic, but that's just because you're still new at using your hands for things and at playing with toys. Every once in a while, though, you give one of them a good smack and they dance for you with vigour!

  • Baby Words - You've started making more coos and gurgles and other baby noises. However, amazingly you've also already assigned a specific sound to your bottle. You call it your "Nah". Daddy and I know your fussing (you never cry unless we keep you waiting for a while) because you're hungry when you yell out "Nah". And, when Daddy or I say, "Hailey wants her Nah? Here comes your Nah." or something similar to that, you calm down and stop fussing for a few minutes while you wait patiently for your milk.

  • Real Words - Your speedy development is actually starting to freak me and Daddy out a bit. True to your nature, you've already said your first word well before it's expected of typical babies. Your first real word is the typical first word: "Mama". Momma's gallbladder isn't working properly, and it needs to come out. One night, Momma had to stay at the hospital overnight, and Daddy says you were crying and no matter what he did he couldn't console you. Then you yelled out "Mama" very clearly, and that's when Daddy realized you were upset because I wasn't there. Daddy and I know babies make "Mah" sounds naturally, but this was no accident. Daddy swears you clearly said "Mama" with no break inbetween the syllables! I wasn't sure I believed him 100%, but a couple days later I was outside, smoking and you did it again. I'm your first word!

  • Those are the main milestones you've reached so far. Your coordination, sound recognition and sight are all developing as well as they should be. You're getting very good at controlling your neck and holding up your head. You're still growing rapidly and are nearly caught up with the full term babies that were born when you were. All the doctors and nurses at the Health Unit and other medical staff that meet you are always so impressed with how healthy you are and how quickly you're maturing.

    Also, you're a brave little girl! You had your first shots today, and you did so well! You only cried for three seconds, and then continued on happily as if nothing happened. The nurses agreed with Momma that you're a superstar (I bragged about how well you did in the NICU to them when we first met).

    Finally, at the Health Clinic, you were weighed. Daddy and I were shocked to find out you've already almost doubled your birthweight! You're 8lbs 1oz. Good growing!

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    Parental Ideals

    Dear Baby,

    I was thinking about what would be best to do when you're older and you come to me for advice (as every child does). I don't like what almost all parent do, which is simply tell their child what they would do in the same situation, or they tell them what they want them to do. You're not me, so what I would do may not be the best choice for you. I decided that when you come to me for advice or guidance, I'd like to give you as many reactions to choose from as I can think of. Then, because you may want to know, I'd tell you what I would do if I were in your place.

    For example, it's inevitable that you'll run into ignorant people who will react negatively to the fact that you have a Nana and a Nanny on Mommy's side and an Auntie with a girlfriend on Daddy's side. There's probably a good chance that one of your classmates will tease you about it; and when you come to me for help, I plan to let you know that there are many reactions you can choose from to handle it.

    I like this idea best, because it'll benefit you immensely in life. Not only will it teach you that you always have a choice in how you conduct yourself, but it also teaches you to think out your options when tackling an issue in life instead of just blindly reacting (which will help build your problem solving skills). It'll help build your confidence to know that despite what challege you're facing you handled it in your own way. It'll teach you that for every decision you make, there is a consequence: Make a good decision and things will work well, but make a not-so-good decision and you may regret it. Also, I really want to encourage your individuality. I want to teach you that you are the only one who can truly decide what you will, or will not, do in life.

    It was about 4am when I was thinking about this. I was outside having a smoke, and suddenly a mother came out of the building, carrying her little boy. I guess the boy had done something to upset her, and I heard her tell her son that he was "bad". That got me thinking about another parenting factor. I want to promise you that I will never tell you you're bad. Every child pushes his or her boundaries, and every child tests his or her parent's patience. It's part of growing up and it's part of your personal development.

    I want to remember, and I want to teach you, that just because someone does something that's less than ideal, that doesn't neccessarily make them a bad person. There are bad people in the world, but not everyone that makes a bad decision is a bad person. When I'm upset with you, I really do hope I remember to seperate your actions from who you are as a person. If I ever say you're bad, then I apologize now. If I ever called you bad, I was wrong and I was bad for saying so. You are not a bad person, Baby; and if I ever say you are, you have every right to tell me I'm wrong!

    Lastly, I want to remember to let you say "No". So many parents tell their children to never say "no" to them. That is probably one of the biggest mistakes a parent can make! When children grow up always getting in trouble for disagreeing with their parents, they have a hard time saying "no" to anyone when they're older. It can result in a lot of bad things happening to them. You are definitely allowed to tell me "no". In fact, I encourage it. I want you to voice when you're happy with something and when you're not happy with something. Just remember, though, just because you say "no" to me about a decision I've made, doesn't mean you're going to get your way. In the end, I'm the Mommy, so if I say it's time for bed and you say "no", it's still time for bed!

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011


    Dear Baby,

    You're such a superstar! After only two days of trying, you're now able to get your hand to your toys on your bouncy chair all by yourself everytime you try! You're so thrilled with yourself! You love to sit in the chair and smack at the toys so they move back and forth over your head. You watch them until they stop, then you smack them again. Mommy and Daddy are so proud, and I think you're proud of yourself too!

    Also, I'd like to report that you are one super happy baby. You smile and laugh all the time; and for the last week, you've laughed or giggled in your sleep at night every night. This makes me and Daddy so thrilled. I guess we're doing a good job providing for you. I'm so happy that you're so happy!

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    Tummy Time

    Dear Baby,

    Today we had "Tummy Time". You're still very small, so I lay down, propped up a little, and hold you tummy down on my chest for now. We had a happy Tummy Time. At one point you kicked your little foot, and I said "Oh, are you kicking your foot?" I guess you thought you were in trouble because you started to fuss a little. I said, "No, no. It's ok. Those are your little toes. You can do whatever you want with your little toes." You liked that and did your silent laugh; so I said, "That's right. Those are Hailey's toes. Hailey can do anything she wants with her little toes." You smiled.

    We cuddled and I talked to you and you had lots of smiles. Tummy Time was a success.

    On another note, you're still a super smart baby. You're now able to identify when you're hungry versus when you just want to suck for comfort. When you want to suck, but you're not hungry, you squish your lips tightly together when Daddy or I offer you the bottle. When we switch and try your Choochee, you open your mouth just enough to slip the Choochee inside. When you're hungry, though, you'll open your mouth wide for the bottle. This makes it very easy for Daddy and I to learn the difference between your "I'm Hungry" cry and your "Choochee, please" cry.

    Also, I was worrying that you weren't gaining any weight since you came home, but you definitely are. Just yesterday, Daddy and I found out that you're too big for your Preemie diapers now. You now wear full-term newborn diapers. Good growing!!

    One more thing: Your bouncy chair is probably the best $30 Daddy and I have ever spent. You love it! We call it your Princess Throne. You love to sleep in it during the day, all tucked in with your blanket. Your Throne is in the Living Room, where Mommy and Daddy can keep an eye on you, but still do things around the apartment. You like having the TV on in the background for the happy noises. You're also already trying to reach for the toys that hang down on your Throne. You've been successful in connecting your hand to them once or twice. This is good progress in developing your eye-hand coordination. Daddy and I are impressed!

    You're doing very well, Baby. Everyone is so happy that you're finally home, including you!

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Home Sweet Home

    Dear Baby,

    It's been about four days since you've been home. The first couple nights were rough. You must have been overwhelmed, because your feeding schedule got all messed up. In fact, there really wasn't a "schedule" to speak of. You ate completely random amounts at completely random times. You didn't sleep much the first night; which means neither did Daddy or me. But that's ok. Daddy and I took turns letting the other sleep. I took the night shift, because I'm a night owl anyway; and just as I was beginning to get too exhausted to function, Daddy woke up and took over. Daddy and I are a great team!

    Luckily it was Daddy's weekend when you came home, and luckily you settled in really quickly. Now you're back to a somewhat regular feeding schedule and you sleep for long periods of time (which is good, because a human can only grow and develop when asleep). The nurse at the NICU was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up with your feeding demands, so she slipped me a case of premixed formula. She didn't need to worry. In just the last couple days, my milk supply has doubled! I'm definitely keeping up.

    The only kink in our plans that remains is that you don't like to sleep in your crib for very long right now. I totally understand though. You were in Mommy's womb for almost seven months. Then you were in the little incubator for a few weeks. Now you've been in the little cots at the hospital for a few weeks. You're used to sleeping in small spaces. Your crib is absolutely beautiful, but it's quite large (especially compared to your tiny body). So, despite what all the "experts" say, I bring you into bed with me for most of the night. I try to put you to bed in your crib after each feeding, but most of the time you howl until I bring you back out and cuddle you.

    Luckily for us, I don't move in my sleep. Whatever position I fall asleep in, is the exact same position I wake up in. Daddy moves around a lot though; so I hold you against my chest, with you facing outwards so your breathing is nice and clear, with my back to Daddy. I make sure I have my arm around you to hold you in place, and I make sure your neck is straight so you can breathe easily.

    All the experts and all the books advise against this, but they don't know you. I read the "Tao of Motherhood" recently, and it's really helped put things in perspective. Each baby is different. Each parent is different. Therefore the "best" thing to do for each new family is different. I don't feel bad for bringing you into bed with me, even if the books disagree, because I know you're safe and I know you'll sleep better this way. I feel the highest authority on what's right for a child is his/her mother's own intuition.

    Baby books nowadays are good at stressing that each baby is an individual, but then they go on to give generic advice and claim it's what's best for all babies. Those two statements seem contradictory to me. So, I've decided to just do what our "bond" tells me is right to do, and to hell with all the so-called "experts". The only people that are experts at raising you are you, me and your Daddy!

    I hope more mothers start listening to their intuition, instead of raising their babies "by the book". I also hope more mothers read the "Tao of Motherhood". Not only did it make me feel better about my decisions regarding you, but it helped me feel less stressed and more serene about being a mommy.

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    The Best Day Ever!

    Well, that was fast! Just a couple days ago, I wrote to you about how you were coming home soon. Well, I went to the NICU yesterday morning and was told that you'd be coming home today! You have no idea how thrilled Daddy and I are! It feels like Christmas!!

    You passed your carseat test with flying colours. You didn't even fuss one bit; you just sat there happily looking around the room. A lot of babies find the car seat uncomfortable or scary (because it's new) and will cry hysterically. Not you! You're so ready to come home.

    You've also created your own feeding schedule already. Instead of drinking the 60mL every three hours that the nurses were giving you, you prefer to drink about 90mL every four hours instead. This helps me out, because it means the pumping schedule I've already created for myself ensures that there's always at least two feedings worth of milk available for you.

    I hope you're just as happy at home as you seem to be in the NICU. I find myself amazed at what a "Dream Baby" you've been so far. You don't cry hysterically, like most babies, until your needs are met; and, when you do fuss or cry, you calm down almost immediately once I start talking quietly to you and stroke your hair or pick you up. You're a surrpisingly mellow, easy to please, little girl! Even the nurses said that you constantly surprise them with how content you always are. The only time you ever cried like a baby normally does (loud and inconsolable for a while) was when you were still having tummy problems, and you had an enormous amount of gas that needed to be passed. Since too much gas can cause actual pain, I'm not surprised that you cried that hard until you had passed it! Besides that one episode, you always seem to be at peace.

    There's a lot of mothers who swear they have a "psychic"-like bond with their babies. These mothers know what their baby needs almost instantly without having to analyze the type of crying their babies are doing or their body language, etc. Some mothers even know, without being in the same room or having the baby make any noise, when their baby is awake. I've never heard of a baby having that same bond with its mother and responding to that bond! Babies only have the capacity to recognize their own needs, and whether or not those needs are being met. They certainly don't (can't) realize that there's other people who have their own needs and that they can effect those people's moods by meeting or not meeting those people's needs.

    You, however, are different. It's like you know what makes Daddy and me happy or content, and you do what you can to ensure we're fulfilled as well. You know we love it when you smile, so you smile all the time and even laugh. You seem to have picked up that I was struggling to keep up with your feedings, so you've made yourself a feeding schedule that gives me an opportunity to keep up with your tummy. You are constantly blowing my mind with how mature you are, Baby! You aren't just a gift, or even just a miracle, you are indescribable.

    Saturday, October 8, 2011


    Dear Baby,

    Today I went to the NICU to drop off bottles and spend time with you (Daddy would have come too, but he works today). When I got there, your nurse gave me some amazing news! You no longer have to have your vitals monitored, which means we took the ECG/Respiration/Oxygen Level feeds off of you. You also are feeding orally for all your feedings now, which means we got to take that nasty feeding tube out. You hate the feeding tube; and, despite the fact that it's taped to your face, you somehow manage to pull it out often. Now you don't have to have it anymore!

    Also, you no longer are on any medication, including the fortifier we had to add to my breastmilk to help you grow.

    The nurses are feeding you "on demand" now, which means they wait until you wake up hungry to feed you, and they let you drink as much or as little as you want.

    I can't believe that you're going to be home very soon. Mommy and Daddy are hoping you'll be discharged by Thursday morning at the latest. That way we can bring you to the Nan's house for Thanksgiving dinner! If that happens, I'm not going to tell the Nan's: Daddy and I will just show up with you as a surprise!

    The nurse said that all the nurses and doctors are surprised by how fast you've matured. Apparently they've never seen a baby progress as fast as you. I am so thrilled and so proud! Daddy is too!

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    A Big Girl On The Inside

    Dear Baby,

    You seem to think that you're a full term baby. You have no idea that you're just a tiny, two month premature, little girl. You're still just over a month from your original due date, yet you're developmentally on par (and, in some areas, surpass) full term babies. I guess you're only premature in the physical sense. I don't know why, but this is most apparent to me when I'm watching you (this tiny baby) suck as vigorously as any full term baby on a choochee that's too big for you.

    Daddy and I are proud of how smart and mature you are!

    Also, you just had your first growth spurt ever. Just last week you had finally reached the 5lbs mark. Today you're more than 6lbs 4oz. I guess you're catching up to the full term babies as well now!


    Daddy Says: "Hi, Baby! I love you, and I'll do anything I can to make you happy!"

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Adorable Daddy

    Dear Baby,

    Today Daddy and I were watching TV together after we got home from visiting you at the NICU. A Tim Horton's commercial came on where a daughter had just moved away from her parent's, and her parents were in town to see her new place. The father kept pointing out all the flaws about his daughter's new place and the town she was in. Eventually they went to Tim Horton's.

    While the father was paying, the mother confided to the daughter that her dad really misses her. Then the father joins them at the table, and the daughter told him to "never stop visiting". The father replied, "I miss you too."

    Right after the commercial ended, your Daddy waved it away and said, "No. Bad Tim Horton's. No." I looked over and saw that he was all teary-eyed. He was thinking about when you move out, and it made him sad. I giggled a bit, because you're not even home from the hospital yet.

    Isn't Daddy cute?

    Sunday, October 2, 2011


    Dear Baby,

    I'm thrilled, but also a little surprised. When some of the parents whose babies are in the NICU walk by and look at you, instead of smiling and continuing on to see their own child, they stop and stare.

    Then they start remarking on how beautiful/adorable/cute you are. This is great, and I completely agree with them, but it's a little surprising that they seem to forget about their own babies for a second when they're in your presence! Even the parents with baby's that are sickly or struggling to keep their vitals in a normal range will stop to fawn over you! One couple even said you're perfect, and I couldn't agree more.

    Unlike a lot of other preemies, you're in perfect proportion. You look like a regular, healthy newborn just shrunk down about 25%. You're obviously the prettiest baby in the NICU!

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

    Lvl Up: 1 Month

    Dear Baby,

    Today you are one month old! It's crazy to think that I should still be pregnant with you right now, with just over another month to go. I am shocked and impressed with your development so far! You're doing things that even full term babies take a while to master. The nurses at the NICU call you a super star, and Mommy and Daddy totally agree with them!

    To celebrate your one month birthday, I'm going to make a list of all the things you can already do:
    • Smile - You already smile, and it is beautiful! A lot of people say babies smile involuntarily, but I don't agree with that. You don't smile all the time for no reason! You only smile when people are talking; most of all when you hear Mommy and Daddy talking!
    • Laugh - You don't make any noise; but when Mommy or Daddy say things with a joking tone in our voice, or when we laugh, you smile and open your mouth really wide. Your lower jaw moves up and down slightly: You look exactly like you're laughing but without sound.

    • Hands - You've already discovered your hands. You've realized there's one on either side of you (you spent a good half hour looking at one, then the other, then back to the first again); you realize they're part of you; and you have excellent control over them.

    • Neck - You can already hold your head up on your own for a good amount of time. You can even lift your head to turn it from one side to the other when you're lieing on your tummy (sometimes the nurses put you on your tummy after a feed, because you have reflux).

    • Play - This was the most amazing discovery of all! You already understand the concept of a game!! I was holding you a week ago, and you suddenly opened your mouth but you weren't hungry or yawning. I kissed inside it to make a funny noise, and you started doing your silent laugh. Then you opened your mouth again, so I kissed inside it again, and again you laughed. This went on for a few minutes, and each time you held your mouth open until I kissed inside it. Not only did you figure that out, but you remember it! Almost everytime I go in to visit you we play our game (Daddy calls it "Kissy Face") for a bit.
    Those are the discoveries you've already made that are the most impressive to me. Mommy and Daddy are so proud of how smart and advanced you are. We can't wait to see what else you pick up on early as you grow!

    Speaking of growing, you're over 5lbs now! Good job, Baby. Keep up the good work!

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    You Hate Your New Haircut

    Dear Baby,

    Today the nurses had to move your IV to your head. Unfortunately, it seems you've inherited Mommy's lousy veins. Sorry about that. It took the nurses a couple tries to get the IV in your hand; and, after a few days, it collapsed. Then the IV went in your foot, but it collapsed after a few days too. Apparently the veins in a newborn's head are strong and near the surface, so it's the best place to put the IV.

    Bad news though: The nurses had to shave a patch of your hair. You did not appreciate this! You yelled "Mah!" at them and tried to smack their hands. Then you started crying.

    I'm sorry they messed up your beautiful hair, but the IV is good for you. It helps keep you hydrated until your tummy is big enough to hold more milk.

    Don't worry: You're still completely adorable, and your hair will grow back eventually.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    Hospital Notes

    Dear Baby,

    While you were still at the hospital in Surrey, Nana and Nanny were nice enough to pay for Mommy and Daddy to stay at a hotel right around the corner from you. I wrote a couple letters to you while at the hotel. Here they are, exactly as I wrote them out in my notebook:

    August 29th, 2011

    Dear Baby,

    Today a nurse came in to take out Mommy's IV at around 6:45am. Mommy and Daddy were so excited to see you, that we forgot the NICU is closed from 7 am (whcih is what time it was when we got there, because we had to get dressed, etc) until 8 am for a shift change. We were disappointed, but we're going right back once the clock says 8!

    We did come visit you last night when Mommy's epidural wore off, so she could move. Daddy and all your grandparents had visited you right after you were settled in your incubator.

    You are so tiny!

    Your skin colour is good. You're doing a good job at breathing on your own, so the doctor decided to take your oxygen mask off after only a few hours. You're already moving and making little sounds and you haven't really cried. The nurses all say that, according to your heartbeat, you're a happy baby (still)!

    Daddy and I visited you for an hour, but we both had to sleep, so we regrettably returned to our room for the night.

    We did learn, however, that you earned a 9/10 on your 5 minute APGAR test, which is amazing for a baby born as premature as you! You must have really wanted to be born, Baby! You were conceived by a girl who had been told she'd never have kids, happily rode out a very difficult pregnancy, and insisted on busting out into the world a little more than two months early! I already love your little attitude. Just like Mommy, you have lots of "hutspah"!


    August 31st, 2011

    Dear Baby,

    Today was a good day for everyone. Mommy started to get a good flow of milk for the nurses to feed you through your feeding tube (which you pulled out of your mouth and throat last night, so it now goes down your nose).

    Daddy held you for the first time today; and he loved it so much, he didn't want to put you back in your incubator. The reason Daddy didn't hold you right away is that he was scared that he'd hurt you because you're so small. However, you showed him that you're much stronger than you look: You were holding Daddy's finger in your little hand when you suddenly gripped it tightly and yanked it up toward your face. When Daddy felt how strong your pull was, he realized he didn't have to be afraid of huring you!

    You had a good day today too. You finally got your thumb in your mouth to suck on. You've been working on that for a couple days!

    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    Our Story So Far: You're A Preemie!

    Dear Baby,

    ...or should I say, "Dear Trouble-Maker"?

    Last Saturday I woke up around 5:30am, because our horrible third trimester heartburn was keeping me awake. I ate a little breakfast and sat down at the computer to go on Facebook. At 7am Daddy had just woken up for work and was going out on the balcony for a smoke. I decided to join him outside, because I was feeling a little overheated. Now, don't worry, I never had even one cigarette throughout our pregnancy. Not even a puff of Daddy's smokes. The day I found out I was pregnant with you, I stopped cold turkey. Also, I always sit far away from Daddy when he's smoking, so we don't breathe in any second hand smoke. Anyway, I stood up to go outside with Daddy, and I felt a little gush of warm water. A second one quickly followed. There wasn't a huge puddle like they imply in the movies, but it was a large enough amount that I knew I hadn't lost control of my bladder (this sometimes can happen in the third trimester).

    I looked at Daddy with shock on my face and said, "Uh, I think my water just broke." Daddy asked if I was sure, so I went to the bathroom to check. There was a tiny bit of our mucous plug in my pants, and the liquid that had come out smelt a little like chlorine (that's what amniotic fluid usually smells like, apparently). I confirmed with Daddy that we should probably go to the hospital since I wasn't even seven months pregnant yet. I changed my pants, checked the floor where I had been standing when our water broke (there was only a couple drops of fluid), and we left.

    No more fluid came out on the ten minute ride to the hospital, but as soon as I stood up when I got out of Daddy's car that's when I had the huge gush they show in the movies. Luckily I was outside of Daddy's car, so I didn't get his seat wet! Daddy had dropped me off at the front doors, so he went to park while I went inside. The water just kept coming out! A nurse was passing by (she must have just finished her shift and was heading home), so I asked her quickly if there were any wheelchairs because I was in labour. She asked if I was in pain. I said no and joked that I wanted the wheelchair so I wouldn't flood the hospital. She was nice enough to get me a wheel chair and bring me up to the maternity ward. Daddy came up soon after.

    I remember the maternity nurses laughing at me after I changed into the hospital gown. They were quickly checking to see how wet my pants were, when they saw that I had wrapped a bit of toilet paper around my panties. I explained that I didn't have any menstrual pads at home and that the amount of water that first came out was so small I figured the bit of toilet paper would catch it if more came out. Looking at the humongous puddle on the wheel chair and seeing the fact that almost my entire pants were soaked, I laughed too.

    While I was there, they hooked me up to the monitor to check on your vital signs. You were happy as a clam! It seemed like you hadn't even realized my water had broken. Your heart rate was 150, as usual, and you showed absolutely no signs of distress. The nurses gave me a shot of a certain steroid that drastically speeds up the maturation of your lungs. They also did an ultrasound to make sure you were facing head down.

    Now, it turns out our hospital doesn't have the technology to confidently care for babies that are born at less than 32 weeks. You, my dear, were 30 weeks and 4 days. A transport team picked me up to bring me to the hospital two towns over, while Daddy went home to pack our bags. I was worried about you being born so early, but the transport team member told me his baby was born at only 24 weeks. It turns out that she's a happy, healthy, completely normal 14 year old now. He made me feel a lot better! I'm very grateful to him.

    When I called Nana (my mommy), David Bowie's "Space Oddity" was playing on the radio. This is a song that he played when Nana went to his concert when she was pregnant with me. Somehow it made me feel like things would be ok. Nana was shocked, but she said she'd meet us at the hospital as soon as she could.

    When we got to the hospital I was having minor contractions. The nurses there gave me another shot of steroids for your lungs. We had another ultrasound to double check your position: You were definitely head-down, but you were facing forward instead of toward my spine. Not long after a doctor (Dr. Tan) did a vaginal exam to see how far along our labour was. I did not like this doctor! He didn't even try to be gentle! He determined that we were 100% effaced and only 1 cm dilated. I was having significant contractions every three minutes or so.

    Since you were so early, we had a shot to stop the contractions. The staff was hoping to keep me on bedrest, and you inside me (with my water still broken) for as long as possible. Since it's easy to get an infection when the water sac is broken, but the baby isn't delivered, they also gave me a shot of antibiotics. Daddy called in to work and took the day off. Nana and Nanny showed up to check on us, but went home after a few hours, because the contractions had stopped.

    Daddy and I stayed the night at the hospital. I remember not too long after we turned out the lights to go to sleep, the cover on the tray of delivery instruments that was in the room fell off for no apparent reason. I remember thinking, "Something tells me I won't be going back home without the baby". As it turns out, that little "coincidence" was actually a crazy omen.

    At 5:30am on Sunday morning, you decided you were coming out and there was nothing anyone could do about it! I was having contractions every 10 minutes, I had a slight bit of bloody show and was about 2 cm dilated. The contractions were quite painful, so I had a shot of morphine and was using the gas mask. These didn't lessen the pain at all, but they made me dopey enough to not care. About 3 1/2 hours later, I was 4 cm dilated and the contractions were irratic but very close together. The gas mask and morphine stopped having any effect. I felt bad because everytime I had a contraction, and someone tried to talk to me (even just to soothe me), I'd tell them to shut up; nurses, doctors, even poor Daddy! I felt awful, but I couldn't help it: I have a high pain tolerance, but the pain I was experiencing was reaching the limit of what I can handle. I kept trying to sit up, and the nurses kept telling me to lie down, but I was having back labour and it felt better to sit up. Back labour is something that can happen when your baby is facing away from the spine. I learned afterwards, that back labour is considered to be at least ten times worse than regular labour as far as pain goes! I was so relieved when the anesthesiast showed up to give me my epidural.

    Unfortunately, although I'm not a dancer, I have hyperlordosis of the spine, so the doctors and I weren't sure an epidural would even work at all. I felt lucky that it started to give me minor relief from the pain I was experiencing. It didn't last very long though. The pain increased to the point that I couldn't think straight and started screaming louder than I even knew I could! At this point a doctor that had been called in to deliver you entered the room. Guess who it was! Dr. Tan. I was in so much pain that I didn't care about being polite, I yelled "No!" as soon as I saw him. The nurses looked at me in shock. I explained how painful the vaginal exam had been and said I refused to let Dr. Tan deliver you, because I was in enough pain as it was. Dr. Tan exploded and yelled at me that I had no choice. I told him I'd cross my legs and hold you in until he left the room. He continued to yell at me (I don't remember what he said), until he stormed out of the room announcing that he'd be delivering you, and that I would have to sign a waiver because I was being so difficult. I remember yelling "I won't sign anything I don't want to." He yelled back that I had no choice, but I got the last word in when I demanded "What? Are you going to hold my hand and physically force me to sign it?!"

    The nurses conceded and called the other doctor on duty to deliver you, and Nana followed Dr. Tan out and tore a strip off of him. This is probably the only thing I actually got to have my way during the labour! There was no way I'd let him deliver you, Baby. He'd probably hurt you on the way out by being careless and rough!

    In the meantime, some of the nurses had convinced me to let the other anaesthetist retry inserting the epidural since I was in so much pain. Imagine everyone's surprise when I sat up and the anaesthetist discovered that the epidural that was originally inserted had fallen out! I had dilated from barely 4 cm to 9.9 cm (there was still a tiny lip of my cervix present); it had taken about 14 hours; I had experienced excruciating back labour; and I did it all with no pain relief whatsoever!! Now you can believe my claim that I have a high pain tolerance.

    The second epidural worked like a charm! I was completely numb from the neck down. I remember saying to Daddy: "This is awesome! With an epidural I could lie here and push babies out all day!"

    Just before it was time for me to push, you got the hiccups. You never had the hiccups during the whole pregnancy, so I didn't know what was going on. I remember panicking and (irrationally) thinking you were trying to punch your way out!

    At 11 pm the nurses told me the lip of my cervix was finally gone, and it was time to start pushing. At 11:25 pm you (literally) popped out. I had actually stopped pushing to catch my breath when you came out all at once. You didn't even crown first. You weighed 4lbs 2oz when you were born; which is amazing because the average weight for a baby of your gestation is only 3.5lbs. The doctors told me that whatever I did when I was pregnant was the right thing to do: As a preemie, the extra weight was good for your health.

    Just before the doctors took your vitals and rushed you to the NICU, after the unbilical cord was cut, you were placed on my chest. Feeling how strong your muscles were, seeing how healthy pink your skin was, feeling the weight of your warm body lieing on my chest is indescribable; and it's something I'll vividly remember for the rest of my life! It was the moment that made every second of the rough pregnancy, the bouts of HG and the very rough labour completely worth it!

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    Our Story So Far: The 3rd Trimester

    Dear Baby,

    We're about 2 1/2 weeks into the third trimester! Daddy and I are getting very excited! We can't wait to meet you and bring you home, but that's still a while away obviously.

    There's not a whole lot to say. I started seeing the OB/GYN instead of Dr. H (our family doctor), and she says everything is going fine. She saw me in the hospital the night the HG was the worst (the time mommy and daddy had to stay overnight), and when I went to our first appointment with her, she didn't even recognize me at first! She said I looked like a completely different person now that the Zofran is working.

    We've been gaining weight steadily, but not too much (but mommy's a big girl anyway, so hopefully most of the weight is you and the amniotic fluid!). Our Gestational Diabetes test came back negative, and everytime the doctor checks your heart you're still at a perfect 150!

    A funny story though: You've obviously inherited your mommy's attitude! You like to move around and hide a lot when the doctor tries to hear your heartbeat (you did the same thing to the nurses everytime mommy went to the hospital too). One time, when the doctor finally found you and started counting your heartbeats, you kicked the Doppler (the machine that listens to your heart) so hard, it almost fell out of the doctor's hand! Everytime you do something that shows you already have a strong personality it makes me even more excited for November!

    So keep growing and keep working on that attitude. I'm sure mommy and daddy will wind up with lots of funny stories about you over the years!


    Daddy says: "Hi, Baby! Daddy loves you so much! I'm so excited for you to be born. We'll wear tiaras and have tea-parties together!"

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Our Story So Far: The 2nd Trimester

    Dear Baby,

    Apparently the second trimester is supposed to be the most enjoyable; your early pregnancy symptoms clear up, but the baby you're carrying isn't so big that he/she starts putting immense strain on your body. Well, our second trimester wasn't so awesome. I had boughts of Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Luckily the nurses at the Maternity ward at Abbotsford Hospital were great. Although it took awhile sometimes to find a proper vein, they put me on IV fluids and wouldn't let me leave until I was obviously improved. One night Daddy and I had to stay overnight! However, everytime they checked on you, your heartbeat was a perfect 150 beats/min.

    Eventually the doctor wrote me a perscription for Zofran. Zofran is an antineausea medicine usually reserved for people in chemotherapy or with radiation poisoning, but it's being perscribed more and more often for HG and severe morning sickness in pregnant women. It has no side effects on the baby, and it's incredibly effective. The only bad side effect on me, was that I got painfully constipated after a few weeks, but it passed.

    In the meantime, on my good days, everything was great. Everyone was getting over their surprise and were starting to get excited. Mommy and Daddy went shopping for all the stuff you'd need (I even kept the reciept from Walmart for your baby book), and we bought me some maternity pants. Nana and Nanny (my moms) bought me some maternity shirts. Daddy and I figured out how to set up the bedroom so your crib and change table could fit, and I even made us a little corner for breastfeeding at nights. It has a bookshelf with spit up cloths and soothers and stuff, an armchair that rocks, and a lamp that isn't too bright (so Daddy can still sleep while you and I feed).

    Daddy wound up getting a really great job. He's part of a union (which means good job stability and great benefits), and he gets paid very well. He's thrilled, because now he knows he can provide for you. He's so excited about becoming a Daddy!

    At 18 weeks, we had an ultrasound. You were being difficult and had your back to us for most of it, so the technician couldn't tell us what your gender is. However, when the technician turned the monitor so Daddy and I could see you, you waved to us then rolled over and flashed us with your legs wide open. We're pretty sure you're a girl, but we're not 100% sure. We got to have a repeat ultrasound though, because the technician couldn't get pictures of your heart that she was satisfied with. Daddy had to work when it was time for the repeat ultrasound, so your Uncle J (daddy's brother) came with me instead. You were much more cooperative this time, and the technician confirmed that definitely are a girl!

    I told daddy that night that we're having a little princess, and a few weeks later Daddy picked out your first name. I liked it because it's not too common, and Daddy likes it because it's not too outrageous either. It was the perfect compromise, and it's a lovely name. About a week later, I suggested your middle name, and Daddy agreed that it was perfect.

    Besides the bouts of HG, the second trimester was relatively uneventful. Nana and Nanny have started planning the baby shower for mommy's side of the family, and Gramma has started planning one for daddy's side of the family. We all would have loved to have just one big shower, so the family's can meet, but it's hard getting everyone together on the same day because everyone has such different schedules. The Nans are having our shower in September, and Gramma is going to have one shortly after you're born. You're going to be so spoiled, but in a good way!

    Near the end of the second trimester, I set up all the stuff Daddy and I bought for you. All we're missing is your crib and change table, because the Nans want to buy that for you and they're going to wait until closer to the shower and your due date.

    That's all there is to mention about our second trimester together, Baby. I'll let you know how our third trimester has been so far in a couple days.


    Daddy says: "Hi, Baby! I love you and I can't wait until you're here."

    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    A Million Questions...

    Dear Baby,

    It's getting rather close to the day you're born! I'm quickly approaching 7 months pregnant! Of course it would be at this late hour (and not before) that a bunch of baby-related questions would spring to my mind. Unfortunately I can't seem to find much information out there that gives me a straight forward answer to these questions. Most of my questions are about what to expect in regards to your physical development. I guess there's no straight forward answers, because each baby develops at his or her own pace, but there's got to be an average out there somewhere, right??

    Anyway, here's some of the questions I want to ask:
    • When will you be able to support your own head?
    • When is the right time to start Tummy Time? I have a feeling that your muscles and stomach won't be ready if we try to start too soon!
    • When will you be able to start actually interacting with us (genuine smiles, genuine laughter, etc)?

    That's all I can really think of at the moment, but for some reason those questions are really nagging on my mind! If I think of any others, I'll add them to this post.

    I know I promised to write about our Second Trimester together soon. I'm still working on it! I haven't forgot, though, Baby! I'll try to get it posted asap!

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Our Story So Far: The First Trimester

    Dear Baby,

    Everyone eventually wants to know the story about when their mom was pregnant with them. We all want to know what happened during the 9 months our moms were carrying us, what the delivery was like, and what it was like being our parents when we were brand new. I expect you'll be no different and will eventually want to hear "Your Baby Story"; and, when learning about ourselves; the more details, the better!! So, I figured I should start keeping a record about our life together as it's happening so I can mention all sorts of details that I might forget over time.

    I am now officially, today, six months pregnant. We just started our third trimester, so I'm going to try really hard to remember as much as I can about the first and second trimesters, so I can tell you all about it. This post is all about our first three months together, including how I found out I was pregnant with you in the first place. We spent our first three months sleeping A LOT, so this won't be a very long post, but I'll do my best to tell you all about it.


    It was the middle of February, and I was sleeping a lot, and I mean a lot! I wasn't really worried at first; I figured maybe I needed to have a higher dosage of Synthroid (I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism about a year and a half before). Plus a lot of people get extra tired in the middle of winter, and I'm no different. I figured, at the most, I might be fighting off an impending cold. I decided to wait a few weeks and see if I felt any better. In the meantime, I had missed my period too; but my period has never been very regular, and having a period show up later than expected isn't uncommon for me. However, by the end of February, I was still sleeping more during the day than I was awake, and my period still hadn't shown up. By now, if a cold was coming on I would have had other symptoms. I figured it was the Hypothyroidism and decided to go to the clinic that week, so I could set up the blood test I'd need to take to figure out how much the doctors and I needed to bump up my medicine.

    I went to the clinic on March 1st. I explained to the doctor what was going on, what I figured the reason was, and he seemed to agree. He was just about to fill out the forms for me to get my blood test done, when he said as a side note, "Just to be sure, there's no chance you're pregnant are you?"

    Now, normally I would have laughed and said "no way!" Eight or nine years ago, I was told by a doctor that I would probably never have kids, even if I took fertility drugs. I don't why I hesitated that day; but, for whatever reason, that one day in particular what I wound up saying was, "well, nothing's impossible I suppose." We both shrugged our shoulders, and I went off to the bathroom to pee in a cup. When I was waiting for him to come back with the results, I remember thinking how odd it was that I hadn't just said "no, there's no way I'm pregnant." I decided I must have been more tired than I thought, and I felt a little guilty for wasting one of the clinic's pregnancy tests.

    I still have a hard time describing the look on the doctor's face when he got back to the room. It was a mix of disbelief, amusement, worry, and many other emotions. He said, very casually, "Well, you're pregnant." At first I thought he was joking, and this was his way of telling me I should be using birth control; so I laughed and said "Are you serious?" I guess he realized that I thought he was joking, because he got very serious and told me that the test was positive.

    I burst into tears (happy, ecstatic, shocked tears), and I guess I worried him because he asked what I wanted to do about being pregnant. I didn't understand what he meant at first, but then I realized he was trying to ask if I was going to give birth to you or have an abortion. I assured him that I'd absolutely be keeping you, and that the tears I was crying were of joy. I explained how I had been told I'd never have kids, but that all I wanted out of life was to be a mommy. He was very happy for me, and he wound up giving me three months worth of free samples of prenatal vitamins and sent me home. We didn't know at the time, but on the day I found out I was pregnant with you, we were already five and a half weeks along.

    On the way home, I called Daddy to let him know that I was ok (he was very worried about my health). I remember him asking on the phone if I was pregnant. I do not lie to your Daddy about anything, except that once. Daddy had to leave for work in five minutes (which is why I called him about the clinic, instead of just talking to him when I got home), and I didn't think it would be good to send him off to work all day after just finding out that he's going to be a father.

    When Daddy got home from work, I told him right away, and I explained why I had lied on the phone. Daddy actually thanked me for not telling him on the phone. He agreed that it would have been a bad day at work if he was distracted the whole time. Him and I were both very excited about you! We both worried that we wouldn't have enough money to provide for you, and we both worried if we were ready to be good parents for you; but mostly, we were all smiles and giggles and excitement!

    A couple days later, I went to the Nan's to do some laundry. Nana was at work for the whole day, so I called her and told her I had some news, but I didn't know if I wanted to tell her on the phone or wait until I saw her in person. She asked if she was allowed to try to guess and I agreed. The very first thing she said was, "Hmmm. You're pregnant?" I said yes, and she got very excited. Nana has always, always, always wanted to be a Nana, and you are her first grandkid. She was very happy and said congratulations and that she and I could talk all about it when I saw her next. Later that day, Nanny came home from running errands, and I told her too. She was very surprised at first, but she was also very excited.

    Over the next few days Daddy and I told all our family and everyone was excited and happy!

    You gave us a scare though! When we were about eight weeks pregnant, I started bleeding a bit. I wasn't worried at first, because I had read that some women bleed a bit in the first trimester; but one night I felt the bleeding was a little too heavy. Daddy and I were worried, so we went to the hospital. The doctors there checked my blood work and booked me for an emergency ultrasound. We got to have our ultrasound a day or two after we went to the hospital.

    The lady who did our ultrasound said you looked really good, especially your heart. She said you weren't in any distress, and that even though the bleeding might look a little heavy, it was just implantation bleeding and everything would be fine. She was right. A couple days after the ultrasound I stopped bleeding completely. I guess you just wanted to make sure you burrowed into the womb really well!

    And that's why we have a photo of you when you were only 8 weeks and 6 days old!

    The rest of the first trimester was normal. I slept a lot; your Daddy and I threw a few names around; I stopped smoking (obviously!) and started eating better; I didn't throw up during morning sickness like most women, but I did get very nauseous in the afternoon/evening. I didn't really have any other symptoms besides the nausea and the exhaustion. Oh, Baby, was I exhausted. We must have slept 18-20 hours out of the day, every day for those three months! We're lucky Daddy took time off work to care for us for a few months! He brought us food and drinks, and he took care of the pets and the apartment. Daddy did a lot for us the whole time I was pregnant! Daddy is our hero!


    That's all for the first trimester! I'll write all about the second trimester, including how incredibly sick I got, in a few days.

    Friday, July 29, 2011

    Difficult Topic #2

    Dear Baby,

    I want to talk more about "mental disorders", since there's a possibility you'll inherit one from your daddy or myself. Lots of people have different medical factors in their life, and there's a big possibility you will too.

    But, rest assured, Baby, there's nothing wrong with you. Everyone is different: We have different hair, different skin, different beliefs, different dreams...and we all have different bodies. Our bodies all function in different ways. I still haven't met a person who doesn't have some sort of health factor that's different from "average function". Some people get headaches very often, but someone with "average function" rarely gets headaches. Some people have asthma, but someone with "average function" never has breathing problems. And, some people have chemical imbalances in their brains, whereas someone with "average function" has everything perfectly in balance all the time.

    Chemical imbalances in the brain are what cause "mental disorders". Chemical imbalances can be difficult to explain, but I think it makes sense to compare it to asthma. So that's what I'll do!

    Some people have very mild asthma. These people don't need to take medicine for their asthma; they just need to be taught by their doctors how to help their lungs regain their "average function" when the asthma makes it difficult to breath. The doctors teach these people to just rest and breathe deeply when their asthma is active. Some people have moderate asthma. These people don't need to take medicine all the time; they just need to take their medicine when their lungs are extra stressed, and need a little chemical help maintaining their "average function". When these people feel better, and their lungs aren't so stressed, they can stop taking the medicine. And, some people have severe asthma. These people have to take medicine every day to help their lungs maintain their "average function". All these people have asthma, but their experiences with the asthma are different. And, all these people can live normal lives, as long as they pay extra attention to their lungs to make sure they don't get too stressed.

    Just like asthma, there's different severities of chemical imbalances. Some people only need to be trained by doctors (and counsellors) on how to maintain their brain's "average function" without medicinal help. Some people only need to take medicine when their brain is extra stressed; and when they feel better, they can stop taking the medicine. And, some people need to take medicine every day to help their brain maintain its "average function". All these people have chemical imbalances, but their experiences with the imbalances are different. And, all these people can live normal lives, as long as they pay extra attention to their moods to make sure they don't get too distressed.

    And, just like there's nothing wrong with a person with asthma; there's nothing wrong with a person with a chemical imbalance. It's important to remember that noone's body will function perfectly all the time. Some people don't need medicine, some people need medicine sometimes, and some people need medicine every day for all sorts of reasons. Everyone is different in every way, and being different in any way is never wrong or weird or anything you have to let get in the way of having a normal life.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Difficult Topic #1

    Dear Baby,

    Everytime I go to the clinic to get a refill for my medication, there's this one doctor that seems to judge me. Unfortunately, it seems he's almost always the one that's working there when I go in. Just my luck! Anyway, it makes me feel kind of uncomfortable that he always interrogates me about, not only the medicine, but the dosage too.

    You see, Baby, I'm on a mood-stabilizing medicine called Paxil. I'm on 60mg a day, which is a rather high dosage. Paxil is a "Pregnancy Class D" medicine: This means that there's an increased risk of birth defects in babies whose mothers take Paxil during pregnancy; however in some cases it's healthier for the mother to continue the medication, rather than try to function without it. After thinking about it very hard, I decided that I truly believe you and I fall into the latter category. I really believe the benefits of continuing Paxil (at my current dosage) far outweigh the extra 2% increase in the possibility of you having a birth defect.

    Now, if I chose wrong, and you are born with either holes in the heart, club foot, PPHN, omphalocele, or an abnormally shaped skull; then you can blame me, and I won't hold it against you. In fact, you can trust that I already blame myself.

    That seems like a scary list, and you might already be mad at me for my decision, but allow me to clarify some things. I did extensive research on this; and although the risks for birth defects are increased when the mother continues Paxil, the actual percentage of risk is still very low. There's a 2% chance that, even without Paxil, you'd be born with a birth defect; Paxil doubles that percentage, but that means it's still only a 4% chance.

    On top of that, if I did stop using Paxil, you would have had to try to grow and flourish while being carried by a mother who would have multiple panic attacks a day, every day. The panic attacks I get when I don't take Paxil are severe and last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. I have anywhere from two to five panic attacks each day. They include hyperventilating, heart palpitations, hysterics, etc. I truly believe the stress from the panic attacks would have majorly increased the chance of me miscarrying you. So far, I've had one, minor panic attack while pregnant with you. That's a vast improvement for our situation!

    So, Baby, as I said, if you were born with a birth defect, I do apologize. I fully expect all the blame to fall on me, but I just want you to know that I absolutely had your best interests at heart when I made this decision. If, by some miracle, my panic attacks would have had no effect on you whatsoever, then I absolutely would have discontinued the Paxil and suffered through the panic attacks for you. I promise you were the only thing on my mind when I made my decision. I sincerely hope I made the right one! We'll find out in about 3 1/2 months.

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Lesson #1

    Dear Baby,

    I am 4 1/2 months pregnant with you. That fact, right there, brings us to our very first lesson:

    Life has its own plans, and there's nothing you can do to fight it.

    This might make you feel a little powerless, Baby, but I assure you Life is smarter than we are. In the end, Life (or God, if you're religious) makes sure the right thing happens. For the most part, I think, Life has our best interests at heart. We might think we know what's best for us, but we are emotional and not very logical animals. Perhaps what we think is best for us at the time is not truly what will make us happiest in the long run.

    Your very existance is proof of this. According to all the medical tests I've had done over the years, regarding my fertility (or lack thereof), my only hope of ever getting pregnant was to take fertility drugs; and, even then, the chances of conception didn't look good. That's what the doctors had to say. Life had a different opinion. There were other guys who wanted to have a baby with me; and at the time I was with them, I thought I wanted a baby with them too. I guess Life was waiting for your daddy and me to meet; because suddenly, against all scientific reasoning, here you are! I couldn't be more happy. I'm very grateful that Life decided to let me conceive a baby when the right Daddy entered our lives. And that's exactly what I think happened: Those other guys weren't the right guys to be your Daddy, so Life made sure I didn't conceive when I was with them.

    (Now, don't ever think you're a mistake. I know that sometimes kids who find out they weren't "planned" think that this means they weren't wanted. Plans and wants are two completely different things! You've always been wanted by both me and your daddy. There was never even a second that we regretted your existance. There was never even a second that we considered not keeping you. Know that, despite the fact that you were a surprise, you were never thought of as a mistake or an accident.)

    So, I want you to remember that just because Life doesn't give you what you want when you first ask for it, that doesn't mean you'll never get it. It just means that Life is waiting for the right time to give you everything you desire! In the end, everything works out the way it should be: You're job is to simply keep hoping and keep believing that Life will make things right in time.