Monday, January 9, 2012

The Secret To Our Success

Dear Baby,

A lot of people, including the nurses at the NICU, have asked me what my secret was to giving birth to you at such a healthy weight. As I've said before, at the time you were born most babies at your gestation weigh only 3.5lbs; however you were born at 4lbs 2oz. Even when you lost weight (as every baby does when he/she is first born), you never dipped below 3.5lbs. Many people, again this includes the NICU nurses, have said that this is one of the main reasons why you not only survived being born so early, but actually thrived (and continue to thrive).

I figure it's about time I let everyone in on my little secret. I do believe there is one thing I did that decided your happy fate.

Instead of driving us down a particular path; instead of going on autopilot; I did nothing but give the wheel to my pregnancy. I listened to my body; and, by doing so, I did nothing but listen to you.

The first trimester we were both very tired. Babies probably do the most physical development during the first trimester, and my body was a host to that development. I didn't force myself to be active, or to eat any particular thing (or to eat at all if I didn't feel like it), or to do any preparations for your arrival. For the first trimester, Baby, we slept for about 22 hours a day. No exaggeration. The couple hours we were awake, I'd eat, tidy the apartment a bit and socialize. That was it. I might get some grief about not following a specific diet or exercise routine, especially during the first trimester, but you were so little that you didn't require any extra fuel. Also, we're lucky, because my cravings at that time were for water and healthy foods. I slept through the majority of my "morning sickness" (which came on in the evening actually), so we didn't go through any of that stress either.

Unfortunately in the fifth month, Momma was very sick. Luckily you had already had a great start, so the lack of food didn't put you at any risk.

Here's where I'm going to get major criticism from other people: In the last six weeks before you popped out early, all I craved was burgers. Red meat, lots of cheese and creamy sauces; and I gave in to those cravings every time they struck. I was on Zofran by then, so we were able to keep the food in my tummy. I still craved water and apple slices and other healthy foods sometimes, and I ate a ton of those whenever those cravings came around; but mostly, Baby, we pigged out. I still slept a lot, and I didn't do any vigorous activities (like cleaning the floors). Luckily Daddy helped a lot. Basically I gave my body to you for your development, and I didn't use it for very much for myself.

If I had carried you to full term, I would feel very guilty about all the junk and fast food we ate in the last six weeks of my pregnancy; however, you came out super early and I think part of the reason why you were such a good weight was the extra fat we had been eating. I only ended up gaining 5lbs. All the rest of the weight was you, extra blood circulation and fluids. With the way we were eating, I have no doubt that almost all the fat and calories went to you. I should have been as big as a house even after the pregnancy was no longer affecting my body!

There you have it: My big secret of our success. I let you take complete control of my body, and I really feel that this decision was what made all the difference! A lot of women force themselves to eat a certain way or to maintain a certain (pregnancy-safe) exercise routine. They ignore their cravings for junk food, and they fight off the sleep their body screams for. I, personally, encourage women to make the effort to become very attune to their bodies and their developing babies. If they listen closely and follow the requests of their bodies and babies, I think they'd have a much more enjoyable (and in some cases more successful) pregnancy!

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