Monday, November 12, 2012

I want a baby

I want another baby :( I know, like my hands aren't full already. Baby girl is one. I am so ready. But hubby isn't. Sigh. There's another wave of newborns on my FB friend feed. I need to get off FB. Its bad for me.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Almost a toddler

Where did the year go? My baby is almost a toddler. I have always found statements like "they grow up too fast" very cliche. But now I truly know what that means. One day they are tiny little things all warm and content in your arms, the next day they are off exploring the world around them. My baby girl will be 1 in a little over two weeks!

I may have said this before, but the first month when she was in the hospital felt like a year, but after that. time just flew. It has also been almost a year since I left work. I started my maternity leave a year ago, but once we knew of her complications, I decided to quit and stay home with her. We can't have her get sick again. We don't know how badly a seemingly harmless flu could affect her. She has had stronger antibiotics and more medicines than most people have in a lifetime.

I am so happy I took the decision to stay home with her. Its been a fun first year. And I was fortunate to have been right there for every one of her major milestones. But as much as I loved this time home with her, I hope to start looking for work again some time next year. As young babies, they need you so much more. But now that she is getting more independent, I have a hard time keeping her busy and engaged.

I may be biased, but baby girl has been a very easy child so far. She has always slept very well. She has never been too fussy, and is pretty happy and content most of the time. She is a very cautious person, and approaches new toys and situations very carefully. Although she did have some stranger anxiety at first, she loves people now. She loves going out and meeting new people. However, she is wary of men, and prefers the company of women and children. Oh and she has no teeth yet! Not one! My mom said I got my first teeth at 14 months, so she probably takes after me. But that hasn't stopped her from gumming everything from pasta to beans, tortillas and chicken.

We have no big plans for a first birthday. The thought of her birthday brings mixed emotions in me. I am excited and happy, yet it brings back all the horrible memories of Nov 2011. I have read that moms of preemies have very similar emotions about first birthdays. I hope I am able to put it away, and make it a special day from baby brave warrior, my hero, my miracle. We love you so much.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Good bye Pump

Dear Ameda elite,

Thank you for being my constant companion the last 10 months, whether I liked it or not. You gave me company on many a long nights, when I had to sit and pump, while my child and hubby slept. We always had a love-hate relationship. As much as I hated you, I am still glad that with your help, I was able to give my baby breast milk for 10 months. But now that you are leaving, I am not going to miss you at all. I will be glad to get back the time that I once spent hooked to you, for something more useful - such as sleeping, or typing an email with two hands instead of one, or browsing using both hands. No more pumping, no more constant washing of pump parts. Although weaning has been more emotional than I imagined, I will try to take pride in having made it this far, and push away the guilt that I could have continued for just 2 more months to make it to a year. Good bye.


Thursday, August 30, 2012


Almost 10 months of pumping and do I have to deal with this right now? I've been weaning off the pump and am down to 1 pump a day. And now I think I have thrush. Its a self diagnosis made thanks to Dr. Google.

Any suggestions about how to deal with thrush? Any one had to battle this? My boobs are crazy itchy and red (I know, TMI). My nipples are cracked. Its not painful, but its bothersome. And I don't want my daughter getting it. Suggestions welcome!

Turns out it was not thrush after all. It was an allergy to the pump plastic. As soon as I stopped pumping, my skin got better and started healing. All that pumping had made my skin hate the plastic I guess. Or my body was telling me it was time to stop!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The right reasons

I have always wanted at least two kids. That is how I saw my life, even as a young girl. Happily married with two kids.

When we were struggling to get pregnant, it scared me to think that I may never become a parent. And at that time, all I wanted was at least one baby.

Ever since baby girl was born, I have been thinking about a second baby. When she was sick and in the hospital, I wondered if my husband would change his mind about ever wanting another child after watching our baby struggle so much. I was worried that he would say that he couldn't go through this again.

As baby girl is approaching 10 months, my heart has been screaming for another child. The hard part is, as an infertile, I don't have the luxury of planning for another baby. If we start trying now, who knows when and if we will ever have another baby.

No, we haven't started trying for another baby. Sometimes the thought of having two kids very close in age scares me - will I be able to handle it, will that mean the older child gets less attention, etc. But then I remind myself that it could take another 2 or more years to finally get pregnant. Its a tough decision. I know pregnancy is never guaranteed to anyone, but I envy people who can decide the perfect age difference, who can conceive in their first month off birth control. I know friends who have 3 babies exactly 3 yrs apart, or some perfect age difference.

I was also thinking about the reasons why I want another baby so badly. Its almost like I want to correct all that went wrong with this birth and delivery. I want to do it right this time. My child was taken away from me an hour after she was born. Then next time I saw her, she was covered in a million tubes, completely sedated, and breathing with the help of a respirator. The first time I ever held her was two weeks later, all the time afraid that I would pull out some line going into her body. I watched my baby struggle, cry in pain, get pricked...I left her alone with some strangers every night for 35 nights. I let the doctors cut into her, if only to keep her alive.

This time around, I want that chance to hold my newborn close to me. I was to feel him/her nuzzle close to breastfeed. I want to smell that newborn smell, show her off to friends and family (ok, I admit, I secretly want another girl, so can I please say "her"?). I want to be able to run to her and pick her up if she cries.  And I want a chance to complain about how hard it can be to take care of a new born, and how tired I am of all the sleepless nights. More than anything else, I want my next baby to enjoy what baby girl missed out on, and I want her be in her mamas arms, not in some hospital bed with 10 different people poking and prodding her.

I feel quite selfish. It feels like this is all about me. Is it wrong to want a child to sort of make amends? It feels like I want another child just so I can finally get that perfect birth experience. My life so far with baby girl has been full of guilt. I feel guilty that I couldn't protect my child from bad things, I feel guilty that I couldn't take away her pain, soothe her enough and be there for her as much as I should have.

I know everything need not be magical the next time around. Please tell me such things don't happen twice? I have already made up my mind about another baby. But I haven't talked to hubby about it yet. I am afraid he will say "lets wait" or just plain "no". Till I get the courage to discuss this with hubby, I'll just stay in my dream world of conceiving on our first try, having a great pregnancy, having the perfect child birth, and getting to hold a beautiful healthy baby.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Exclusively pumping: My experience

I have at least 10 "new posts" that are all half written. I hope I manage to finish and post at least this one.

My little one completed 7 months. I can't believe we are here. I still think of that first month and shudder. Not a day goes by when I don't think about those awful awful days. But it gives me all the more reason to hold my baby closer, smell her, look into her eyes and tell her how much I love her. How we almost lost her. How thankful we are to the Almighty for keeping her safe.

But I digress.

I just wanted to write this post, to give hope to the mothers out there who have a hard time breastfeeding, for whatever reasons (not latching, sick baby etc). My little one was exclusively fed "IV fluids" for the first two weeks. During that time, I was adamant that I wanted to pump breast milk (BM). The staff at the neonatal intensive care unit were extremely supportive of this. I remember the first few nights, sitting up at night, trying to squeeze out the colostrum (because I didn't have enough to use a pump), while my husband called the hospital to find out how baby girl was doing. We don't know how we got through those few days, but I continued to express whatever I could. I remember how embarrassed I was when I first gave a few ml of colostrum to the nurse to put in the freezer. But the nurses assured me that my milk would come in. As hard as it is to write, the truth is, I remember thinking once "Is there a point pumping milk, will she ever taste this milk...will she make it?". As awful as the thought was, things were so bad at that time that the thought did occur to me.

When I sat by my little girl, who was completely sedated and covered in wires and tubes, I felt absolutely helpless. And I knew that as a mother, the only way I could help her at that time, was to pump and freeze the precious breast milk, because some day she would need it, and some day I would be able to give it to her. I knew that as a sick baby recovering, she would need all the help she could get. Pumping in the hospital was difficult. I had to tear myself away from her bed side to go pump every three hours. In the pump room, I would chat with the other mothers, mostly moms of premature babies who were also trying to help their little ones any way they could.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my daughter had feeding difficulties. We literally started with 5 ml of BM by mouth and the rest by nasal tube beforeworking our way up to full feeds (which took about two months). I continued to pump after she got back from the hospital. I rented a hospital pump. I managed to give her only BM for 6 months! Since I had a stash of frozen milk from her time at the hospital, I had enough for her. After 6 months, I supplemented with formula whenever I fell short. We also started solids at 6 months.

Going on to 8 months, I am still pumping, and she gets mostly BM! My aim had been to make it to 6 months at least, but since I still have a decent supply, I figured I'll continue for as long as I can (and as long as this doesn't drive me insane). I started with 6 -7 pumps, but have now have dropped to 3 pumps a day. It is definitely inconvenient and sometimes irritating, when I have to sit and pump when the rest of the household is sleeping. But browsing or reading a book really helps with the boredom. Interestingly, there was this one time I had a bad cold and sore throat. I was so worried that baby girl would end up getting sick too, something we didn't want to happen, especially due to her weak lungs. Miraculously, she didn't get sick, and I think the antibodies in the milk may have helped her.

So I just wanted to say that exclusively pumping is definitely possible! You can do it too, if the need arises. A few things I learnt:

1. If you are exclusively pumping, it makes sense to rent a hospital pump. I found a place that rents Ameda elite pump for 38 $ a month!
2. Pump at least every 3 hrs in the beginning. Remember, pumping is not as efficient as baby nursing, so you want to pump often. After around 12 weeks, you can drop a couple of pump sessions, since your supply is now established.
3. Don't be discouraged by the few drops of colostrum in the beginning. Your milk will come in.
4. If you have supply issues, try Fenugreek. I did, and I think it worked for me - it did increase my supply by a few oz. Also, if you see a drop in supply, pump an extra session.
5. Its ok to supplement with formula. Sometimes there isn't enough milk, and there is no point blaming yourself or fretting over it. Do what's best for your little one.
6. Pump when the baby sleeps. That way you don't miss out on spending time with her.
7. Take each day as it comes. I never thought I'd make it this far.

I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you have questions about exclusively pumping. Its a long and sometimes boring journey, but in the end, definitely worth all the effort for your baby!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Long Overdue Update

If anyone still follows this blog, my apologies for being so lazy about updating! Its been more than 3 months since my last post.

Our little girl is doing much better now (thank God). She is now 5 months plus. She is pure joy, and I love every second of my time with her. After all that she went through, I appreciate every moment spent with her more than ever - always with the knowledge that this may not have been. She still has residual problems of having been on the heart-lung bypass machine and the ventilator. A major problem is that she has feeding issues due to paralysis of one of her vocal cords (a result of either the surgery for being on the machine, or the ventilator). As a result of the vocal cord paralysis, she runs a risk of aspirating fluids. A swallow study was done when she was in the hospital, that showed that even though she aspirated fluids of regular consistency, she could drink milk thickened with a thickening gel.

When baby girl first came back from the hospital, she had a naso-gastric (NG) tube (a tube that goes through the nose into the stomach). This was because her milk was so thick, that she had a hard time taking the entire feed directly through bottle. Imagine sucking milk shake through a slow flow nipple. She would drink 20 - 30 ml, then fall asleep. So we had to use the NG tube to supplement the milk she couldn't take by bottle. The one thing we had to do before we left the hospital, was practicing how to insert the tube, since in case she pulled out the tube at home, we had to learn to put it back. I remember doing it for the first time, and crying so hard afterward. It was just awful, having to stick a tube into the nose of your crying sputtering baby. The nurses were amazing, and reassured me that it was all for the best.

When we first came home, we also had to connect baby girl to an breathing and heart beat monitor, since the NG tube posed risk of fluid getting into the lungs if it was displaced for some reason. That was hard too - if we moved from one room to another, we would have to lug the monitor along. Just as baby girl would asleep, the stupid monitor would shriek, because the leads attached to her body would fall off  - waking the poor child up. Let's just say, the first two-three weeks back from the hospital were hard. Of course, we were just glad to have her home with us, so it didn't seem to matter as much. Fortunately, she learnt to take her entire feed by bottle within two weeks, and we took out her tube the day before X'mas!!

There is so much I want to write, I guess I am rambling!! Maybe, I'll manage to find time more often to post (maybe). Since I pump, I feel like I am stuck to the pump every time baby girl takes a nap. I usually browse with one hand while I pump, but typing is just difficult - which is why I haven't had a chance to post sooner.

I hope our troubles are in the past. I hope baby girl continues to do as well as she is doing now. She is such a brave girl, and I am so proud of her. Just today, she dragged herself (commando style?) quite some distance on her tummy! She is starting to get quite mobile now, and watching her reach her milestones makes me so proud (and thankful, because we have to make sure she is not behind on her milestones, since the lack of oxygen during her initial few hours may have affected her brain).

I think I should wrap up now! Thanks to all the readers who managed to read the entire post!