Monday, 21 April 2014

Letting go of expectations

As the days go by and Ada still struggles with her feeding, I have become more disheartened.

I had expectations, that she would be off her naso-gastric feeding tube and feeding orally by 37 weeks gestation, by the time she went home, by a week or two after she went home, by the time she was 3kg.

As each milestone has passed by, and her feeding has not improved, I have become more stressed, over it, tired, weary.

Tired Mummy and baby

Trying and trying to get her feeding orally has been a 2 hour marathon every 3-4 hours. Each feed, and each day has felt like a failure to me.

I have tried everything to get her feeding (demand feeding, only breast, only bottle, warm milk, cold milk, undress her to keep her cold, blow on her face to keep her awake, meds to help her reflux, this list goes on.....)

When she has a rare good feed, I have let myself hope that the feeding tube will be gone soon. And then it's back to bad feeds and I feel cheated again.

This has been going on for weeks and weeks now, and I can't continue to take each feed as a personal failure or loss. My emotions are raw and I can't keep letting them be so swayed by how she feeds.

Yes it is a basic thing, that every baby should be able to do and it is frustrating that she can't. But no, it is not the be all and end all of her health. She is otherwise a pretty healthy and amazing baby and I need to remember that.

My beautiful girl

I have decided to try and let go of any expectations around her feeding, and let her do it in her own time. If thats a month from now, or a year, I need to take a deep breath, and accept it.

And, most of all I need to remember that I cannot control this. I need to rest and trust in God who loves Ada far more than I ever could.

Of course saying this is easy, doing it not so much. I'm sure I will still have some down moments. But now I have made the decision to let go of any expectations and to trust Ada to learn in her own time, maybe I can enjoy our time together even more. And that day when the feeding tube comes out will be even sweeter for all the struggle to get there.

(P.S I am not looking for advice on how to get her feeding orally. If there is something to try, you can bet I have already tried it.)

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The motherhood

Wow. Being a mum to a newborn baby is HARD ('amen' said all the other mothers.)

This is literally the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Zapping all my energy, my resource and mostly my patience.

I am not the mother I want to be (she always smiles when the baby won't stop crying at 3am, picks the baby up and sings to her for an hour. She would never cry so hard in frustration that she loses a contact lens up the side of her eye. How unbecoming.)

I have a HUGE case of the motherhood guilts, which I picked up on the day she was born (I hear it's a common acquisition in the labour ward.)
The guilt for the start of her life, for not having her off the tube yet, the guilt for not knowing why she is crying and *not really caring and wishing she would go to sleep just for one hour oh please god.*

I am constantly second guessing myself and I never know if I am doing the right thing. In those moments I just repeat to myself, like a mantra 'she is alive, healthy and growing- you are doing the right thing.'

Being so tired my brain is too fuzzy to complete a sentence. Dreading the thought of another day and night of this. *I can't cope!!- oh wait, look at me I'm coping -"just"*

Wishing the days away till she sleeps and eats a little better and life gets a little colour again. But then, trying to treasure all her snuggly newborn-y-ness. I know it will be gone soon.

The two (yes TWO) trips back into NICU have given me a chance to sleep through the night, yet I always ended up feeling just as tired the next day. Stress about baby health will do that too you, even on a good 7 hour stretch of sleep. The trips also heaped on a pile of the guilts about if we had brought her home too soon. 

When she is in NICU, being at home seems so much easier. Yet at home, I long for the company of the nicu nurses who I can ask any question to, whose chatter means I don't feel alone, and the chance to get away for lunch, a walk, knowing someone else is watching her.

I feel so uneasy in my new role. Life is so different to when I was working, and had satisfaction of things achieved at the end of each day, of a job well done. Now, day to day I feel like I achieve little, nothing, and I do not have a sense of a job well done. Except when she smiles and gurgles at me. Then it's all worth it.

I don't know what the point of this post is. I realise this post is a muddle of incoherent thoughts *welcome to my brain!*

But this is me, my life right now. And it's hard, but I am thankful I am here, right now in the trenches, with my baby girl in my arms. A year ago we didn't know if this would ever happen. But here we are. And I wouldn't change it.

*cheesy pics from pinterest, and added to encourage myself and other mothers.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


Today is the day Ada was due to be born. And I'm feeling very bittersweet about it all.

I could blame over tiredness for my heightened emotions I've had about this day, but I think I would have been feeling emotional, tired or not.

I've had a lot of 'what if's' going on in my mind. Reflecting on the last 10 weeks, and the weeks to come, and the challenges life brings with a pre-term baby.

I've had a few tears, a lump in my throat and a feeling of heaviness around this upcoming day for the past week.

Reflecting on the fact that I have a lot of fear around pregnancy now, which I will need to work through if we ever want to have another child (NOT anytime soon.)

Trying to banish any feelings of jealousy I have around all the wonderful pregnant ladies I know who are blooming as they reach full term.

Still wrestling with what to say when people ask how old she is. She is 10 weeks, but she is not a 10 week old baby if you know what I mean. How long will I have to 'explain' her age? When will I just be able to say it normally?

Struggling with the immune issues that prem babies have, meaning I sometimes feel 'trapped' at home. We can't go out with her for a few more weeks, and I just have to breathe through each day when I feel alone and panicked here.

Sometimes feeling like I would love more visitors- more people to talk to, and sometimes feeling like I want to hide away and not see anyone, or risk any germs being brought to our home.

I'm wondering what it would have been like to go through a 'normal' labour- in a way I avoided a lot of physical pain myself. But, of course, physical pain was swapped with emotional pain.

I wonder what Ada would be like if she had gone to term. A lot bigger, and healthier, and able to feed well I bet. But still her cute self. In a way we get to have the 'newborn' stage for about 10 weeks extra which is nice. She is my tiny, helpless newborn for a lot longer than your average baby.

In a way I'm thankful for this journey, because it's made me stronger and shown me that Matt and I are strong as a couple. Sorry to be cheesy but it's true. I feel proud of us and proud of myself.

A lot of what if's and why's, but ultimately a big PHEW and sigh of relief that here we are 10 weeks later and she is ok. She will be fine. She is a little small, and will take her time catching up, but she is doing great. No ongoing sickness or disease from being born so early. She really is a perfect baby, who arrived a tad too soon.

Happy due date to my beautiful girl x

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Ada at 6 weeks

This is just a super quick update as I'm spending most of my time at the hospital at the moment.

Ada has been here nearly 6 weeks, and it seems like the has always been here, but it also seems like just yesterday she was born.

Since the last update, she moved into a therma-cot, and was only in there a few days before being moved to a normal (non heated cot.) I can't explain how much of a difference it has been having her in an open cot. In the incubator we could only hold her once a day and the nurses had to give her to us. Since being in an open cot, we can hold her whenever we like, we can pick her up ourselves, and this means we're so much more independent, and feel so much more involved in her life!

Not to mention picking clothes and dressing her adds to the 'real mum' tasks, which I love.

She came off all monitoring over a week ago, so we have a wireless baby! Cord free, wohoo!

She is so much chubbier and 'baby looking' than even a few weeks ago.

As for feeding, in the last day or two she has taken off! Doing several feeds exclusively breastfeeding with no top-ups. She has lost weight (it takes her more energy to feed), so we're balancing that, but apparently it's normal in the transition to feeding.

Because of that we're in the pre-discharge nursery, and this weekend I might try bedding in and see how she goes with feeding through the night...!

It might be a week, or a few weeks till she comes home (it all depends how she goes with feeding), but it really feels like we're making progress. I'm basically at the hospital full time now, so I feel really involved with her, which I love.

It means life is tiring, and messy and busy, but isn't that what life is like with a newborn anyway?

Here's hoping our next update is the 'coming home' update....!

Her room is ready, here's a peek:

We're ready for you Ada x

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Early Buds Prem Pack

Early Buds are an awesome NZ charity that supports families with premature babies . Their website contains lots of information, both for prem parents and those around the families.

I especially like their article on 'What to say to a parent with a prem.' I know people mean well, but hearing 'at least you avoided the uncomfortable bits of pregnancy,' or 'you're so lucky having full time baby sitters' are not things prem parents need to hear.

Early Buds send a pack of goodies to parents of prem babies. The pack is amazing!

It contains
  • Knitted hat and booties
  • Cotton Hat
  • A NICU gown
  • Lovely lavender face cream
  • Eye mask 
  • Beautiful burp cloths
  • Cute cloth for mum to keep close by then give to baby
  • Various small samples and discount vouchers
All the items are exquisite! And what an awesome pack for parents going through that hard time. If you are the creative type you can make some of the items that are in the packs (linked above.) Or you could donate knitting, or money.

Thanks Early Buds, we really appreciate the cool pack, and website resources.