Saturday, November 5, 2016

The New Normal

Mira has been home for a little over a month and here is what I've learned. Motherhood is more than just a two- or three-hour NICU visit where she eats on cue, burps on demand, falls asleep right after, smiles lovingly up at me while I read her stories, waits patiently for diaper changes and feedings, rarely cries, the poop stays in the diaper and our physical travel distance is a two-square-foot area. I am her doctor, nurse, oxygen monitor, thermometer, bottle maker, bather, swing, burp cloth and diaper.

Despite all of this, I've also learned that I'm graced for this. That Mira was made especially for me. That she's all mine and that I'd rather be here in this moment - being poop, pee and puke attacked by her - than anywhere else in the world.

But I have to be honest. The love I feel for her after this month together took me by surprise. When Mira was first born, the connection wasn't instant. The day I had her, I never heard her cry, I never held her, we didn't stare lovingly into each other's eyes or have that baby-on-the-chest photo moment. Now I always had the urge to care for her, to make sure she's ok and the responsibility to advocate for her. But the reality is, in the beginning, I felt more like a taskmaster than a mother. Pump for Mira. Check. Visit Mira everyday. Check. Prepare the house for Mira. Check. Talk to her doctors and nurses. Check. Research the things I didn't understand and ask all the right questions. Check. Arrange things with the insurance. Check. Take BP meds. Check. Make sure she had her necessities. Check. Keep my family and friends updated on her well-being. Check. Check. Check.

It took me a few weeks to fall in love with her. And that felt like the most beautiful feeling ever. But, as I've learned this past month, that was "puppy love" and this is the real thing. She's the most beautiful, precious and strong baby I've ever met. She looks at me with all the love in the world and looks for me when I'm not in her direct line of sight. I'm her person. And that she needs me as much as I need her. I love her with my whole heart and there's no turning back.

Before I go (she's starting to stir), here are a few things I'm proud of since Mira has been home:
  • She's almost 8 pounds and 19 inches long. That might not sound like a lot but she was born just under 2 pounds and around 14 inches. She's HUGE to me!
  • Most of the health problems she was born with and struggled with in the NICU are gone. She's doing amazingly well, it's almost like she was never in the NICU fighting for her life for three months.
  • I've kept her alive without the help of a team of nurses and host of machines.
  • I've stuck with cloth diapering through the thick and thin (pun intended). It is absolutely not as scary as I thought it would be and I'm glad I did it despite naysayers.
  • Always following my instincts - as you know everyone has advice and that can be daunting. But I don't know any human being in the world better than I know Mira. And my approach to being her mom is to make decisions based on what I know about her and what's comfortable for me.
Here are a few things I'm working on:
  • Mira's reflux is real. It's likely due to a combination of having a feeding tube down her throat for three months, being a preemie and just being a newborn. We take it feeding by feeding and have tried several formulas, feeding positions and a host of other things. So we continue to work on finding a place where she's as comfortable as possible.
  • Letting go - I'm hard on my husband because he doesn't care for her the way I would. But I have to be ok to let him parent in his own way knowing that his way isn't harming her. I'm trying ya'll!
Thanks for your support and prayers. I hope another month won't pass between the next post.

Good morning beautiful!

Talk about bliss.  

Somebody put on real clothes to go to the doctor, how cute is this little baby?

Somebody didn't get the memo that she's too young to hold her own bottle. 

3 a.m. mommy and baby shenanigans!

Cloth diaper booty!