Day 21 of parenthood

Blessed, exhausted, and overwhelmed.  A.'s back to work after his three-week leave taking care of N. and me at the hospital.  We are fortunate that N. spent only two weeks in the NICU.  Her only issue was that she was small. Otherwise, she has been breathing on her own since she was born.  N. & I are finally home as the three of us get to know each other with Lola's (grandma's) support this first week (though I have no doubt that Lola wouldn't mind helping out as much as possible as she can't seem to  put N. down).  

Relationships between mothers and daughters vary for numerous reasons. The interpersonal dynamics can be significantly on or off or a combination. It's been a while since my mom and I have been under the same roof, and I've always been a fiercely independent one since I was a young girl.  I've actually been having a difficult time accepting Mom's help when I'm so accustomed to doing everything on my own. It's no wonder why some mothers have a superwoman complex.  And now, amidst the stresses of being a new mama, crazy hormones, and lack of sleep, I have my moments of remembering to appreciate my mom's desire to assist us during this milestone.  As needed, she's been more than willing to cook, fold laundry, feed and change N. . . . . and she wants to because N. is her first and only granddaughter.  I can only wonder what kind of crazy I will bring to N.'s life when she's older.

Life has changed.  I'm on late night duty with N.  Mom cares for her during the day, while I sleep into the late morning and attend to tasks for the day.  I'm supposed to nap in the afternoon, but it's hard when I have a running list of to-dos that need to be checked off, and Mom and I are interchangeably taking care of N.  A. will arrive home from work, have a snack, go up to take a nap, followed by quality time with N.  I find myself eating dinner alone and napping by late night when A. wakes from his evening respite.  Then I'm back on duty come N.'s late night feeding.

Ongoing concerns such as immediate doctors' appointments (N.'s, A's. and mine), future back-to-work plans, and N.'s most pressing needs -- not to mention the random emotional moments I experience while breast pumping and dumping (because I'm currently on blood pressure meds and can't give N. breast milk).  

Oh, the madness
On the periphery of deadlines is having to update our immigration paperwork for the adoption process -- have to get that done by the end of September. After speaking with an adoption resource, who shared that she too became pregnant in the middle of their adoption journey from China (whose timeframe is much longer than the Philippines), I am more convinced we are where we're meant to be.  Two biological kids later, a third by adoption and in the process of adopting a second from China, D. shared what an absolute blessing it's been to grow their family both by birth & adoption.  Yes, we are where we're meant to be.  Things will work out as they're supposed to. 

And lingering in and out of my mind is the fact that my Dad isn't here to meet N. Sure, if I believe his spirit lives on, he somehow knows and probably played a pretty critical role in bringing N. to us wherever he is.  Tomorrow is his four-year death anniversary.   

Need meditation.  It's necessary to my daily survival and connecting to myself. Breathing in, I feel calm.  Breathing out, I feel relaxed. May I be safe from inner & outer harm. May I  be happy & peaceful. May I be strong & healthy. May I take care of myself with joy.  

A. & I have so much gratitude for the team of specialists who cared for N. and me throughout the pregnancy as well as the nurses and doctors on staff during labor and delivery.  A most heartfelt thank you to all of our friends & family who visited at the hospital, left messages and sent treats, as they share in our delight at N.'s arrival into the world.


Welcome to the universe

The universe gifted us with our newborn daughter, N., the eve of my 40th birthday.  She was born on 08/08/12, 12.09am, 3.1lbs.  A premie, N. remains in NICU until she gains weight.  Thankfully, she came out screaming via emergency c-section and has been breathing on her own since then.  Other than an ivy feeding tube, she is hooked up to no other connections.  Doctors are hopeful that she'll outgrow her heart murmur which is common among premies.  And today, she is a week old. 

What was a routine weekly appointment with the specialist on Tuesday, August 7 quickly turned into cause for concern with multiple doctors leaving messages and telling us to get to Labor & Delivery (L&D) as quickly as possible since my blood work and 24-urine hour tests indicated dangerous results.  I would deliver that day.  I'd just packed a hospital bag the night before.  A. & I wrapped up what we could in 30 minutes at home and headed for L&D at the hospital where we were not expecting to give birth.  But knowing that the teaching hospital had a NICU, there was no question about delivering there.      

We arrived at L&D Room 8 around noon.  I was not prepared for the next twelve hours as doctors made tremendous efforts to bring my extremely high blood pressure down, which was the major cause for concern.  They informed us that the solution to preeclampsia was delivery.  A. & I learned that doctors were not immediately suggesting a C-section, but would induce me with two individual drugs, cervidil and petocin, in the hopes of a vaginal delivery - those were the next grueling 12 hours in the midst of my anxiety and panic as I was doped up on magnesium sulfate.  Doctors descended upon me like blackhawks at the slightest indication of the baby's lowered heart rate or the instability of my blood pressure.  While I was contracting on my own and reached 2cm dilation, the induction drugs were frightfully lowering the baby's heart rate and by 11pm, it was finally decided that I would undergo an emergency C-section.  

I've never been in the hospital before, nor have I had any kind of major surgery other than having my wisdom teeth pulled out.  While the first two trimesters of my pregnancy were uneventful, being high risk due to my advanced maternal age clearly took over in the last trimester.  

Having to go on leave unexpectedly as of July 13, two months before my due date of September 13 and giving birth at 35 weeks, I realize how much my quality of life has suffered by working in the city since my twenties. So not worth my health.  To think, I'd planned on working through August 16.  Not sure how I would have managed my 12-hour days and 1.5-hour commute one-way during my last trimester.  No doubt women do it.  So eye-opening how a moment of crisis or change brings such clarity to what matters most in life.  A. & I never expected to conceive a child after some years of trying on and off along with various stressful life events.  Nothing has come easy, and God doesn't give us what we can't handle.   

A. & I have been blessed by N., our little miracle.  Be the Light.   

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.


Pulsing in prayer

It has been a most difficult third trimester what with concerns around hypertension, an underweight baby (medical term: poor fetal growth), and non-stress fetal monitoring. I have a doctor's appointment almost every day of the week -- weekly scheduled appointments with my ob/gyn, hypertension specialist, fetal medicine specialist, acupuncturist, and fetal monitoring at the hospital,  as I remember to be thankful for a team of medical professionals who are managing my and baby's health.  And in the midst of it all, I'm supposed to be on home rest and relax as much as possible.  Yeah right.

While I have been cautiously excited to be pregnant, I am also a woman who has always been hyper aware of her body.  No twinge or change in my body goes unnoticed or unexamined.  My most significant anxiety around being pregnant has been -- How will I handle the physical changes in my body? Will I be able to manage the discomfort? Even with all of the reading I've done addressing my fears around pregnancy and childbirth, I so dislike having no control over my body. Blessedly one of my oldest and dearest friends, E., a nurse as well as a doula in training, has been of immense comfort and has offered to support A. and me in our journey through childbirth.   

Admittedly with all the worries, A. recently reminded me that perhaps we'd forgotten about trusting in Spirit. Nothing has come easy to us, so why should we expect otherwise? What with A.'s heart, Dad's cancer, our adoption process, particular family relationships . . . While we've been making tremendous efforts to meditate, prayer has its role too -- knowing that Spirit is with us.  Clearly we need to have confidence in prayer and believe that a greater Life Force intervenes.  That's why we are here. That's why we are grateful for this 'Milagro' in our lives.  In addition to pulsing with gratitude, we must remember to also pulse in prayer.