I really should’ve started this sooner, but technically you’re only supposed to be a month old today, not three months old. But then, a lot of things were thrown for a loop when you joined the world two months early.
It all started with a simple set of swollen feet. When I discovered that my blood pressure was elevated, I had your father take me to the doctor just to check on it. Never did I imagine I’d be admitted to the hospital that day. That was May 8th. One torturous week later, the doctors decided it was best for you to join us on this side of the womb. At 8:04 pm on May 15th 2008, you came screaming into the world via cesarean section. The nurses swaddled you up like a little baby burrito, held you close so I could give you your first kiss, then whisked you away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Your first few days were a scary time for your father and I, but you seemed to have no trouble at all with your premature debut into the world. You only weighed in at 2 pounds 9 ounces, but your lungs were mature enough that you needed no respiratory help whatsoever. In no time at all, the NICU nurses had all fallen in love with your beautiful little face. “She’s so alert and expressive,” they’d all exclaim. That you were. But oh so tiny. The palm of your hand was the size of my thumbnail and your diapers, which were too big on you, were smaller than the palm of my hand.
When they sent me home from the hospital a few days after your birth, I thought my heart had been pulled out of my chest to remain behind with you. I was still so sore, recovering from the c-section, but your dad brought me up to the hospital everyday to see you. Together the two of us would forget the world outside while we cuddled together in kangaroo care. Those hours we spent together were more helpful in reducing my blood pressure than any medication the doctors gave me.
Each day you spent in the NICU seemed to last a lifetime, but looking back only a few months later it seems like you grew so fast. Your little tummy didn’t want to take any food at first, but I was pumping breastmilk (constantly it seemed) to make sure you had the very best food available for you once you were ready to eat. Finally, you started digesting ever so little amounts. Three milliliters at first, then four, then five, increasing gradually until you were ready to try a bottle.
Having already been exposed to breastfeeding briefly while still getting your meals through a gavage tube, lets just say you were less than impressed with the bottle. But you suffered through like a champ and soon we realized you were digesting your meals much better when they started at your mouth instead of being pumped directly to your stomach. Soon enough, most of your meals were from a bottle other than the two times a day I could come in to breastfeed.
In the meantime, your father and I, along with friends, family, and even some perfect strangers, prayed everyday for your good health and for you to come home from the hospital soon. And just four weeks after your birth, the NICU staff told us you were able to come home. June 13th 2008, weighing a mere 4 pounds 1 ounce, we brought you home.
You were so much bigger than you were the day you were born, but yet so tiny that your car seat could barely hold you. The five-point harness covered your entire torso, your little feet just barely stuck out, and we had to buy an extra insert to cradle your teeny little head. It wasn’t until we got you home though that we realized just how tiny you were. In the hospital, you were surrounded by other preemies, all teeny tiny in their own isolettes. But at home, you suddenly seemed to be even tinier. Our two cats, Luna and Loki, seemed like science fiction felines compared to you. Even the remote control for the television was almost the same size as you when you were swaddled.
As soon as you came home, your father and I were thrown into a world of very little sleep, very many diapers, and more love than we’d ever imagined. Our days and nights revolved around you, our little miracle. Since then, it’s been a series of firsts. First time sleeping in your bassinet. First doctor’s appointment. First nap with Dad. First bath. First visit from Ammachi and Appacha. First visit to Grandma and Grandpa in Rochester. First preemie-sized outfit you outgrew.
Shortly after your two month birthday (also known as your expected due date), your father and I finally finished your nursery. Hey, had you been on time we surely would’ve had it done for you, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. Since then, I’ve decided it’s my favorite room in the house.
As of today, your 3 month birthday, you’re now sleeping in your crib instead of a bassinet, you’re settling into a routine of sorts that includes lots of cuddles and hugs and naps, and you’re just starting to give me the occasional smile, which I have yet to capture in a photo. You prefer your swing to go fast, the car to be cruising (stopping is likely to bring grunts and groans of displeasure from you), jazz music, sleeping on your belly and napping with Daddy.
The most common question I’m asked is how much you weigh. Unfortunately, it’s a guessing game right now since your next doctor’s appointment isn’t for another month or so. The unofficial measurement (I stood on the scale, got my weight, then Grandma handed you to me and we calculated the difference) is somewhere around 9 pounds. I’m thinking I may have to invest in a scale soon just to keep up with the numerous requests. All I know for sure is you’re eating a ton (refusing to take a bottle, by the way), you’re rapidly growing out of your outfits and your cheeks are so plump it’s a wonder you’re not deaf from all the loud kisses I plant on your chubby cheeks everyday.
Having you in my life has been the biggest blessing I’ve ever had. These last three months have been so wonderful, challenging, loving and miraculous. I can hardly wait to see what’s to come.