It's a wonderful thing to be Reagan's mommy, and every day, I am so grateful for her. But, as I reflect on the last 74 days, it's a bittersweet feeling. I look at friends who are having babies or who have recently had babies, and I envy their normal full term healthy deliveries. I envy how they think that their pregnancy experience is similar to mine. I envy how they can blithely go through each day without realizing just how much of a miracle every part of a baby is. (For my friends who are reading this who have recently had or are going to have babies...please please PLEASE don't take offense at what I'm saying--- I'm so thrilled for each and every one of you, and adore your babies!). I envy that they get to feel what it's like to be HUGE with a baby, to wonder if this is going to be the day that your baby makes their appearance. I envy that they go to experience the third trimester.
|Reagan on her birthday, Jan. 8th, 2012|
Wrong. After Reagan's birth, I heard from so many friends and friends of friends that had or knew someone who had difficult pregnancy and/or early delivery. It's a hard road. It's a lonely road. It's a road that makes you so thankful for every little thing.
Most new moms don't think twice about their babies' ability to eat on their own or breathe on their own. I didn't. When Reagan was born, she was able to breathe on her own right away, which mean she did not have to be intubated. However, she did go on two different breathing machines. These allowed her to spend her energy growing rather than breathing. The day that she moved to breathing on her own without a machine was a HUGE day for us. I'll never take for granted the fact that my daughter can breathe.
|Reagan in February, with her feeding tube.|
In the NICU, I would be able to hear babies from down the hall screaming and crying at the top of their lungs. It was such a sound... but it made my heart ache, just a little tiny bit. When Reagan was first born, and for the first few weeks, she couldn't cry or make loud sounds. They were teeny tiny little sounds that only hinted at what could be. I couldn't wait to hear her cry loudly, because I knew that healthy babies are able to cry at a normal volume. Now, when she cries in the middle of the night, yes, it drives me crazy. But, I'm thankful that she can cry, that's she is physically able to cry.
Most people, when they're getting ready for their baby, hear that babies need one more layer of clothing than grown ups. So, new moms and dads think a little bit about their child's body temperature. Most never imagine that their child's ability to regulate their OWN body temperature is a huge gift. Reagan spent the first five and a half weeks in a isolette in the NICU. Initially, the isolette was set to adjust to her body temperature, regulating her warmth for her. After a few weeks, it was changed to stay at a set temperature, gradually allowing Reagan's body to take over the regulation. It wasn't until she was less than a week away from coming home that she moved to a crib, at room temperature. This was so exciting and huge. For over a month, we had to reach through two arm holes into the isolette to hold her hand, or wait until she was feeding to get to hold her outside of the isolette. When she moved to the crib, we were able to touch and hold Reagan however much we wanted. Moms and dads never imagine that they have to wait until they are told to hold their child. We certainly never imagined that. It's the hardest thing, to ask permission to touch and participate in your own child's life and care. I will never stop treasuring the ability to hold my daughter.
|Reagan on Monday, March 19th! Happy girl!|
Happy due date, my angel!! :) I love you!