November 17 is World Prematurity Day


This is the second world prematurity day that we are here for since Roo was born. Last year, I was still in a fog to do much other than have it cross my mind. This year, I’ve been reflecting on it much more.

We are one of the lucky families. The toll has been great on us but much easier than other families I know in real life or online. However, our story is our story and the toll has been great.

I never thought much about prematurity. It never crossed my mind that Roo would be premature. But, who does like any other disease or illness or struggle?

For Roo, the toll has been ongoing medical and physical challenges. From her NICU stay to the reflux to the surgery for her crossed eyes to the weekly physical therapy to her eczema and food allergies, it has been one thing after another. I wish my little girl could get a break.

Yes, all of those things could still have happened to her if she was full term but I think many of her challenges are tied into her early birth.

Even with all of those challenges, Roo is the happiest, sweetest baby I know (I’m biased!). She is sensitive and shy but she is a caring and sweet little girl who rolls with the punches and takes the challenges head on. She doesn’t know life to be any differently and for that I’m grateful that she doesn’t realize that all little kids don’t need physical therapy every week.

As for me, the impact is greater. Emotionally, I was not prepared for the changes to my life. I know that life changes after a new baby arrives but life with a preemie changes even more. It has taken a toll on me as I struggle with depression. It has taken a huge toll on my marriage. MH and I struggle with some issues separate from life changing with a preemie but I think if the stress of dealing with the challenges of a preemie baby weren’t there, it would be easier to work on and fix those other problems. But, there is only so much room emotionally and psychologically to deal with challenges and we have to put Roo first right now. I worry and wonder if our marriage will survive. I now understand why parents of children with special needs have a harder time keeping their marriages intact. I don’t want to fall into the category where we fall apart. Some days I think it would be easier on my own. That makes me sad.

Adding to the stress, we were not prepared financially for the costs of having a premature baby. Our health insurance is great but has a very high deductible and we are afraid to make any changes for fear of losing access to the great providers we have established relationships with already. That high deductible means we pay a huge sum of money out of our pockets before insurance kicks in, which means any inkling of extra money is gone. PT alone is $500 a month or so that would have gone into savings. It’s hard. And, MH alone makes great money. With my extra income (I actually make more $$$) than MH, we will be able to get back on our feet more quickly and start to make up for the lack in saving the past year and a half.

Had we known what we were facing, in hindsight, we would not have purchased a 2,000 sq. ft. 4 bedroom house in the suburbs where we needed to buy another car, pay for lawn service because we have no time to care for the yard because we are busy caring for our child, etc. We would have not needed the fourth bedroom because we are not having another child that ER thought we might have tried for before all of this . We have three rooms in the house that virtually are unused because we haven’t had the time or the money to do anything with them. I love our house but we may need to move.

I’ve been slowly losing friends. It is hard to maintain friendships with old and new friends when I’m depressed and focused on Roo. My old friends were used to me calling them and returning calls. Now I’m too exhausted and I am also tired of hearing their words of “encouragement”. They don’t understand because they don’t have a preemie in their life. Distance makes it hard. I used to be able to hop on a plane and visit them but with our extra tight finances that is impossible. So my long time friendships are feeling very distant and farther away than ever. My new friends don’t understand either. Plus, I will make a play date with someone and then they or their kid gets a runny nose and so se have to reschedule. It’s a challenge. I’m feeling lonely. I know this will get better as Roo gets older and her needs diminish but I feel like now is a time when I need those friendships the most and I don’t have the energy to feed them.

This is a long-winded way of saying that life with a preemie changed in ways that go beyond the physical needs and challenges. The challenges are far-reaching. Life is hard no matter what. And, as one challenge ends another will surface. Overall, my life isn’t bad. I’m dealing with first world problems, which aren’t really too hard in the bigger picture. I should quit my whining.

Getting back to the point, World prematurity awareness day is a reminder that millions of babies around the world are born too early. We all need to be aware of the issue and do our part to help stop this problem. Visit the March of Dimes website and make a donation to their efforts to find a solution to ending prematurity. Many premature births like Roo’s happen for no rhyme or reason – even with perfectly healthy pregnancies and mamas like me. We were lucky to have world-class providers keep our little one with us.

Thanks again for following, reading, supporting Roo and me!!

(Top photo is of Roo in NICU towards the end of her stay. The bottom photo is of Roo a couple of weeks ago!)

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Effect of Children on Marriage


Psychology was my minor in college and so I often look at relationships and think about why they might succeed or fail. I now have two friends who separated from their husbands within one year of having their babies and are now divorced. I think before marriage and before kids, I would have wondered why they couldn’t make it work. I would have judged them.

Today, sitting on the other side of marriage and a baby. I get it. Marriage is hard enough without the stress of a baby. A baby is hard enough without everything else.

There have been times since giving birth that I’ve wondered why I married MH. I have thought about what it would be like to be a single mom. I don’t like the idea. It’s hard enough parenting with a partner. I can’t imagine really doing it on my own.

As much as I get annoyed with him and as much as we struggle, I need and want to make our marriage work. Not only for myself but also for our daughter. We have been doing marriage counseling a few times a month since January and it is helping a lot.

We continue to have a lot of work to do and I know that the road will not always be smooth but I hope that it won’t come to a point where we need to separate.

I could be wrong since I have never had a full term baby but I think the challenge of having a preemie adds to the stress of marriage. It is one of the reasons why we only want one child.

I get it though why those friends separated and then divorced. It would be much easier than to put the time and energy into it. There are days when I would much rather be on my own but I push those feelings aside and try to open myself to focusing on our marriage.

How do you refocus on your marriage and away from the stress of the baby? Did you have a preemie and do you think the stress is greater?

A Love Letter to Roo: Six Months


Dear Baby Roo,

I can hardly believe that my baby girl is already six months old. You have loved for half of one year. So much has changed in that year.

You were 3 pounds 14 ounces and 16 inches long when you entered the world. At your six month appointment, you weighed 13 pounds 6 ounces and you are 24.5 inches long. Wow!!

When you were first born, you fit right in the crook of my arm. Now, your little legs don’t fit into my body when you nurse. You’re getting to be such a big baby!

I love how you have snuggled into me from day one. Six months later it is still the best feeling in the world. There is nothing like it!!

You’re smiles are contagious and you laugh more and more everyday! It’s had not to fall more in love with you each moment.

New this month are kisses. You’ve started to kiss me back on my cheek and I love it. Your kissing is so enthusiastic with a wide open mouth! You even have started to give your grandma kisses!!

Everyday is filled with more and more chatter from you. You love to talk to your “friends” and I’m sure they are talking back to you.

You love to taste everything you can get your hands on including any book that we are reading. After I read the page, you like to stick out your tongue and taste it! It’s cute because then you help me turn the page.

The doctor says that in a few weeks we can start you on solid food. I think we might wait until you are good and ready. I’m prepared though! I already bought you a couple of spoons and some organic oatmeal to try. I also bought you a sippy cup with a straw since she said that you start to have little sips of water too. I feel like this is a really big step in life and I’m excited!! I can’t wait to make food for my baby girl.

We also are going to start sleep training you. I’m reading the book, No Cry Sleep Solution. We will see if it works. We set the video monitor in your room up and I’m mentally getting ready! Your adjusted age is almost five months old (sorry this letter is late) and I think it will be good for you and for me to have you sleep on your own. I think you are ready too. You have a good routine down and your schedule is pretty set! It might take a whole but I know we can do it.

I’m so proud of you baby Roo!!

I love you so much and I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks bring to us 🙂

Love always,
Mama

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Missing…


All of a sudden I miss being pregnant. For the past two Christmases, I’ve been pregnant. This year I am not.

In spite of all my complaints about pregnancy, I wouldn’t mind feeling a baby kick me from the inside again. I felt kind of sexy with my baby bump. I loved the attention I got and the happy looks.

That said, unless I could guarantee no morning sickness and a full-term baby, I will not be doing it again! Oh, that, and no heartache while TTC 🙂

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday!! We had a lovely Christmas weekend and even got a date night in on Saturday evening! MH and I have a journey ahead of us to true happiness as a married couple but we can do it. It might be a bumpy road but our date night reminded me why we got married and I hope that those moments continue to grow and add up.

Happy holidays from our family to yours!!!

Six Months


Baby Roo is six months old. Born at 12:31pm, she came into the world a fighter.

I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by. She is the sweetest baby and in spite of all the rough patches, she is the light of my life.

My letter to her will follow though not sure when. My parents are here and we are enjoying our time together and preparing for Christmas!

I will leave you with a photo of one of our two Christmas trees – this one is in our empty formal living room. The other photo is a recent favorite of Roo!!

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A Love Letter to Roo: Four Months


My dear baby Roo,

On Sunday you turned four months old! I cannot believe it – yet I can because during the last two weeks you have flourished and turned into a new little baby!

The biggest change is your smile. As a new baby when we brought you home and in the following weeks, it seemed that all you did was eat, poop, sleep and scream! It slowly has evolved into less sleep but still screaming. The last two weeks you have been awake and alert and you smile! The screaming is less and less. Yes, you actually smile at us! A big, huge, wide smile. A smile so big that your eyes close when you grin at us! I love your smile and I try to make you smile as often as possible when you are awake.

You also have found your voice. You adore laughing in your own way with a tiny little giggle. The things that make you laugh are silly songs and dancing with me. You have three new friends – a Halloween witch given to you by daddy’s friend, an orange monster given to you by your Grandparents and a monkey puppet, given to you by Grand (your grandfather who doesn’t want to be called grandpa). Any of these three friends brings a smile and a giggle to your face. You light up when one pops into your line of sight. It’s so cute!

You love music. So we play you music often. You enjoy two different kids music toys that play different kids sings like Old McDonald Had a Farm but you also love it when I turn on satellite radio and we dance to whatever song comes on like Katy Perry or other dance tunes. You also like to chill out to Mozart and Bach. Daddy makes sure you enjoy some old school rap too. You will be a well rounded music lover!

You suddenly don’t scream your head off in the car seat. I used to be afraid to drive anywhere more than 10-15 minutes away without someone else in the backseat because you would cry and carry on as if someone were taking away your favorite toy. You were always ok once we got there but it was hard on me. Now we can go places and you sometimes don’t make a peep out of the back seat except a little coo or giggle from looking at one of your toys.

You and I are finally getting the hang of this mommy and baby thing. Your grandparents have moved onto their own lives again. We both miss them terribly and loved having them here for the greater part of the last four months. But, it was time for mommy to fly on her own and daddy was very patient having his in-laws here for four months.

We are doing great and have introduced a helper named Denise to our family. You like her but aren’t entirely sure about her when it comes to spending time with her when mommy is close by. I think that will change and you will grow to love her! I do 🙂

I’m so proud of both of us. We have grown so much. You are the light of my life. Being your mom is the hardest job title I will ever hold but it is becoming the most rewarding especially as you give me more and more smiles and coos!

I love you baby Roo!
Mama

The Love of a Grandfather


I’m very sad this morning. About three weeks after Roo was born my dad arrived to help. He’s an emergency room doctor and a busy man, who helps people all over the world who can’t afford or get access to proper medical care, and he stopped his life to help us care for our new baby. Our baby who wouldn’t sleep anywhere but someone’s arms. For five weeks, he stayed up all night and held her, waking me with a text message when she needed to eat every two-three hours.

For the past few weeks, as she shifted to sleeping in my arms in our bed, he’s turned into her best pal during the day. He took her for long walks in her stroller so I could help my mom organize our new house (we moved in 10 days before my water broke). He read books to her, played music for her on the iPad. He changed more diapers than I have. He adores this baby.

I’m a daddy’s girl and I’m so happy that he loves my daughter as much as I do!

He left this morning to join my mom at a family wedding and then he’s off to Nepal where he will trek into the Himalayas for a week and provide medical care to people living in a remote mountain village. I get scared when he does these things. My dad is a thyroid and kidney cancer survivor. Just a year and a half ago, he had surgery for his kidney cancer. I worry that these types of activities will stress his body but I know he’d rather keep going and give back for what he’s been given than stay put.

So, I can only look forward to his return for the Christmas holidays!

My mom returns from the family wedding for just two days next week before she heads back to Europe. She arrived the day after Roo was born.

The two of them have been so helpful but its time for MH and to fly on our own. I know we can do it! Every other new parent has done it 🙂

It’s just that many new parents have family near by to help. I’m going to miss both of them terribly. In fact, I’ve been urging them to move here even for just part of the year!!

Anyway, you must think I’m a big baby for needing so much help with just one tiny baby. But I do. She’s a demanding handful. Luckily, she is becoming less colicky and her reflux is starting to get better. As she sleeps with us, I’m able to get some sleep too and she sleeps for longer stretched now. The hardest part of being on my own is getting things done since she will only play by herself for about 5-10 minutes before screaming. I’ll have to invest in some ear plugs 😉

Thank you


Thank you for your comments and support. Most of all, thank you for not being judgmental.

One of the reasons I want this blog to be anonymous is for me to feel comfortable. With only a handful of you knowing me in real life, it makes it easier to share myself and what I’m experiencing without censure.

I am also thankful to those of you who shared that you too are experiencing some of the same difficulties that I am. It helps to know that I’m not alone. That I’m not a weirdo.

Marriage is hard. Caring for an infant and a premature one at that is hard. Combine the two and life becomes extra challenging.

Will MH and I make it through this? I sure hope so. It will take a lot of work on both of our parts but that marriage, right?! With or without the added challenge of a preemie, it takes work.

MH is so sweet. He likes to live in a world where hard things go away once they are said out loud. He thinks that because we talked about it once that it goes away. So not true and I need to help him figure that out.

We got lucky both literally and figuratively today. My dad took Roo out for a walk and it was the first time that we’ve been alone in the house since we left for the hospital. I kind of forced it but I’m glad I did.

I also told him that I’m really feeling angry and resentful and that we need to figure things out. He said that he didn’t know I was still feeling this way about things. (Like I said, he thinks if I mention it once that since its been said that it will go away). I hope that I’m able to help him realize that we really need to work on things together.

I need courage and patience to get through this tough time. I have the courage. But, I lack patience. I need it. I have it with babies and children but I don’t have it for adults. I don’t know how to get it. My lack of patience shows through my tone of voice and it drives MH nuts. Any suggestions on how to keep an even tone when I’m feeling impatient?

Thanks again for being on this journey with me.

Xo