Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm a Mom Central Canada Blogger Grant Recipient!

When you're a newly married couple, people always ask, "When are you going to start a family?"
When you have your first child, people always seem to ask, "When are you going to have Baby #2?"
I can't help but feel a little bit of anxiety when people ask these rather innocent questions. Though I do wish for a younger sibling for Little One, I can't help but be scared.

Being a Mom of a preemie and having had a high risk pregnancy, I worry about having a second baby. In my heart, I want a sibling for Little One, but can't get past the fear of something going wrong again. I'd like to share with other moms about the realistic fears of expanding one's family and let others know that they aren't alone in feeling anxiety over this matter.
After Little One’s dramatic entrance into the world, where she canon-balled herself into existence without the presence of a doctor in the hospital room, I have to say that the thought of having another preemie is a little bit daunting.

With her being born at 28 weeks gestation and weighing in at a whopping 980 grams (that’s just a tad over 2 lbs of butter!), life as my husband and I knew it would never be the same.  Having spent the first 70 days of her life in the NICU, we realize what a tremendous blessing and miracle she is.

Of course, our little preemie is now two years old (three years old in November) and everyone keeps asking when we’re going to have #2.
 The dates on these photos are incorrect. The settings on the camera were wrong. Little One was born on November 11, 2008.

The truth is, I’m scared.

I am terrified of having to go through that again.  There’s no telling whether I will have another premature baby, but the thought of it happening again scares me to death. I have friends who have had preemies and who have gone on to deliver their other children full-term. I've also got friends who have had preemies and kept on having preemies. We are blessed to have  had a healthy, strong, feisty little girl, but what if the next time we aren't so lucky?
  We were so fortunate that despite her prematurity and low birth weight, Little One came out unscathed.  She had no serious health complications, but was using her CPAP and NG tube for longer than I expected her to.  Two lumbar punctures (spinal taps) and a few other procedures were the biggest/most serious things she had to undergo.  Otherwise, no retinopathy of prematurity, no respiratory issues, no vision or hearing impairment.

It’s still scary to think that she might have had one or all of the above. I know we would love her with all our hearts regardless of what the outcome would have been.  ALL babies are special and all babies are blessings.  I guess the part that scares me the most is the thought of my preemie not surviving and not whether my baby had any medical issues.

Every day in the NICU was like a roller coaster ride.  One fantastic day could be followed by days of set backs.  One never knew whether Baby would survive.  Being born so early means having to do all that growing outside of Mom’s womb when Baby should still be inside.

Those 70 days in the NICU were the most challenging (physically and emotionally) days in my life. Words cannot express how scary each day was with the not knowing what would happen from one day to the next. Perhaps I've put those memories behind me for the most part. Every now and then, those memories resurface. They usually return and haunt me whenever people ask about Baby #2.  I remember how tiny and frail my preemie was and it just makes me cry.

People tell me to forget about Little One being a preemie and that I should put all of that "stuff" in the past. Little One is happy, healthy, and just like any other toddler around. I should let go of "unrealistic" fears and stop being so worried.

Perhaps I should just take a leap of faith and let whatever happens happen.

 Unless you've experienced having a baby born so early, you might not understand how real these fears are.
 My husband understands these fears and is supportive. He also feels we need to just go ahead and have faith that everything will turn out okay.
The best thing one can do is to speak with one's medical team (OB-GYN, high risk pregnancy specialist, etc) and discuss what steps need to be taken to prepare for another pregnancy and possible preterm baby. In our case, we've already had a consultation with our high risk pregnancy doctor and have discussed putting in a cervical cerclage for the next pregnancy. It will help keep the cervix closed until time to deliver the baby.

At least this time, doctors are aware that Little One was born preterm due to my incompetant cervix and me dilating at 21 weeks. Preparing mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally will make things easier this time around.

Steps to prepare for next pregnancy:
* Prepare body for the next pregnancy by eating healthy, continuing to exercise regularly, taking pre-natal vitamins, and getting enough rest. If doctor's orders call for bed rest, by all means, abide by those orders! The longer the baby is in, the better!

* Prepare emotionally by knowing what the outcomes of a premature birth can be. Know that another early delivery may or may not happen. Some women have preemies, but go on to have full-term pregnancies. Some have one preemie after another. In any case, remember that there may be many days in the NICU if you have another premature delivery.

* Use all the services available to you. There is a wealth of help out there. Everything from doctors, chat groups, parents of preemies, social workers, etc. Mount Sinai has fantastic services that I found extremely helpful for me when I was there.

Later on, after you have delivered, consider contacting the Ronald McDonald House (should you require somewhere to stay after your baby is born and you live out of town and cannot commute to the hospital every day). If you require aid in any way - for example, with paperwork for time spent away from work to care for your sick baby (that isn't included in maternity leave), social workers can also provide you assistance and information on various services available in situations like these.

* The best advice family and friends have given me is to believe and have faith that all will turn out well, but prepare for the challenges should they arise.

 I know I do want to have a sibling for Little One.  I do want to have another baby.  I’m just still a little bit scared.

I have been selected as one of the Summer 2011 recipients for a $250 Mom Central Canada Blogger Grant. I have been participating in Mom Central Canada blog tours, testing opportunities, and reviews for the past few years (since I became pregnant with Little One). Mom Central Canada also has a Blogger Grant Program where they will be awarding $10,000 worth of grants over the next year for Canadian bloggers in the Mom Central Canada network who have a compelling story and who want to help make the lives of busy moms and their families better.

I never expected to be selected, and am thrilled (and still shocked) to discover that I received the grant! Thank you so much, Mom Central Canada. You do so much for moms like me. It means a lot for me to have a place to express my thoughts, fears, concerns, anxieties and for me to be able to share with other moms who may be going through the same experience. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Round 4 of the Mom Central Canada Blogger Grant Program:
• Open for submissions: September 23, 2011
• Deadline for submissions: October 28, 2011
• Winners notified: November 25, 2011

*This blog post is cross-posted over at


  1. Thanks for sharing. I remember our babies sharing the same room in NICU level 2, who would have thought it would all turn out fine. What hell.

  2. Sheila:
    Thank you for leaving a comment. I remember the day we met, shortly after you delivered your twins! That entire time in the NICU/Level 2 Nursery seems like such a blur right now. At the time, it was all encompassing. What a crazy time that was for everyone.

    I'm glad it brought me closer to you and the other moms (as well as dads and families) who shared similar experiences with having babies in the NICU.

    I think of you guys often! Hugs! XOXOX

  3. I have been following your story since you got pregnant with "Little One" and I have shared in all the ups and downs of your NICU adventure. As it turns out, we had a preemie last year and your posts kept me going through our own experience. Thank you so very much for sharing.

    Your friends,
    Tam and Alex

  4. Hubby:
    Thank you! Love you too! Oh, and good job to you as well! :) We BOTH went through this together.

  5. Tam and Al:
    Thank you so much! Your words made my day. I'm glad our posts can help, even in a small way. How is your little one doing now?

  6. Christine, you are a fantastic mom and your journey with little one has prepared you for many of life's challenges. Follow your heart and you will make the right decision for you and John and baby RaRa - So proud of you for winning this award and for keeping such a fantastic blog that helps and inspires others. Rita

  7. Rita:
    Thank you so much! Your comment made me cry! xo