It seems I'm rather behind on blogging these days... but then again I don't know that I've ever really gotten caught up!
May 1st meant Hazel has beenRead More
April is Cesarean awareness month... and during this season of awareness I've seen far too many women speaking of the number of times they were told that a c-section is the easy way out.
and it breaks my heart.
though I fully support any woman that has had a cesarean, I want to speak specifically to csections and the world of prematurity together, because it's what I know - and so often I feel like I can't relate to other mothers of term babies because quite honestly, I've never experienced it and I never will.
when people hear that hazel was born early, their immediate response is typically something along the lines of "she was eager to join the world!" or "she just couldn't wait to meet her mommy", and while I fully understand what they're trying to say (mostly, they don't know what to say so that seems socially acceptable) it couldn't be further from the truth.
we took her from her safe place. we signed our names on the dotted line that would allow the doctors to cut me open, and take her before she was ready in an effort to save us both. WE did this to her, MY body did this to her. She wasn't ready, she wasn't eager, she could have waited... she should have been allowed to wait another 4 whole months. but she couldn't. i couldn't.
I never experienced labour. My body never felt the pains of labour, of contractions. I never had my water break, or had it broken for me - in fact, hazel was born en caul (the amniotic sac still intact, her tucked away safely inside as they pulled her from my womb). They knocked me out, pulled my baby from me, let her lay on a table next to me to delay the cord clamping, and then whisked her away to the NICU. I never saw my husband meet his little girl for the first time. I was still under anaesthesia, unaware we had a daughter. unaware whether she had survived or not.
now this isn't always the case with prematurity, but it was my reality.
and this reality had my heart aching for so long - and if i'm being honest it still aches, some days more than others. for weeks after hazel was born i would tell my husband that I felt like a cheat. I asked him how i could ever say i had given birth when i hadn't. i felt robbed. stripped of my ability to give birth as a woman.
now you have to understand, i've never thought that of any woman i know that had a cesarean. it never even CROSSED my mind. but suddenly, here i sat in tears because i felt less than.
and what amplified those feelings was that i never went into labour. sure, my mom had a cesarean - 3 in fact. i always said she gave birth to us. a friend had two csections - she gave birth to her babies. but me? how could i possibly say i gave birth to my daughter when i never went into labour, when i never felt the pains of contractions, when i never birthed her from my body?
and still, nearly 18 months later i say "i delivered my daughter". i can't seem to get the words out that i gave birth to her.
is that feeling justified? maybe? is it honest? to my heart yes, but in reality... no. not at all. is it understandable? absolutely? is it the truth? not at all.
it's a stigma.
a stigma that i have yet to let go of. a notion that a csection makes you less of a woman.
even as i sit here writing this i realize this is the first time i've shared this with anyone but my husband. and my hands get shakey at the thought.
i'm not here to compare a vaginal birth vs a csection... i think both are equally as brave, and both take just as much strength as the other. but while we are so easy to tell our friends that they are total rockstars for giving birth by cesarean, when it comes to ourselves - when we look in the mirror do we allow ourselves the same grace?
Admittedly, this is a post I'm so ridiculously behind on. I had wanted to write this post before our shop even launched but my poor blog has been so neglected these days. I promise you, however that more contentRead More
I remember Hazel's first Valentine's day so well. We've never celebrated big on Valentine's Day, just a nice supper made at home and a cheesy card - and maybe a couple chocolates for a treat - but it's never been a day I've gottenRead More
I first held Hazel when she was 33 days old. There was no skin to skin when she was born, or even shortly thereafter, no kangaroo care, no breastfeeding. The most she got was a gentle hand placed over her tiny frame. "Hand Hugs" they were called, and they were just as important to her nurturing and development as skin to skin - but let'sRead More
I never imagined I would have a hospital bug out bag for my daughter, tucked away in her bedroom closet, but last summer Hazel was unexpectedly hospitalized for a week in pediatrics and I found myself entirely unprepared.
She had caught a virus of some sort in July and had a bit of a cough. She was still on oxygen at the time and while monitoring her oxygen saturations I could see her sats were dipping a little but not enough to increase her oxygen needs. When her little cough started turning intoRead More
If you'd asked me 3 months ago if I would consider sleep training my answer was a solid "no." But something changed, and sleep training has been the best decision I've made so far.
Let me begin by saying I am not an expert, or a professional. This post is simply meant to share our experience with Hazel's sleep patterns and habits and what has been working for us. Personally I have always sought out personal experience from others who've gone through similar situations, regardless ofRead More
Somehow, at some point you simply realize several months have passed and you've driven the same route, parked in the same lot, paid at the same parking meter, walked up the same flights of stairs, and rang the same buzzer to get in to the secure unit that your baby called home. Somehow you've done this every, single, day.
When meeting other preemieRead More
There's something to be said about the end of a year. It's like ending a chapter, not finishing a book... there's always another chapter ahead but when you finish that chapter you take everything you've learned from it and carry it forward in your story.Read More
13 months... how is my baby over the age of ONE.
Three days ago while we were at BC Children's hospital having Hazel's follow up with her cardiologist, the technician doing her ECHO confirmed that she was 13 months old. I was about to correct her that Hazel was 12 months when I realizedRead More
With Hazel's PDA closure surgery coming up the day after tomorrow I'm feeling all kinds of emotions. Relief, anxiety, fear, thankfulness... I'm already a hot mess, and then as we were getting ready this morning the song came on my phone that I used to singRead More
I want to start by saying that I, by no means am an expert in this area. I'm just a mama to a micro preemie who is almost a year old and I want to share what has worked for us as we introduced our babe to solids.
Whether you chooseRead More
It's been nearly 4 months since we brought Hazel home from the NICU and it's been wild.
Bringing a baby home is a learning curve. Bringing a baby home on oxygen... well, that's a whole other level of long days and sleepless nights. Would I have it any other way? Not a chance in the world... well, maybe I'd take a couple more hours of sleep
To the NICU mama... You are not alone.
You are not alone in your fears when the unknown makes you riddled with worry, and the known makes you physically ill. You are not alone when the fears take hold and you feel stunned and numb. When the fear makes you want to run, you are not alone.Read More
It was a less than a week after Hazel had been born. I had begun processing all that had happened and I was struck with a deep sadness and an intense feeling of loss.
Hazel was still fighting and I was slowly healing, though still stuck in the hospital wondering why my kidneys were still failing and my blood was still weakRead More
Throughout the 2 years it took us to conceive Hazel I often dreamed of our baby's nursery. How it would look, what emotion it would evoke.
Once I fell pregnant I started searching for those perfect pieces and the scandinavian black and white nursery I dreamed of began to come to life. And then Hazel arrivedRead More
The day finally came my sweet girl. 175 long, emotional, exhausting, exciting, proud days in the neonatal intensive care unit.
We survived 31,500 km and over 575 hours of driving time. We lived through sleepless worry, and excited anticipation. We had terrifying moments, and proud moments. We struggled withRead More
Two weekends ago my sisters held a beautiful 'Where the Wild Things Are' themed baby shower at our home to celebrate our sweet Hazel Emilie. It was the day after Hazel's due date which couldn't have been more fitting. Friday, March 3rd had been her due date and that week took such an emotional toll on me. I hadn't anticipatedRead More
When I think about our journey in starting a family… when I think of Hazel’s journey, I know undoubtedly she is here in this world in this life for a beautiful reason.
Our story of conception was one of two years of unexplained infertility, followed by two back to back early miscarriages and within the month following the conception of a special, tiny little soul who is nowRead More
If you would like to make a donation to the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation to the neonatal intensive care unit please email me for more details.