Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘NICU


1) 32 weeks and 5 days pregnant.

2) Note to husband: bikini bottoms do not count as underwear!

During my stint in the hospital I had a short list of “please-bring-mes” that I dished out over the phone to my lovely hubby: one of these things being underwear. A few hours later, he trots in with the items and I begin relishing in my requested delights: a gossip magazine, ChapStick, leftover Halloween candy, etc. Then I get to the underwear and hold them up with an inquisitive look.

Borys: Yah, I wasn’t sure which ones to bring, but those looked thick and big so I picked them out. Maternity underwear, right? Or are they a bathing suit?

Granted they are black, but still, how many pairs of underwear has he ever seen that are made out of bathing suit material? Plus I don’t own any maternity underwear!!! They’re too “thick and big” for my liking.

Me: Withering look, with a secret smile inside.

Thanks goodness I requested two pairs. And thank goodness the other ones weren’t part of a bikini.

3) “Chee-yos” (that’s Niko-speak for Cheerios) in my bed.

Yes a weird thing to smile at, but one night this week Niko had been hungry before going to sleep, so I got him a little bowl of Cheerios to snack on while I read him a bedtime story in my bed. Of course his little hands couldn’t help but spill a few here and there, but they were milkless, so what’s the big deal? Together, we picked up all the renegades (or so we thought), and then I scooted him off to his own bed.

The next morning I awoke to an array of random Cheerios stuck to my legs and arms. Guess we missed a few. But still, the memory of the little guy enjoying his snack and leaving traces of himself behind, was enough to put a smile on my face.

4) Good news from the NICU: a baby born at 32 weeks has the same chance of survival as a full term baby.

Not to say a 32 week old baby, wouldn’t have other health issues, but just that the survival rate is so high put a smile in my heart.

5) Rediscovering my library card.

I checked out a book and started reading it!


One day last week Little N-Bomb’s had his first birthday, and on that particular morning I found myself reflecting on what a year of transition it’s been. Can you blame me for the reflecting? I mean what else is a gal to do when stuck in a standstill of traffic and enveloped by exhaust fumes at only 8 am in the morning? Seriously, the radio can only get me so far and then I am left to my own entertainment devices, which when behind the wheel of my car are basically just the thoughts in my head.

Anyway on Niko’s birthday, I couldn’t help but think about how exactly one year before I had gone in to labour, ended up with a C-section and Little Niko had been born pretty much right around 8 am. Only for him to be taken by the nurse, poked, prodded, weighed, and swaddled and then brought back to me by a woman wearing a face mask and concern in her eyes. Yup, I only got to hold the little tike, all 5 lbs 15 ounces of him, for about two minutes before he was whisked away to the NICU. Such is life. But those two minutes were glorious. He just felt so light and cuddly my arms and of course we have a few pics to prove it, courtesy of our lovely anesthesiologist.

So Niko is one. And for that matter we’re all a year older, but one seems somehow more significant than thirty-something (yes, that’s thirty-something because I often forget just how old I am, which again leads to the insignificance of the age…). I actually do forget though. Sometimes I have to think of my year of birth, and then count out from there to get my exact age. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I do know my age, but other times I just really can’t recall it (too quickly). But I digress. Little Niko is one now and there will be pics to follow. After all, you can’t turn one without a round of Happy Birthday and some cake (even if you don’t like the singing or the cake, as Niko quite visibly demonstrated at his party…).


After Niko was born I was in a double hospital room with another mom. Even though we were separated by a curtain, she was only about four feet away and I could hear everything that was going on on her side. So while she had friends and family coming in for visits to meet her little baby, I had my Baby in a Camera.

Niko was in the NICU and unable to leave, and the only way I could physically see him was if I trekked on down to the Intensive Care Unit (which I did many times). But while this neighbour mom cooed and gooed over her newborn, I was quietly looking at my little babe in the digital camera. (And, truth be told, shedding a few tears over the whole situation. I mean it wasn’t ideal, and right after you give birth there are just all those hormones and emotions racing through your body). Anyway, that situation didn’t last long because the next day I was moved to a private room, and found it much easier to have my Baby in a Camera in the privacy of my own room.

When I went away last weekend, I snapped some pics of Niko before leaving so that I could bring my Baby in a Camera on the road with me. The difference this time was that these images only invoked feelings of joy when I looked at them. Plus it gave me a chance to show him off to my pals.

Note: These pics are the now and then versions of my Baby in a Camera.


Only seven months old and he’s already being evaluated! Well, now that I think of it, I guess all babies are evaluated the minute they are born – otherwise how would they have discovered our little guy needed to spend some time in the NICU. But Niko did receive his first official non-medical evaluation yesterday, when he completed his last lesson of Parent and Tot 1 swimming lessons.

And what has he accomplished over the last few months? He’s practiced jumping, back floats, front floats and each time I managed to dunk him completely under water to the tune of Ring Around the Rosie or Alice the Camel. A lot of people in the class commented on how much he has changed since our first lesson (which was in mid. February). The most constructive piece of criticism he got on his report card was, “No more falling asleep in the pool!”. OK, so he did fall asleep that one time! But who could blame my sleepy little man, after all swim time coincides with what’s usually nap time!

Note: Niko took swimming lessons with his pal Eli. On the day these pics were taken, Paul (Eli’s dad) swam with Eli and Traci (Eli’s mom) snapped all the photos.


According to the radio station I’m listening to this morning they say this March has been record breaking in Ottawa. The station said something like this: “Since the 1930s (which is when temperature began being recorded in O-town) there has never been a March with so little snow – 0 cm”. Can you believe it?! Zero snow in March: this is literally unheard of. And not only has there been no snow, but the beginning of April which also happens to be Easter weekend this year, is forecast to be up to 25 degrees, with a few warm days leading up to that 25 as well! Yah!

Then it donned on me: seeing as Niko’s a mid-September baby and he spent the first two weeks of his life in the NICU he has never experienced natural Summer heat on his face or felt the joys that warm winds and weather can bring to the mind and body. So he’s got a lot of firsts coming his way this weekend: a Summer day in Spring and the Easter Bunny. What a way to ring in April! No joke.


Our little boy is six months old today. Still a baby? Yes. Still a newborn? No.

The other day Niko and I went out for lunch with my friend Charlotte and Niko’s newborn friend Jack. To see two week old Jack, all 7lbs of him, still scrunched up in the fetal position, really put into perspective how much Niko has grown since his 6lb NICU days. I mean I still think of little Niko, as well, LITTLE! And I guess he is. But “little” is all relative, and when compared to a newborn, little is not a word that comes to mind. Holding little Jackson it’s hard to remember that Niko was actually smaller than him, and I can’t even really remember him feeling so light in my arms.

Borys and I are both so happy that (not so little anymore) Niko is healthy and growing. Even though he was born a month early, and hooked up to machines and monitors for the first two weeks of his life, you would never know that by looking at him. He certainly has grown into a strong and healthy baby!

PS – In the last pic, in the series of pictures below, Niko’s facial expression is one of sheer grit (not tears) after he pulled a ninja move on the karate bear. And after such a move, we now refer to him as Sensei Niko.

Note: This is part of a series of blog entries that were inspired when Niko wore the bear’s mini karate gi as a Halloween costume. Since then I have used the bear and the costume to document his growth at three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and now eleven months.

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They survived! Yes, left to their own devices, with Daddy in charge, my three boys – Frasier included – successfully survived over 24 hours without Mommy.  Yup, that’s right! Mommy had a girls night out in Montreal for Susan’s bachelorette, and according to our calculations it was my first time away from Niko for more than three hours since he had come home from the hospital! Anyway, it was a great excuse to party and away we went, while the boyz stayed home.

And how did it all turn out, you may wonder? Great! And to add to the greatness – Niko had his longest stretch of sleep ever: going from 9 pm to 6 am! Hmm…with that sort of magic touch, maybe Daddy should be in charge more often… (And it’s not because Borys didn’t hear him waking up. No that would have been impossible considering that Daddy decided to sleep in the spare bed in Niko’s room so that he would be sure to hear him when he woke up, as I assured him before I left that he would have to be doing some middle of the night feedings. But alas, this was not the case and little Niko had his sweetest dreams ever!)

About a half hour before I was leaving I plunked Niko down with Daddy on the couch so I could get some of my stuff together. A few minutes later I look over to see Niko and Daddy cuddled comfortably: Niko looking on and Daddy looking at his iPod?! In my head I was thinking, “So this is how it’s going to go!” But then I justified the iPod by reminding myself that I go on the internet when I’ve got Niko all day, so I guess Daddy’s entitled to his techy device too.  Then a few minutes later, Borys turns off his iPod, looks over to me and says, “I now know what to do for baby cpr?” “That’s what you were looking at?”, I reply. “Yup!” Oy – now I feel a little guilty, but happy to know that our boy is in even safer hands!

Anyway, their day went great and so did my night! It was well worth it for all of us! Of course, I was sure to take a few (or maybe a lot…) of pics of Niko and Borys before I left so that I could see them in the camera when I wanted a peek. (Sort of like when I was in the hospital after having a c-section and Niko was in the NICU, and all I had was a baby in a camera, while my roommate had her living, breathing, crying baby right there, only a few metres away! But that’s another story…) Overall, it was a success all around and Susan seemed to have a great night whooping it up before she gets hitched next month!

And this weekend just goes to show: anything’s possible with enough planning and a freezer full of pumped milk.


Using my point and shoot digital camera, we have been taking video clips of Niko since he was born This week I finally got around to editing some of the clips together into short movies. When I actually got down to business I realized I had more clips than I thought, and the first movie I made is about 15 minutes and documents his stint in the NICU when he was first born. When I uploaded it to You Tube I had to divide it into two parts – seeing as it was too long, but if you do take a look I would recommend watching both parts consecutively as they really do go together.

Watching the clips and making the video has brought back a lot of memories: it has been fun, although a touch emotional. Niko’s come such a long way: from a preemie living in the hospital to a thriving baby keeping us on our toes at home!

THE VIDEOS (click the links below)

OUR BABY STORY PART 1

OUR BABY STORY PART 2

NOTE: If you look at the home page of this blog, you will notice that I have added another page called Niko Videos, along the top tool bar. I plan to edit all the remaining clips into movies and when they are completed and uploaded to You Tube, I will post them there.


In the early days, when Niko was first born, he was having some issues with breastfeeding.  Seeing as he was in the NICU, we were seeing a lactation consultant to help us get going.  One day the lactation consultant felt around in his mouth, and afterward suggested that we get his tongue snipped. Snipped?! I had no idea what she was talking about! She went on to explain that she thought he had a tongue-tie or tethered tongue and that this was impeding his ability to breastfeed.  I had never heard of such a thing and inquired a bit more.  She told me it was a simple procedure done at the doctor’s office, where the tie that is under the tongue, that connects to the base of the mouth is simply snipped so that his tongue can latch easier when nursing.  This sounded a bit barbaric to me, but she told me it really doesn’t hurt the baby, and that there is no freezing needed: the doctor just goes in with the clippers and does the trick. Ouch! (That was all I could think at the time.)

She also told me that having a tongue-tie can hinder speech development in the future.  This got me thinking, so I talked to my doctor about it and she was leaning toward NOT getting the snip.  She said it used to be really common, but not so much anymore, and that a lot of times, newborns’ tongues will stretch as they grow and they will therefore grow out of not being able to latch.  My doctor further went on to feel his tongue-tie and did not think it was a concern.  After talking with Borys, we decided not to get the snip.

Over the past couple of weeks, Niko has been sticking out his tongue a lot.  Sometimes when we stick ours out at him, he will mirror this back, with a smile! And, he just sticks it out on his own as well, for no apparent reason.  I can’t help but wonder: is he just trying to prove, “See Mom and Dad, I didn’t need to get that nasty little snip! Look at me, I can stick my tongue out like the best of them!”.


Bringing Niko HomeSo…now that I am on maternity leave I have decided to start a blog and post my daily thoughts and experiences. I have officially been a mom since September 15th 2009, when my son Niko was born just after 8 am. That day was a total surprise because he was born exactly four weeks before his due date and we weren’t exactly ready.

I mean we had intended to be ready, but only by the due date which was October 13th. Some people say the 13th is an unlucky day, so maybe it’s better off this way anyway. Regardless, we were having all new hardwood floors put in, in hopes that they would be installed before the birth of our son! Surprise surprise, you can’t always plan the birthday of your child! Needless to say we are so happy to have him, despite the early challenges of him being in intensive care for two weeks.

In a glimpse the last five weeks have gone like this:

1) I had planned to take a month off before the birth of Niko. My last day of scheduled work (regardless of the premature delivery – which of course we did not know about) was September 14th. He was born on September 15th just after 8am – at least I had a few hours off. 🙂

2) My mom – aka. superwoman extraordinaire – came up to stay with Borys (my hubby) and I for two weeks. She cooked, cleaned and supported me like a champ. Because I had a c-section I was super limited to what I could actually do, and she was there for all my needs and more! I seriously appreciate all she has done. I think she felt bad that Niko was in intensive care, or maybe she just didn’t get enough “Grandma time” in, but she also came back for another whole week, and is here with me right now: cleaning and cooking as I type – what a multi-tasker!

3) After my mom’s first two week stay, Borys took two weeks off and cooked, cleaned and supported me like a champ as well! And, of course, it was great to have some quality time together as a family!

4) Oh no…the baby is squirming, or grunting which is what he actually does more of than real crying. I better go see what the fuss is, but I think it means he’s HUNGRY!

5) Feeding him, sure does take a lot of time! But, man have I caught up on my TV! Rogers on Demand, has really introduced me to some new shows. Since the birth of Niko, I have caught up on and started watching: Glee, Mad Men, Melrose Place, 90210, Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Wife and of course the wonderful – My Super Sweet 16 – I wish I could have a party like that!


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