September: NICU Awareness Month

September is NICU Awareness Month, so I’ve decided to share a video of Momo’s graduation day!

Born at 29 weeks, Mohsen spent 6 weeks at the NICU. He graduated on 23/12/17, just in time for Christmas, weighing 2kg & 14 days apnea-free! This was the scariest day of my life. No one talks about this; about leaving the NICU..

When my water broke at 27 weeks I had no concept of baby. I thought perhaps I would miscarry, but it didn’t scare me. Every night at the NICU, I felt he was being taken care of by the best in the region & that helped curb my fears. Sure, there were scary days, but NOTHING can compare to the day we had to take him home. If you listen closely you’ll hear me suggest bringing him straight back up! 😂

There was a strange comfort in hearing his monitor beep & watching his oxygen levels on a screen. Daily weigh-ins gave me security. Then suddenly he’s all ours. We have to take him home, with no monitors, no nurse, no tubes, nothing. Just Momo. 

Safe to say I didn’t sleep for weeks. He slept well, of course; he has his dad’s genes ☺️🤷🏻‍♀️ but I couldn’t close my eyes. I would watch to make sure his little chest was moving up and down & wonder when I would stop worrying. I obsessed that he had no lashes & was cross eyed. I devised a system to weigh him every morning (which made me crazy). Nothing could have ever prepared me for this journey. NICU doesn’t always have a happy ending & we are blessed Momo was such a fighter. 

For NICU parents, here’s my two cents:

Trust the process & learn to accept your fate. It’s not what you would have chosen, granted, but you get to watch a little miracle grow outside of your body & that’s a true blessing. Trust your nurses; they really will give you everything they’ve got when they know you’re on the same team. Love your baby & celebrate him every day, no matter how hard that is to do over the beeps & tubes & all the stress. Hold him & practice kangaroo care whenever you can. Holding your baby is medicine; your love will heal.

So here’s to the heroes that are NICU babies & the patient parents that help them on their journey; it gets better, I promise 💜

#nicuawarenessmonth #ourlittlemomo

#MilkStory

So, let me share my milk story with you! I gave birth at 29 weeks. Just to put things in perspective that’s 4 weeks after my bump first started showing and just 6 weeks after I first started feeling kicks.
Baby was rushed away as soon as I delivered and I didn’t see him again till about 2 hours later. No Skin to Skin, no early initiation of breastfeeding…
And then came my first visit to the NICU. I was hurled into a dark tunnel of unfamiliarity; loud noises, tubes, wires, rushing nurses, and one very, very, tiny little Momo! Eyes shut & little fists clenched, I couldn’t recognize this little guy as my own. I loved him with every fiber of my being but I really didn’t know him. Feelings of guilt & fear swept over me like a wave and I could feel my heart sinking into my stomach.
So you can imagine, I didn’t think establishing a milk supply would be possible.
My first pumping session gave me nothing! Not a single drop. The second session of pumping gave me a few drops of colostrum after 30 minutes, pain & less hope than I started with.
Incredible support from my husband, multiple breastfeeding specialists, nurses & my neonatologist’s advice that this was the best thing I could do (in my situation, it was the ONLY thing I could do), motivated me to keep going. I created a schedule that I stuck to religiously. Every 2 hours, like clockwork, day or night, I’d pump for 15 mins. I invested in a double pump & a hands free bustier (both by Medela, available at Cookie Dough), as I was told that double stimulation can increase milk supply by 40%. By the third day I started to see results, and slowly but surely I established a healthy milk supply. Baby Mo is still being fed by a tube, but I’m hoping that 3 weeks from now we can move on to bottle feeding, and, eventually, breastfeeding. It may not work out the way I imagine, but I’ve learned to accept that things don’t always do.
Not all milk stories are the same and there certainly isn’t one milk story that’s the right milk story. But this is mine. It’s nothing like what I wanted or what I prepared for, but it’s special to me all the same ♥️
What’s your #milkstory?

Milk body available at Cookie Dough ⭐️
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/laurielauriane

Hey Mo!

On November 3rd at 5am my water broke at 27 weeks of pregnancy. With a combination of medical excellence, patient care and incredible amounts of love and support my husband and I held on tight. On Saturday November 11, we celebrated 29 weeks. Baby gave me as much as he could and at 9pm he was ready to start labor. It was long and lots of hard work, but my birth was incredible. It erased all the pain before it. Thanks to the medical excellence, personal involvement and care of my incredible Gynecologist, I have a beautiful birth story that I’m so eager to share every time I see my friends. On Sunday, November 12, at 1:14pm our baby Mohsen was born at 29 weeks plus 1 day. Today I face the greatest challenge of my life; to go home and leave Baby Mo behind at the NICU.
I write this as it is my therapy to gather my thoughts as I start a new chapter. I write here, because throughout my journey I have had shining stars that have shared their own experiences with me and in turn helped shed some light on what felt like a long and dark tunnel. By sharing our stories, we assert that it is ok to have moments of weakness, it is ok for our plans to detour and it is ok to need a moment to breathe. It is ok.
The NICU is a difficult place to be. There are so many challenges my tiny baby faces, and there is very little that I can do. But there are also highs. Access to the region’s best neonatology care. A doctor I love and trust. The first time I was allowed Skin to Skin. The first time pumping worked. The first time I saw Mo’s eyes open. Every time I hear his cry. Small little things to hold on to. These little things keep me positive and strong. It’s going to be a long wait, but it will be worth it. I’ve created a nice schedule that will help me stay sane over the next few weeks. And then, inshallah, he will be ready to come out and meet you all! From what I know so far, Baby Mo is going to be a handful, so I hope you’re all ready for our boutique to get a little noisier and a little rowdier when he comes home ☺️
My little, tiny fighter. As fierce as he is small ?
Yesterday one of my dearest friends said to me “let go and let God”. Today I will let go, and I will let God. ?

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