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The Prequel: AYK

September 28, 2011

April 19, 2011

It has been three months and two weeks since my last post.

My life is completely different.

I am so in love.

Our little baby, AYK, was born on Thursday, February 3, 2011 through induction. I had an amazing labor and delivery, and pushed for 50 minutes. I will forever be thankful to Dr. M and my nurse, Carol, for such a positive experience.

So much has happened in the last three months and, again, I find myself shaking my head for not having chronicled it. I don’t want to forget any of it, even the parts where I felt completely defeated.

I will never forget the first moment I saw our little love (LL) as I pushed her out of my body and Dr. M swooped her up. Her mouth was open wide as she wailed, and her eyes and fists were clenched tight. She was born 7lbs 8 ounches, and measured 20 inches with an apgar score of 9.

My absolute hands down favorite moment of the day was when Y was leaning over LL in her bassinet as she lay under the warmer and he looked up at me. I will never forget the look in his eyes. We became a family of three in that moment. I tear up every time I think of it.

The first six weeks were the toughest I’ve experienced in my life. LL spent six days in the hospital, four of which were in the NICU (from Saturday to Tuesday) as she was treated for a fever and for her jaundice. My heart breaks when I look back and realize what a terrifying experience that must have been for her. At the time, I was so frazzled from everything and so worried about her health, that it didn’t really sink in how she must have been feeling. I wish I could go back and do things differently. I would make sure either Y or I was there with her at every moment. I would hold her more and sing to her and cover her in my kisses. I would console her and calm her. I would tell her she is my baby and whisper that everything was going to be okay. I was a new mom. I followed instructions and did what I thought was right, but now I know that it wasn’t enough. I’m sorry LL. I hope you know how much mommy loves you, and that she is learning and will do her best to be a better mom every day.

After her discharge, we brought LL home and it seemed like the wails we heard as she left my body didn’t stop for six weeks. She barely slept and always craved being held. We struggled with breastfeeding and sought help in any way we could. We met with lactation consultants, postpartum doulas, had a sanoojori, etc. In the end, it was a minute by minute effort to learn our daughter. I remember feeling so confused when I heard other moms talk about how the first few months were boring because all the baby did was sleep. Sleep?? You mean cry, don’t you? It seemed all LL did was cry. And cry. And then cry some more.

I struggled to accept being a mother during those weeks. I felt that I couldn’t be a true mother, if I couldn’t console my baby. What kind of mother was I? Every moment felt draining, and I moved through a fog of exhaustion. I remember sitting at the table eating dinner, with no appetite, and feeling each bite bump its way down my throat and sink into my belly. I was so tense and anxious, knowing that her cries would start again at any moment. I remember the day we went to visit my sister and oppa in the hospital when M was born (our precious M!). Y and I took turns driving AYK around, while we each slipped into the hospital for a quick few minutes to meet our little niece. That day, AYK basically cried from 8am-7pm with only a few breaks in between. Even in the car, she would quiet down when we drove but wail as soon as we hit the brakes for a stop sign or traffic light. I prayed constantly for relief and rescue. I was so angry at God. What was wrong with our little girl? What was bothering her? Why would He let an innocent baby suffer like this? Why was He doing this to us? Yet, I also distinctly remember thinking that God loved this child even more than we did, so maybe it wasn’t as simple as that. Still, it killed me that I didn’t know the cause of LL’s constant distress, and that the only reasoning the doctor gave was colic.

“It’ll pass on its own in due time.”

“How long, how long does it usually last for?”

“Usually the colic goes away by the baby’s third month.”

“Is there anything I can do in the meantime?”

“As long as she is pooping and peeing enough, and doesn’t have a fever, you just have to wait it out.”

I feel so deeply for all the mothers out there who have had this same conversation. When you are living with your baby and he or she won’t stop crying for hours and hours, despite all your efforts, all your husband’s efforts, all the efforts of the family around you…well, being told to wait three months is an impossibility. It’s like being tortured and being told it should be over in three months. At that moment, you don’t know if you’ll be able to survive three months.

We tried everything. Colic Calm, gripe water, Happiest Baby on the Block, holding her to sleep, Mylicon, etc. I spoke multiple times with multiple lactation consults, since LL was also struggling with breastfeeding. Five minutes of breastfeeding became the norm for her (and still is today), and her feedings will sometimes even only last 2-3 minutes. And yet, at two months, she was in the 75th percentile for weight, 70th for height, and 45-50th for head circumference. I don’t know how it happened, but I am so thankful for our healthy little girl.

Luckily, after her sixth week, her colic seemed to turn a corner and we began to see changes in her behavior. By her eighth week, LL had really become a much happier and more comfortable baby. She still struggles with breastfeeding, and often ends her feedings crying, but is otherwise doing so much better. She loves to look up at me and coo away, babbling about this and that. I am certain she recognizes her daddy and me and her smiles fill my heart. I love our little bunny so much, words can not describe. She is such a beautiful, precious, lovable girl and she brings such delight to our lives.

This week, I began to realize that my baby is really growing up so fast. She will be three months old in a week and a few days. Before I know it, she will be four months, then five, then six…and then a year! I want to savor each moment, before it slips away. So hopefully I will find the time to keep this site updated more frequently. I hope to share it with LL someday, so she knows how very loved she is and has always been.

For now, I want to end this by jotting down some of the many things I love about LL:
– The way she twitches her nose like a bunny sometimes
– The round shape of her head, the soft white glow of her cheeks, and the bright darkness of her eyes as she lays across my lap and looks up to talk to me
– The little noises she makes and her soft breath when she falls asleep while I hold her up against me, with her head lying on my shoulder
– The way she used to purse her lips all the time when she was little…I don’t know when she stopped doing that (she does it only rarely now) but I miss it!
– The way she recently (around her 10th week or so) started keeping both her legs lifted during diaper changes, almost as though to help us (but umma says it’s because she likes the way the breeze feels against her bare bum – so cute and hilarious!
– The way she will be yakking away, but stop as soon as I hold my iphone up to record her. She just stares at the camera silently and refuses to make a peep!
– The way sometimes when she nurses, she will open her mouth really wide to latch on, wrinkling her little nose with her efforts, but then it will amount to nothing and she will just slowly pull away without nursing at all. Well, this drives me nuts since it’s such a struggle to get her to eat, but it’s also adorable to see.
– Her smile, her smile, her smile. Her beautiful eyes.

We are so, so, so, BLESSED to call LL our own. Thank you, Father, for choosing us for LL. Lord, teach us to be the best parents we can be for our precious, sensitive, adorable, lovable, special delight of a daughter. Lord, may we lean on You every step, and may we be wise in the choices we make as parents. May we turn to You for counsel and for guidance, and always remember that LL belongs to you first. Thank you, Lord, for your abundant love and for blessing us with this child, our little love.

I could really go on and on for hours, just thinking about AYK. But if I do, this mama will be extra tired tomorrow and that won’t do anyone any good so I’ll end this for now. Note to self: Write more, take more pictures!!

Okey, that is all folks. Good night!

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