Sunday, June 28, 2009

Daddy Daycare

The first week of Mia's life was not exactly what we expected, but some really good things came out of those stress filled days. One benefit of spending seven nights in a tiny hospital room was that the three of us were rarely apart. That helped us bond in a way that may not have happened otherwise. As a father looking back, I'm thankful for that outcome. During Mia's first week Megan was in no position, apart from feeding, to be very active. I spent many days and nights with Mia, tracking down nurses, and accompanying the little girl to blood draws. Time we affectionately called "Daddy Daycare".

Now that Megan is back on her feet and I'm back at work, the hours of "Daddy Daycare" are more limited. But occasionally Megan will venture out and leave me at home with the little princess. Mia clearly has lots of fun hanging out with Dad. She can name every player in the Rays starting lineup and cheered on the US men's national (soccer) team with me in the Confederation Cup. We also make time for staring at ceiling fans, perfecting her smile, and burping competitions.

The other day Megan left the two of us at home while she ran out. Mia was playing in her bouncy seat not making a sound (except for her usual squeaks). From where I was sitting her face was hidden. After a while I got up to check on her and came across this:

Oops. Oh well, "Daddy Daycare" is still the best.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"I'm a talker!"

Way before Mia was born, I had 2 different dreams about Mia being able to talk.

The earlier dream took place the day Mia was born. She was being held by someone else, but she turned around and looked at me and said, "I'm a talker!" really enthusiastically. I thought...that's cool. Of course, dreams are often a mix of reality and illusion/fantasy, so the fact that a newborn was so vocal didn't really faze me. I just liked the heads-up about her loquacity.

In the other dream, Mia came early--at 30 weeks--and was okay healthwise, and she was already at home from the birth. But the panic was of course I didn't have any furniture or barely any supplies for her. So I didn't know where to put her at night that my cat wouldn't try to sleep next to her so I was trying to find drawers or stable places to prepare a little soft padded spot for her. And before I found her a sleeping spot, she was reading aloud the information off the side of a bottle. Like, "100% all natural, fresh ingredients." Greg & I were very impressed with this very smart young one. Of course she tuckered herself out from reading so she fell asleep mid sentence.

Well, she may not be talking in full sentences or reading nutrition information off of food labels, but, she's starting to find her voice! Hang in there, it starts to perk up around the 30-sec spot!

Mia Talks from Megan Ciampa on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A new meaning to the feeling "torn" & new adventures

As parents for just these 7 weeks, we've left Mia on her own with friend/family supervision more than a few times. Prior to this past weekend, most of these occasions were by necessity and not by choice.

However, this past weekend we were invited to a wedding for a former colleague of mine. This would mean getting to see several of the people with whom I worked this past year as well as maybe getting some good food, not to mention witness another marriage being formed! We took advantage of this invite and left Mia in the very capable hands of her aunt & uncle. While we were at the wedding and reception though, I couldn't help but think of Mia again and again, and wondering how she was, and if everything was okay. Here we were, at a wedding, being able to "get out," do something without the baby (isn't this what parents say they dream of?) and instead of being all smiles with my husband, I think my face looked more like this: :-\ Or in other words, "conflicted." I did smile a few times, but this going out thing without the baby isn't what I anticipated.

Aside from going out on our own as parents, Mia and I are becoming just a bit more adventurous in our own outings. Sometimes they have failed miserably and I've just turned the car around and gone home, but other times, thankfully, I've been able to go straight through and complete several errands at the same time. Like yesterday, for instance, we met a friend for brunch at Panera, went through Walgreens drive-thru pharmacy, dropped an overdue DVD off at Blockbuster ("Mamma Mia," how appropriate), quickly strolled through Publix and picked up some necessities, and deposited a check at the bank. Fortunately, all of these places are within 2 miles of our house, which is part of the reason why it was so easy. The other part is, after getting a bottle at Panera and smiling and wiggling around in her seat for a while, she konked out for the rest of the trip! Thank you!

It's the small things now that make each day a success!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Year of Firsts

This past year has been a year of firsts.
In 2008, I got my first job as a bona fide guidance counselor.
We found out we were pregnant.
We bought and moved into our first house.
And in April 2009, we had our first baby!

Mia Elizabeth has been the apple of our eyes since she was born.
She is a beautiful little (and by little, I mean little!) human being already showing little smiles, making lots of little sleep noises and is pretty good at just being cute!

Mia came into the world on a very sunny, peaceful and pleasant Sunday afternoon at a free-standing birth center, delivered by a midwife. Since she was such a small baby (barely hitting 5 lbs), we had to take her to the hospital for evaluation. That hospital check-in late Sunday night turned into a full week's hospital stay, just to monitor her for any potential reasons as to her low birth weight. By the end of the week, we were assured that Mia was just fine and by the following Sunday morning, we could take her home. What a relief!

The next couple of weeks were devoted to learning life with a newborn. We were blessed with lots of help from family and church friends but soon after, faced another hiccup: ME! About 2 weeks after Mia's birthday, I started experiencing significant pain in my leg. After staying pretty immobile for the week to come as I couldn't walk and was feeling quite miserable with an infection, I got in touch with my primary care physician and found out I had a blood clot in my left leg. Hospital visit #2, but this time, for mom!
After being treated for 2 days for the blood clot, a high fever, and an infection, I was able to go home. While I was in the hospital, again, we were spoiled with help from family and friends and my own mom flew back into town to take care of Mia while Greg & I were in the hospital.

Now, it's 3 weeks later and things feel astoundingly different. Taking care of a newborn is so much easier when a) she's healthy, growing and thriving (gained 3 lbs+ in a month!), b) when mom herself feels well! (no more pain in leg, no fevers, infections, etc.) and c) once you start to sense a routine. We are learning a lot as we go along and I can honestly say we are enjoying ourselves. Yes, we are operating with a bit less sleep these days, but no one ever told us otherwise!

Having a baby has changed our perspective on many a things. I sense that as time rolls on, we will start to see more and more of this perspective change unfold. Our priorities are different, our goals, and our hopes for the future. When you're entrusted with raising a cutie so innocent, you can't help but reevaluate who you are and where you're going. And that's another first.