It was now the New Year and I had so much to be grateful for.

My baby girl was loving life at home and was healthier than ever.

She also had a new best friend: our dog Rio.

They loved having naps together. “Sisters”.

Life at home definitely agreed with us all.

I was getting used to life with the night time caregivers. Baby girl was happy and growing.

Of course I still had my moments when I would get a bit overwhelmed by worrying thoughts…

Was the caregiver awake?
Was she watching baby girl every second?
Was baby girl alright?

And there were also times when my biggest fears would also pay me an unwanted visit…

Would my baby girl ever be without oxygen?
Would she ever be free of the tracheotomy?
Would she be able to have a voice someday?
When? When? When?

I had learned that the best way to deal with these fearful thoughts was to acknowledge them and then let them go.

I couldn’t let them linger at all because if I did they made me feel scared, helpless and sad. I couldn’t allow myself to feel that way because it was not healthy for me or my baby girl.

I also knew that I had to chose positivity and hope above all, always. That had gotten me this far and it would take me all the way, as long as necessary.

Besides, my baby girl was home, happy and healthy.
Gratitude overcame fear every single time.

And things were settling into place at home.

I had developed my at home routine with baby girl, the caregivers and the equipment. Once a week I had to clean and disinfect baby girl’s equipment and tubing.

The only interruptions to our routine were the excessive hospital appointments that the doctors wanted baby girl to have…

They included pediatrician, eye doctor, ENT, lung specialist, speech pathologist, physiotherapist, etc…

The problem with all these appointments was that no only were many of them not necessary, but also that they required us to go to the hospital in the middle of winter, which meant RSV and flu season.

I decided I was not going to simply take her to all the appointments just because this was the general standard.

I met with her main doctor and discussed which were the really necessary appointment that were important for baby girl at this time. Turned out we could actually skip most of them!

Baby girl only needed to be followed up by her pediatrician, ENT and lung specialist at this time. This meant we would only need to go to the hospital every 6 to 8 weeks instead of nearly every week…

It made me wonder how many poor moms and dads take their preemie kids to tons of post discharge appointments without really knowing if they need so many appointments at all.

I was lucky to be able to speak up and question the doctors decisions. That allowed me to get more specific information related to my baby girl rather than a general “this is what we always do” approach.

By now I had gained enough confidence in my own instinct to know when to follow the doctor’s orders and when to questions them or challenge them.

I felt that my instinct was my most valuable strength when it came to advocating for my baby girl.

And it was my instinct that let me know that my baby girl was ready to start eating solids.

Baby girl was still breastfeeding and I was now going to introduce purees. I was so excited to feed her!

I had her new high chair and the Baby Bullet. I started making her purees with my Baby Bullet, it was fantastic. I could make a large batch and freeze it.

I started with quinoa pureed with banana, wheat germ and coconut milk.

She loved it!

She started eating right away without any issues. She loved food!

I was so proud of her. She had come such a long way.

I continued to make all of her food at home because I could chose the combination of flavors and ingredients myself, and this was healthy for baby girl.

She quickly started eating lentils, broccoli, kale, brown rice, chicken, turkey, steak and greek yogurt among other things. Always pureed for now as she was just starting out.

She was a great eater and would get very happy at meal time. She was definitely a foodie!

I was grateful as this would make it a lot easier for her to grow and put on weight, which is always a challenge with preemie babies.

I felt so thankful. I felt that I had gotten a break on this. She was breastfeeding on demand and now eating solids without any issues whatsoever.

After so many struggles with other things, I felt truly lucky that I didn’t have to struggle with her eating.

I was very aware of how fortunate it was that baby girl was able to eat orally. Most trached babies needed a G-tube – gastric feeding tube.

My baby girl was one of the lucky exceptions.

I knew how special it was to be able to experience being able to feed her and watch her enjoy the food I had made for her.

In a sea of uncertainty, I had learned to appreciate the simple and often most important things.

Like the first time she played with her toys at home.
Or the first time she sat in her high chair.
Or the first time she had pureed food.

It was these simple yet mighty moments in our journey together that gave me infinite joy.

I cherished every single one of these precious moments with my baby girl.

Not a fear in sight.

It was all about the love.

Food love.

Baby love.