I thought I should properly introduce the newest member of my family, and the one who is the basis of most of my inspiration and reviews… my “Little” Monkey
Monkey was born last July.  My pregnancy was pretty normal up to 32 weeks.  A little nausea, some smell aversions but nothing out of the ordinary.  I was working out at the gym once a week and walking about 2.5 km a day as part of my commute.  May, June and the beginning of July were packed with all sorts of family events, weddings and gatherings with friends.  I was going to use the end of July and August to prepare for the baby… so I thought.
NICU
Monkey 2 hours after birth – on CPAP
When I was 32 weeks pregnant I was at work on a Thursday, went out for dinner with coworkers after work, and Monkey was born less than 12 hours later!!!  Everything happened very quickly, when I got home on the Thursday night I noticed I was losing some fluid.  After a call to the midwife we headed to the hospital to check things out, it turns out that I had Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM) = my water broke.  My labour was a little slow to start, but once it did Monkey did not want to wait to meet the world. 
All of a sudden the way we *thought* everything was going to happen – Having a baby in September, delivering with a midwife – changed and it was SCARY.  Our care was transferred to the OB on call, I received a steroid shot to try to help Monkey’s lungs mature faster.  This was the most terrifying time of my life, I remember saying to JAM “It is too soon, it is too soon…”.   We spoke to a pediatrician before I delivered who helped outline what to expect for a baby born at 32 weeks, not that I was really listening as I was in active labour at that point!  Normally I am very good a asking lots of questions, but in this instance I could not think of a single one.
I arrived at the hospital around 2am, was not officially admitted to the hospital until 8am and Monkey was born at 10:01am, not a lot of time to process the fact that we were about to be the parents of a preemie, or a “32 weeker” as he would soon be known. 
NICU
Monkey 12 hours after birth – on the ventilator
Monkey was 4lbs 12 oz and for being 2 months early was a great size by all accounts.  Little did I know then that the labour and delivery were the “easy” parts of our journey, as our NICU adventure was just beginning.  As any NICU parents will tell you the whole experience is a roller coaster, two steps forward one step back… repeat.  We did get to see Monkey for a quick minute after he was born before they took him to the NICU, he looked so tiny, but so perfect at the same time.  Monkey was initially placed on CPAP to help him breath, and then on a ventilator so that he could get a dose of surfactant.  After about 18 hours he was off all of the machines and was breathing on his own, which was amazing.
NICU
Getting to hold Monkey for the first time
I was able to stay in the hospital for 1 night, and then was discharged.  They have rooms in the NICU where parents can stay, but they are reserved for mothers who are nursing, and at 32 weeks Monkey was not able to nurse (generally babies do not develop the sucking reflex until they are about 34 weeks gestation).  Leaving Monkey in the hospital was the hardest thing I have ever done, you are leaving a part of yourself behind and it HURTS like nothing else I have ever experienced.  I spent many car rides crying all the way home during our NICU stay.
Eeek I didn’t think this would be so long… so I will continue on Part 2 tomorrow!

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