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Sunday, 10 April 2016

Our Happy Little Suns - Reagan , my firstborn son

The purpose of creating this blog is to document the beautiful footprints of our happy sunshine boys and to share our exhilarating parenting journey. I thought I should then dedicate a post to them, introducing my two precious little sunbeams in my life. 

My first sunshine in my life is named Reagan, it means "little king" (he is still ruling  ...). I usually pen him as Rboy in my blog. Rboy is the child that was born too early. At my 28th week of pregnancy, my blood pressure hit over 200, I bled profusely , vomited uncontrollably from the intense pain in my abdomen, followed by a minor seizure attack. The doctor explained that my placenta had detached itself and there was sign of fetal distress. Baby's heartbeat was dropping alarmingly and they had no choice but to remove him from my womb to save his life and mine. Very quickly, I was wheeled into the operating theatre for an emergency c-section under GA. Pre-eclampsia was what they suspected I had, a life threatening pregnancy condition which affects 2-8% of all pregnant women.

My baby boy was delivered with no signs of life. He was neither moving nor breathing. The medical team rushed him to the NICU , trying their best to resuscitate him.

We never forget the doctor's exact words , "He is a miracle baby."

My baby won the first round of battle... which is to stay alive.

(Reagan 's 1st day at the NICU)
Rboy is a 29weeks preemie, weighing 1.2kg, which dropped to only 950grams the day after. 
To witness my baby boy painfully tangled in all these wires and tubes was truly heart-breaking.
His tiny ribs were expanding and contracting in a sickening manner, gasping for every breath in great difficulty...but I was not allow to carry or to comfort my baby. The only thing I can do is to watch, wept...and pray...I never felt so helpless in my life.

The sense of guilt and worry got my anxiety soaring high. The prolonged uncertainty and fear of having a struggling preemie in the NICU is inevitable. I was totally not prepared for this.

The next couple of months was an emotional roller coaster ride for us. A melancholic way to begin our first-time parenthood journey. Although Reagan looks so tiny and fragile, he was a strong warrior and fought hard to overcome all life-threatening medical conditions that came his way. During his two months stay in the NICU, he was diagnosed with lungs infection, bleeding in the brain and a hole in his heart. We can do nothing but to pray, and yes we prayed hard..every minute and every single day.

Miraculously ....he recovered from all of the above conditions. Doctors have no explanation . "Sometimes it just happened. " they said.

Beyond the traumatic experience, came the triumphant. We waited for 59 enduring days before we get to cuddle our precious baby boy back home with us.

I learnt that prematurity can have long term side effects in life. Premature babies who survived are at risk of impaired cognitive skills which includes developmental delays and learning disabilities. Comparing to their full-term counterparts, they also face higher odds of chronic health issues and lower immunity.

Therefore I made the most apparent decision to become a stay-at-home-mom. We had too much lost I just want to bond and spend every minute with my baby. Equipped with an early education background, I wasted no time to bond with my boy, exposed him to lots of sensory play and right-brain stimulation. Rboy was a very calm and quiet baby. His physical/motorskills milestones were lagging behind even after his adjusted age. It was until nearly 2 years old then he learned to walk independently.

On the other hand , we also noticed that Rboy had an astounding attention span and was very keen to learn and explore. He grew very fond of flashcards and attained very strong interest in alphabets and numbers. It was until around the age of 13 months then we found out that he could easily recognise alphabets, including differentiating all upper and lower case letters. He understood numbers and its quantity, as well as most colours and shapes, even the more complex ones like rhombus, sphere, pentagon, octagon ,cylinder etc. The most amazing discovery was that Reagan could recognise and read words at the age of around one year old. It was not easy to pronounce the words very well at his age, but he could sign to us or point correctly at every word we asked for. I tried my best to keep up with his speed of learning by engaging him in more challenging "words play" which he loves so much.

Before he turned 2 years old,  he could identify any random words and able to read , pick up and form sentences.

With no knowledge of phonics, he was still able to "decode" or "breakdown" words and read them accurately. It didn't take long for him to turn into an independent reader by the age of 3. Picking up any children book and reading it by himself became a very easy feat to him. And now, his current favorite stunt is unlocking our cellphones to read our messages , or to log into YouTube to type in the names of the videos that he wants to search for.

(Reagan at 3 years old)

Soon, through the encouragement from one of his teachers, we sent him to a child psychologist who put him through the Stanford-Binet V, an internationally recognised IQ assessment test. We wanted to understand more on his intellectual capabilities and learning, as well as the ways on how we can support him further. The report showed that Reagan scored within the top 1% and was placed under the gifted range. With his IQ report, he was successfully accepted by Mensa at the age of 3.

Rboy has grown to have a character of his own. He has never really been an active child and usually prefers to watch and observe his surroundings, but neither is he a withdrawn boy. He speaks with enthusiasm about things he loves, like trains and railway tracks or his favorite movies that he watched. He also possessed the traits of a perfectionist and has high expectation of himself. This leads to frustrations most of the time though. He has a fear of not getting things done in the perfect way he wants and would then choose not to attempt. It was obvious that he has an issue of facing failure, which is not supposed to happen at this young age. Rboy also prefers the company of older children and adults and often have very few words with kids at his age. Therefore, confidence and social skill are something I like him to improve on.

It's still very amazing to watch our tiny fragile little baby grow into a boy with so much love and personality. Witnessing him once fight for survival in the NICU is an unforgettable memory in this lifetime of ours. This experience also put things into perspective for us as we learned to even more cherish the value of life. We are always reminded of the heartache we felt in our journey to be with him, which made our heart filled with so much gratitude. We are so blessed to have our Rboy, our beautiful bundle of joy. 

Please hop on to the next entry here on my second baby sunshine, BabyK .

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