(block insert - Dear baby. Even before I knew you...I cared about you!)
(circle insert - I've always wanted to be a mom. Your grandma told me the best stories about being pregnant. So I wanted to make this special album about you.)
When we decided to have a baby When we decided to have a baby, I visited my doctor to make sure I was healthy. The healthier I was, the better it would be for both of us. I made certain my weight was right for me. Pregnant women who are overweight risk getting high blood pressure or high blood sugar (gestational diabetes), which can be a serious problems. I cut back on sweets and fatty foods and ate more fruits and vegetables. When it came time to party, I picked fruit juice. I knew there was no safe amount of alcohol to drink. Beer, wine, wine coolers and liquor can all cause birth defects or mental retardation in the baby. It wasn’t easy, but I stopped smoking too. Smoking can make it harder to get pregnant or cause a miscarriage. Secondhand smoke is harmful too, so I told my friends not to smoke near me.
You'd be proud of me!
I took a multivitamin with folic acid every day BEFORE I got pregnant to lower the risk of some birth defects. I also ate green leafy vegetables and fortified bread and pasta that were high in folic acid.[Page two]
(circle insert - Let's hope you get your dad's smile.)
There was so much to think about and learn. Your dad talked to Aunt CeCe and I talked to Grandma about our family histories. I knew that lots of traits could be passed on to you. Not just things like Aunt CeCe's twinkly eyes and Grandma's laugh, but also family diseases like sickle cell and diabetes. We wanted to give you a good start in life, so we talked to our family and we got tested.
Your dad was so excited when he heard the news. He came with me to the clinic as soon as I took the home test. Even though you are not our first baby, we read a lot about childbirth. Some information had changed over the years.
When my belly started to bulge, your dad was so sweet. He always asked me how I was feeling and took good care of me. It felt great to have his support.
We even took a childbirth class to get updated and help us get ready.
Dad practiced changing diapers again. Styles are always changing!
I met lots of other pregnant women who had the same feelings I did. Some really did crave pickles and ice cream!
It was important to help you grow. So I tried to eat well, with low-fat milk and cheese, lean meats, more fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Having a small baby wouldn't make my delivery and easier. Small babies often have trouble breathing and lots of long-term health problems.
I went to every prenatal visit so that you and I stayed healthy before you were born. I asked my doctor lots of questions. He was so helpful and made me feel at ease. I didn't take any drugs or medicine unless the doctor told me to take them. I even asked about taking over-the-counter medicines.
It was a challenge, but I stayed off cigarettes and alcohol completely. Because whatever I used, you shared. I also kept away from secondhand smoke so you would be healthier. I even asked my friends and co-workers not to smoke around me. Your Grandpa only smoked outside when he visited.
I never knew I liked spinach and black beans until I was pregnant. Maybe that's because you like them?
There was so much to think about, not just the colors for your room. (check mark) Got car seat. (check mark) Made sure your room and crib were safe for you to sleep in. (check mark) Checked the stroller wheels were sturdy.
(check mark) We put a thermometer in your room to make sure the temperature stayed between 68 and 75 degrees to help lower the risk of SIDS.
We used this chart to make (check mark) sure your crib was safe.
(Diagram of a crib with the following notes: Safe - corner posts less than 1/16 inch above panel; Caution - protruding corner posts; Caution - cut-out at top of headboard; Safe - secured mattress support hangars; Safe - proper slat spacing (2 3/8 inches); Caution - broken slat)
We wanted you, but not before you were due. The doctor said you were growing on schedule and I was taking good care of both of us.
Being African American, I was at a higher risk for going into early (preterm) labor. That's why I memorized the warning signs and kept my doctor's number handy.
Preterm labor is labor three or more weeks before your due date.
(circle inset - We had our ultrasound today and it looks like a girl! How exciting!)
Tip: While resting, drink two or three glasses or water or juice. Many time the signs of preterm labor will go away.
If the signs of preterm labor are still present after 1 hour, call your doctor or clinic.
(circle insert - We had so much fun at the baby shower playing those silly games)
So many people have helped us get ready for you. What would i have done without Grandma and friends to help me through the tough times?
Aunt CeCe and your dad took turns driving me to prenatal appointments. They knew it was important to keep my regular checkups. We wanted to keep a close watch on how you were growing.
My friend, Chauna, was pregnant at the same time so we went through everything together. We walked almost every day. The regular exercise made us feel better and stronger, and helped control our weight.
Just before my due date, everyone threw us a baby shower.
A full-term pregnancy is 37 to 42 weeks.
(insert - The goal was to make it to 40 weeks!)
(circle insert - Your dad was so nervous. He drove to the hospital to see how long it would take to get there.)
(insert - Everyone was so excited to hold you! Because I took care of myself, the delivery went well! You were a healthy 7.5 pound baby and 20 inches long.)
We wanted to keep you safe when you slept. Dad agreed not to nap on the sofa with you. You and I snuggled in bed while breastfeeding; and then you went back to your own crib to sleep.
I learned during one of my prenatal classes that breastfeeding would help you be healthier. Breast milk digests easily, and it's free. Plus, no bottles to wash or formula to buy. That convinced me to give it a try. We had to work at it, but we figured it out!
Babies need family, even before they're born. And I found out our family was bigger than I thought. Dad, your big brother, Grandma, Aunt CeCe... were always ready to help.
I even made some new friends. A couple of times when I worried about how you were developing, I called the free NC Family Health Resource Line (1-800-FOR-BABY). I still call there for parenting information.
Our pastor helped us through some stressful times while I was pregnant. We knew we wanted you to grow up in the church. Your baptism was a highlight of your first year!
(insert - Chauna's support was so special because she went through the same things, too! Her little girl was born just a few weeks before you, and just as healthy.)
(insert - Here you are with your godparents. Probably the only time in your life you will keep white clean!)
Our Healthy Baby's Family Album was developed as part of a statewide initiative.
For more information about pregnancy,
prenatal care and parenting call
North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation
North Carolina Public Health
[letter from Dad]
Taking care of you is such a learning experience! We didn't miss one visit to the clinic to get all your check-ups and baby shots. That's where we learned to put you on your "stomach to play and back to sleep" to lower the chance of crib death (SIDS). Grandma used to put her children to sleep on their tummies, but she learned that sleeping on the back is safer for babies. Sometimes you kept us up at night, but the NC Family Health Resource Line gave us some good ideas about how to get you to sleep, soothe you when you're teething, and cope with your fussy times. I've learned to take some time out when I get close to losing my temper over something you just can't help. I take a walk or call a friend to calm down. Your mom and I are taking a parenting class to get us ready to teach you good behavior as you grow. We know if we can be gentle, patient, and sure about what we expect from you, you will feel safe and very loved. Love, Dad
[letter from Grandma]
What's a grandma for if not to help out? When your mom and dad need a break, I'm around to watch over you. That way, I get time with my precious grandchild, and they get time together. I know you can't spoil a little baby; you need to be held and loved just as much as possible. Love,Grandma
[letter from Mom]
Babies need family, even before they're born. Your dad was always there for us. He and Grandma encouraged me to get to my regular check-ups, eat plenty of healthy food, and rest up for having you. Growing families need a lot of support. Your Aunt Mary drove me to all my appointments. She knew how important it was to get regular check-ups, so we could keep a close watch on how you were growing. When your dad and I worried about how we were going to pay all the medical bills, we called the NC Family Health Resource Line (1-800-FOR-BABY). They told us that even though your dad and I were working and had some insurance, I might still be able to get help. There's help for families who are between jobs, too. Our pastor helped us through some stressful times during the pregnancy, when our lives were changing so fast. I took a walk three times a week with my friend, Vanessa. Regular exercise made me feel better and stronger, and helped control my weight.
Our Healthy Baby's Family Album was developed as part of a statewide initiative.
For more information about pregnancy, prenatal care and parenting call the CARE-LINE 1-800-662-7030