Wednesday, February 26, 2014

3 Month Evaluation and Pictures

We took Grace for her 3 month evaluation at Children's hospital two weeks ago (if you wonder I back-dated this post). What a strange feeling to drive that familiar path again. So many memories come flooding back and looking at Gracie today I can hardly believe all that happened.

I am including 3 month pictures that I didn't have edited when I posted her last update. My Mom bought the bunny in the picture at the hospital this time. We would visit the gift shop on occasion when Grace was there and always were drawn to the super soft fluffy bunny. I wish I would have bought it earlier to take pictures with but now is better than never.

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Our visit was much like an ordinary well-baby visit with maybe a few more observations.

When we arrived Grace was asleep and I knew once she woke she'd be hungry. The doctor said not to worry she was usually able distract baby enough to get the info she needed. Grace woke, stretched and gave the doctor a sweet smile. But as soon as she was put down her screaming began. And each time the doctor picked her up she was content. I wish I would have had chance to feed her before the appointment as she wasn't exactly at her best. But I fed her while we talked and the doctor did get one more smile from her.

I didn't realize it but being that Grace was premature her age is adjusted and she isn't compared with a normal 3 month old. So based on that she is in the 85th percentile for weight, height, and head circumference.
13.5 pounds (7.5 at birth)
23 inches (19 in at birth)

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Grace is developmentally on track as far as the doctor could see at this stage. The only things she observed is that we should work with Grace on being on her belly. She definitely does not enjoy that position but then I didn't think many babies do. The other thing was that when Grace makes a fist to make sure her thumb is out instead of tucked as she does. That will help with grasping. If you look at the previous post where Grace is grasping for her toys she has her thumbs tucked. That is something I never took notice of and it makes me wonder at what age a baby typically un-tucks the thumb.

The highlight of our day was having Dr. Scott paged to come and see Grace. He was the doctor on-call when Grace came to Children's from St. Joseph's the Sunday we will never forget. We are forever grateful that he was there taking care of our precious girl along with all of the wonderful staff we worked with. He said this is his favorite part of the job. Seeing growing and healthy babies.

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Grace starting early with her roundhouse kick. :) 

Friday, February 14, 2014

3 Months

Three months old already! Amazing how quickly life can change in those few months. Thankful that our God doesn't change and is still on the throne and is in control!

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Grace you are doing well and are progressing as normal as far as I can tell. I love those sweet forehead wrinkles and your big eyes.

You now weigh 12.5 lbs. and have moved up to size 2 diapers since you leak too often with size 1. Clothes size varies but usually 3-6 months with some 6-9. You are filling out and getting a few rolls and chub in your cheeks. I guess the newborn days are behind us now.

Your personality is more demanding. You are not very content and can go from happy and laughing to screaming within a matter of seconds. So when you are hungry, there is no waiting. You are not an "easy baby" as people often ask but that's okay. It can't always be smooth sailing.

We now have you sleeping on your belly. Yes we know all about the "back to sleep" campaign but our babies sleep much more soundly on their bellies. And you can lift your head up and move from side to side to breathe just fine. All that to say you are sleeping better. At night you consistently sleep 5 hours which technically means through the night. So to bed by 11 p.m. waking around 4 a.m. I have always found that not letting my babies fall asleep during the day while nursing helps distinguish between night and day as at night you do fall asleep while nursing and then go to bed. Daytime napping is mainly frequent catnaps at this point.

For some reason you do not like to go shopping. I have no idea why but almost every time I walk into a store with you you give it maybe 5 minutes and then proceed to scream. It doesn't matter if you are in a car seat, in a carrier in front of me, or being held in my arms. One trip to Target I had to leave and go back later that day but you still screamed. Crazy! And people do not want to hear a crying baby let me tell you. I feel as if I am a first time Mom the looks and sometimes comments I get. Typically you are gassy which causes your screaming but why it happens consistently in stores is beyond me. Could you try to give me at least 20 minutes? Haha!

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You smile so much more these days which makes the rough patches all the more tolerable. And we love how your face lights up from ear to ear when we "talk" with you. You can't see it in these picture but you have a bit of a dimple in your right cheek which is just like your brother "Pete". Which made me look closely and realize that while they are identical "Re-Pete" does not have that same dimple.

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We are borrowing a swing from Aunt Sara and you tolerate it but you let us know when you've had enough. And the same is true for the bouncy seat. But you have started to notice the toys hanging on your bouncy seat and are starting to grab for them and just as you turned 3 months could also grasp hold.

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You love to be held and our arms is your favorite place to be. Your favorite position these days is a football hold across our arms. I only wish I had nothing else to do and could sit and enjoy you all day long. These days are flying by so fast already and I am having a hard time with that.

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

2 Months

Our little GEM was 2 months old on the 1st of this new year! Every milestone causes us to reflect back and be ever so grateful.

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Little girl, you are growing and are up to 10.5 pounds and with my quick measuring around 22 inches long. (But since I didn't post this right away you are now up to 11.5 pounds). We used up the last newborn diapers which were getting quite tight but I didn't want to waste them so you are now in a size 1. And no more newborn clothes either. Even some of the 0-3 month size is a bit long at times.

I am still waiting for you to form a more consistent routine and I suppose I need to stop comparing you to the rest of your siblings in that regard. You still eat every 3 hours give or take and you enjoy taking your time. Napping is very sporadic with very few long periods of rest. You seem to wake often with gas, which seems to be the norm for most of our babies. At night my goal is to last feed you around 10:30 p.m. then you go down for the night. It varies as to when you wake but often by 2 a.m. then again at 6 a.m. which is really good. I still am totally out of it during the 2 a.m. feeding. I tried to stay awake by playing on my phone but yet I wake and my phone is next to me as if it fell out of my hand. I guess I am tired.

This is probably a "no no" but you sleep in the pack 'n' play with a boppy pillow propping you up. It started because your nose often sounds snuffly and you seem to be more content that way. But now you don't like to lay flat at all. We have a folded blanket supporting you and I imagine you feel more secure surrounded. You still are sleeping next to our bed so no worries.

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Unfortunately, your fussiness has increased  and as a typical baby it gets worse before it gets better. We started you on one of my favorite finds with Zippy which is Colic Calm to soothe your tummy trouble. Of course Zippy decided to dump the entire bottle out on our bed (contains black activated charcoal -- lovely) so we had to buy more. But really I need to get you back on probiotics to get to the root of the problem.

As always your Daddy has the magic touch when it comes to calming you. He scrunches up your legs so you are in a little ball against his chest while patting your back and whispering calming words in your ear. So sweet! He does not like to see you with any discomfort and is quick to take you back from anyone holding you who isn't able to calm you.

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Your smiles are increasing gradually but I have yet to capture one on camera. You are making new sounds each day and even your brother Zippy noticed and told me that you say "nnn-ga"

Children's hospital called to get you started in the follow-up program which means you will have an evaluation every six months beginning next month.

We enjoyed your first Christmas but you weren't exactly thrilled. It seems you really enjoy being at home best of all.

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Sisters <3

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We are so thankful and delighted to have you as part of our family Gracie!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

6 Weeks - brief update

I began my blog basically as a journal for myself and to share with family members and it fluctuates in the frequency of how often I post. Last month with all that happened with Grace I had the time and enjoyed daily updates. Lately, my time to write is minimal and I do miss it. There are so many things I do not want to forget. It seems baby Grace is changing each day and it will be a blink of an eye and she will be a toddler and on it goes. Kind of a sad thought at times but that is how life is.

The question everyone asks is if Grace is gaining weight and yes, she is. A friend loaned me her baby scale and we have been doing weekly weight checks which is so nice to do from the comfort of home. At 5 weeks she was 8# 8 oz. (about the size of many of mine at birth) and at 6 weeks she is 9# 8 oz. although this time with a onesie and diaper on. I hear comments that she looks so little but you know, babies are little and I adore that. It is so hard to remember seeing how fast they grow that it can seem our other children were never as small.

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As for sleep and eating it varies from day to day. She basically is eating every 3 hours and in that time period also has a time of sleep. Her awake times are increasing, especially in the morning and we enjoy seeing her bright eyes. At night it also varies. One night she gave us 5 hours of sleep so that John checked on her to make sure all was well. We also would do much better if I didn't fall asleep so often when feeding her. Oh the feeling of waking an hour later with a baby still in your arms wondering just exactly if you actually did feed her.

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I am having photographic fun with Grace. I love taking pictures of newborns and while I have had quite a few babies, my skills and camera quality have improved with time. I have so many ideas floating around in my head and I wish I had time to try them all. It is true that a newborn in the first couple of weeks is easiest to photograph as lately, Miss Grace isn't quite as cooperative. She is adorable even with her scrunched up crying face.

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I am working on her birth announcement to include with thank you notes, which I had hoped would be done already. With Zippy I had his ready before he was born and all I needed to add was the picture and print. Of course, we were thrown a curve ball this time. Here is one of my favorite ideas with lights for a backdrop which I will try again with her Christmas dress. Such fun!

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Our GEM is 1 month

Grace, you are 1 month old! Strange to say it as to me it feels like you are only two weeks old, the same amount of time that you have been home. My due date for you was on Dec. 3rd, just yesterday.

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I looked back at when Zippy was your age and I notice a few differences, although I also see that you look very similar to him. First of all, you haven't really gained much from your birth weight. Of course, that is kind of hard to do when you weren't fed for the first 8 days of your life and then only gradually. I need to take you in for a weight check to find out for sure. Nowadays you are a hungry little girl and have definitely gotten the hang of this whole eating process and are certainly impatient when you are hungry. You eat about every 3 hours, except during the night from time to time you like to mix things up and wake every two.

You aren't the best at sleeping yet, especially during the night, but if you are like the rest of your siblings you'll catch onto that. In the meantime your Mommy and Daddy are exhausted but that's a small price to pay for the delight that you are to us. It seems as soon as you are no longer in someone's arms you give it 5 minutes and wake up. And you aren't lacking in arms that want to hold and rock you. Here you are in Opa's arms.

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You like best to be held upright kind of curled up in a ball. And Daddy is the best at this hold and calming you down when you scream. He always has had that magic touch and I am so thankful for that, especially in the middle of the night. We wonder if you are going to be colicky like two of your brothers were but so far your screaming doesn't go on for too long.

We have found that when you cry, even for a few minutes you get worn out quickly. This seems to be a lingering effect from your pulmonary hypertension. I am again amazed at how far you have come Gracie as you look as if you'd never been sick. I was reading an article about Dr. Konduri, who worked with you at Children's hospital and when talking about his research said, "Watching a baby who has recovered from a life threatening illness rest comfortably on a parent's shoulder before going home makes all the effort worthwhile." And I realize again how sick you really were.

You are my only single baby to wear newborn clothes this long but they fit you perfectly and 0-3 is still a bit long and loose. You also still fit in newborn diapers. Which makes me wonder why it is that they don't seem to sell newborn diapers in a large box as they do other sizes. You do not like to have your diaper changed and scream each time. Your siblings don't understand what the big deal is.

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You are starting to be more alert and looking around at your surroundings. And just last night you focused in on Daddy's face when he was talking to you. I love when the eyes register a bit of recognition.

I am starting to hear cooing sounds from you and your head is quite strong as you lift it off my shoulder to look around.

You are so beautiful Gracie and everyone we meet comments on what a beautiful baby you are. Our Thanksgiving this year with you was even more meaningful for us.

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Psalm 126:3
The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

39 Weeks

Today I would have been 39 weeks pregnant with a scheduled c-section for 8 a.m. How strange the turn of events to totally change that plan. So much for a calm and "relaxed" delivery. John and I were talking yesterday and it seems that I have almost totally missed the month of November. I remember shopping on the 31st of October getting ready for a birthday party for Missy and Seppy the next day. Little did I know what lay ahead and the month sped by while we watched and waited for our miracle baby to come home.

Our precious "GEM" has been home a week today and we are all adjusting well to having her home. The kids go on as if nothing is out of the ordinary. They are loving all of the meals so many generous people have brought for us. In fact they dread the day when I am cooking again, simply because that means it is back to sandwiches for lunch rather than all of the yummy leftovers. Zippy hasn't really struggled with a new baby most likely due in part to the fact that it means he has his parents home and a routine again. He still fights taking a nap and going to sleep at night but is screaming much less. And he loves "Bay (baby) Grace"

I am more worn out and sore and it feels like I am going in reverse with the healing process but then I suppose I am getting less sleep and carrying a baby around now rather than sitting around in a hospital.

John is back in the swing of things at work and went back to his basketball mornings and tae-kwon-do evenings with the kids. He was hobbling around here the past day or so being sore from lack of movement the past weeks.

Grace has long tiny fingers.

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Gracie is never at a loss for arms to hold and cuddle her and so when put down she often wakes. She is eating good although I am having to wake her at times during the day to make sure she does otherwise I find her waking every two hours at night. But when she is ready to eat there is no mistaking it and she becomes very impatient and loud.

My Grandma was able to enjoy Grace. She couldn't believe someone so tiny could have all of those tubes and such attached to her. And she was even a big baby for the NICU.

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I took Grace to our family doctor for a follow-up visit after two days home. It was unlike any well-baby checks as I felt I didn't really know my baby. The nurse would ask questions and I had to say that I didn't know the answer and had only been told by others that yes, she followed noises with her eyes, etc. It hit me again that it was the nurses in the NICU who knew her and I had been on the outside looking in. But yet so thankful for those caring nurses who loved and cared for our girl.

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I am so thankful that in no time at all I know my Gracie. She is such a gift and as I wake in the night with her I try to forget my weariness and thank the Lord who has given me the privilege of cradling a sweet babe in my arms each night. Oh the joy! Simply nothing else like it.

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So Blessed!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Life Goes On

I am going to go back to nicknames for my children. Look at my sidebar if you want to see who I am talking about.

Last night I was reminded of exactly what having a new baby entails. Over the past two weeks I thought I was tired out and I was in a sense but honestly I got so much rest during that time and it was a good and needed thing. Being my 8th baby I thought I would have remembered the exhausted feeling the minute you wake in the morning. Although, Grace was wonderful and kept to her every 3 hours, I just wasn't used to it. The nice thing about pregnancy is that in the final months you end up waking in the night numerous times and it kind of prepares you for getting up with a baby. My time of rest threw that off.

Today has been interesting. It is the first day all of us have been home an entire day. A day to try and get back into a routine, especially for Zippy. He has been without a nap way too many days and today when I had George put him down (I can't lift him for 6 weeks) he screamed. I was patient in the beginning and tried to work him through it but it ended up he was disobeying and it was a seemingly endless battle. I had to take a break and was crying in frustration but remembered a verse I kept reciting to myself while in the hospital with Grace. This may be a small in comparison to our trial with Grace but I still need to bring my burdens to the Lord, the only place my help will come from. He is my refuge and strength. Zippy did eventually exhaust himself to sleep.

Here he is happy wanting to be swaddled like "Baby Grace"

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Grace is catching on to breastfeeding much better today. She had gotten used to the bottle and would wait for the milk to pour into her mouth. She does choke with the amount of milk but I am used to that as a few of my babies have done the same so I have to keep taking her off and restarting. When it happens I hear the alarms go off in my mind as at the hospital when she did that it registered as her stopping breathing and a couple nurses would come running to check what happened. Today, it was just the two of us and blissfully no alarms.

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The kids are all enamored with their little sister. So far they have been good about taking turns holding her. Each time Gracie is in her bed I find Tank sitting next to her. He told me that he doesn't want her to feel alone and if she opens her eyes at all he comforts her. So sweet! (I need to get a picture of that).

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John is back to work as normal and was very busy today. I am finding how much I miss him. We had kind of a continuous date going down to Milwaukee almost every day together. We needed that too. Granted, I wouldn't choose that way to have times alone together but none-the-less, it was good.

And life moves on.

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