What a week it's been. You always hear about the plight of the working mother, how busy they are, the working mother guilt, all that. I never really gave it much thought. Now I can truly appreciate it because I am one. I know it was only the first week, and eventually we'll get into a routine, but this week it seemed like the second I got home from work I was like, sprinting around doing laundry, making bottles, etc. etc. etc. At the end of the week I realized I hadn't read Willow a story once all week! I'm enjoying this relatively chill Saturday morning, wearing Willow in the sling while I update the blog.
The transition has been made SO much smoother by Josh's aunt Jill, who arrived last Saturday. She'll be taking care of Willow for the next month. She's been doing a great job, and on top of it has been cooking for us and helping keep the place clean too. I keep telling her not to spoil us too much or we'll have a hard time adjusting when she leaves. I certainly won't make our paid nanny cook or clean!
I put an ad in the paper for a nanny and have gotten a ton of calls. I've been pre-screening them over the phone and will hopefully bring in the top 5 or so for an in-person interview soon. With such a large pool I hope we can find someone good!
Jill has been around a ton of babies and tells us that Willow is very "easy" in that she is easily soothed and doesn't fuss much. I haven't been around many babies but I suspected that was the case given some of the horror stories I've heard of in books and magazines of babies who cry for hours. She really is pretty laid-back. She pretty much only cries if she's hungry. The pre-bedtime fussing has more or less stopped. If she does fuss at all during the day and it isn't hunger, the sling is a never-fail solution.
Our crazy feeding schedule has been eased up a little-on Wednesday Willow went to the doctor and she said we can scale back on the every 2-and-a-half-hour feedings. What a relief! Now we can let Willow sleep if she's sleeping, but we're not to let her go more than 3.5 hours. It's been a lot easier this way, especially at night. And it's amazing how much better Willow is at eating when she's actually allowed to get hungry! A few times in the last couple days she's chugged down 90 mLs in 15 minutes flat! In other good news, Willow now only has to see the doctor every 2 weeks instead of every week, and her weight is up to 9 pounds, 11.5 ounces. We've never really followed the weight charts at all but since Willow happened to be at the doctor on her 2-month adjusted birthday, I asked how she compares to other 2-month-olds. Turns out she's in the 35th percentile for weight! Of course, she's probably in the 0 percentile of weight for 5-month-olds (which she turned on Sunday).
Josh's sister Janna sent us some great photos from when they were visiting about a month ago. So these are sort of old now (in the life of a 2-month old, a month makes a big difference), but I wanted to post some anyway because they're such beautiful photos.
Sorry all the photos in this post are so small. I was experimenting since there were so many, but once I did it and realized they were too small, it was too much work to go back and change the size.
Last night Willow was in a great mood before bed and I snapped some pictures. She was staring at the black-and-white picture we put in her bed and then I was telling her about glasses and she was very happy with my narrative:
Jill bought us a Willow tree for our yard and Josh put his landscaping skills to use. The rock under the tree says Willow's name on it- my mom made that for her.
Willow has a few different mobiles and she LOVES them. When we reach up to wind up the music box, she always breaks into a smile. Here she is reacting to her Australian mobile from the other auntie Jill. We were joking that she's going to know "emu" and "wombat" before she knows horsey and cow. She also has an antique mobile with circus characters that plays "toy land". She loves that one too.
Here's a cute pic of Willow and my friend Beth before a walk. Yes, the weather really called for hat and mittens. In mid-July.
Scout is still doing a lot of sighing. And pouting. Poor Scouty.
Willow is 21 weeks old today- she'll be 5 months on Sunday!
Josh and I had a marathon day yesterday. Willow had a doctor appointment down at the Marshfield Clininc in Marshfield, WI. Mapquest said it would take 5 hours. I think it would've taken less than that for a car without an infant, but for us it took about 6 hours with having to stop and feed Willow every 2.5 hours. We left at 7 AM and got back home at about 10 PM. Ugh! We got there an hour early and sat in the parking lot of the clinic, Josh feeding Willow and me pumping. It was a strange situation overall. Needless to say, Willow's still not nursing that well. I thought she was getting the hang of it but I think I was overly optimistic. I think I've tried about every trick in the book. I even went to a La Leche League meeting for moral support. But this preemie hates real nipples! We still work at it every day, but I know the ol' pump and I have a long and intimate relationship ahead of us, because I want Willow to heave breastmilk until she's at least a year old adjusted. You know how some women say their milk lets down when they hear a baby cry? Mine does when I start assembling my pump. Ha ha.
Anyway, sorry for going off on that tangent. Willow's appointment was with a pediatric nephrologist (kidney specialist). Willow's primary doctor wanted her to see this specialist because her blood pressure's on the high side. We just wanted to make sure everything is OK. Thankfully, it is. This doctor first told us why Willow's BP tends to be high. There are three likely reasons: first, there are these filters in your kidneys called gliomeruli. When you're being formed in the womb, these are all done being made by about 34 weeks gestation. And that's all you get for your whole life, sort of like brain cells. But if a baby is born before that, for some reason the body stops making the filters as soon as the baby is born. So you end up with less of them. With less filters, your body has less ability to rid itself of excess salt. Second, because of Willow's Broncopulmonary Displasia (otherwise known as Chronic Lung Disease), her lungs aren't as good as they should be at metabolizing a hormone that helps regulate the BP in the kidneys. Third, because she had an IV in her belly button, sometimes the IV line can sort of scar the artery that leads into the kidneys. So those are the three likely reasons.
Now, Willow's blood pressure isn't even that high. It's at about the 90th percentile for a baby her age. He said it's not hypertension unless it gets to the 95th percentile. In fact yesterday it was a lot lower than it has been. The doctor examined her and said he gives her a clear bill of health. We just have to keep watching her BP to make sure it doesn't get higher. He also said Willow will be at higher risk for having high BP throughout her life, but we can pretty much cancel it out by feeding her a diet low in salt and high in fruits and veggies. Shouldn't be a problem since I'm a vegetarian and Josh practically is. Oh, and Willow is up to 9 pounds, 5 ounces now!
Sorry we haven't posted in so long. Busy, busy! I had this whole list of stuff I wanted to get done while on maternity leave. I haven't accomplished much of it and this is my last week! It's all good though; I realize now I had a very unrealistic idea of the amount of time I would have. As it is, I spend most of my time feeding Willow and doing laundry. Between the diapers and the puking (Willow pukes about once a day), it seems almost continuous! Luckily, and I think I've mentioned this before, I have a weird sickness where I sort of enjoy laundry.
We've been enjoying Willow so much. She's getting so cute and so fun. She smiles all the time and loves when people talk to her. The weather's been decent so I've tried to spend some time outside. She loves to stare at the trees blowing in the wind.
Scout's being her usual slithery self in this video:
Last weekend we had more visitors. Our dear friends from college, Sharon, Mark and Amy, and Sharon's new boyfriend Andy. It was a short visit but we crammed in a lot of fun. on Saturday night our friends Ruth and Chad came over too, and the boys played in the garage while us girls hung out inside and caught up. Everyone was excited to meet Willow.
Sunday night we went out to my parents' camp and ate pasties, took saunas and jumped in the big lake. A perfect yooper night!
Visitors and more visitors! On Wednesday, my cousin Michelle and her boyfriend Ben came to visit. They're from Australia and are in the country for a few months. They recently travelled to Papua New Guinea and brought me a sweet baby carrier like the natives use. I haven't taken a picture of it yet though. I'm saving it for a hot day because it's netted. Here's a pic of Michelle holding Willow:
Then on Thursday my brother got into town. I was so excited for him to meet his niece. He took a turn at feeding Willow and then she puked on him.
After he changed, he took over "paci patrol" for awhile. Willow was holding his hand like a steering wheel. I thought it was pretty cute.
We had a very chill Independence Day. We just went out to the camp and hung out.
Michelle is a talented photographer and took some shots of Willow. Here's one that I like:
And here's a family shot.
I think it's the only one we've taken of all three of us since the first one (in which you can't even see Willow):
...You're wiping off your kitchen counter when you notice a certain...crusty patch. You wonder what it is-did someone spill something? You smell it. It's puke! How did it get there? Well, no biggie, just wipe it off and carry on.
Willow is up to 8 and a half pounds now, as of Monday. Her blood pressure has been a little elevated the last few doctor appointments. Not high enough for her to be put on meds, or for her to be in danger, but just a little higher than normal. So, she's going to go see a pediatric nephrologist (that's a kidney specialist) on July 15. Just to make sure her doctor isn't "missing anything". It likely has something to do with her chronic lung disease. She actually had an appointment at this doctor (who's at Marshfield) before, the first time she was going to be discharged from the NICU. Then they cancelled it because they decided she didn't need it after all. Now I guess she does. So. I'm glad for the appointment; it'll be good to get a specialist's opinion and make sure nothing major is wrong.
Josh's aunt Jill (the maker of the hats) has agreed to come up in mid-July and babysit Willow for the first month that I go back to work. Hooray! We're glad we're able to get her loving and competent (she's a former nurse) help! In the meantime, the search goes on for a full-time babysitter for after Jill leaves. We have some promising leads.
Willow has been practicing her rolling-over skills every day. She's also been smiling a lot more, usually in response to someone talking to her.
She's been getting a little better at the breastfeeding too-she still gets frustrated sometimes but she's had a few good full feeds at the breast. We'll keep working at it!
This blog follows the adventures of Lindsay, Josh and Willow Jenson. It started in 2008 as my pregnancy blog, then when our daughter was born 14 weeks early in February 2009 it morphed into a medical blog as she spent her first 105 days in the NICU. Now, thankfully, it's basically a run-of-the-mill new parent blog.