Sunday, August 30, 2009

New freezer!















Hi everyone,

It was another good week for Willow. She seems to be getting a little better at eating. The puking is much less frequent these days. I still try to breastfeed her occasionally, but it's not an everyday, stress-causing campaign anymore. We just try now and then for the heck of it, I guess. Willow is a bottle-fed baby, and I'm OK with that. The exciting news in MY life this week is our new chest freezer! My parents bought it for us. Thanks mom and dad! I think they're anxious for me to stop pumping so I gain some weight again. I am too, and this freezer is hopefully the beginning of the end. It's been a frustrating experience dumping all my milk for the past 3 months for lack of a place to put it. We had our one full chest freezer, and still quite a bit of milk in our other freezer and at my parents' house. But now that I have another one, I'm going to fill it up (which shouldn't take long), and then "wean" my pump. I may not stop completely, but I want to reduce it enough so I don't have to pump at night anymore, and maybe just have to do it once at work instead of twice. And of course I'd love to be able to eat normally again instead of trying to get in enough calories to feed a football team! Once I have the new freezer full, I think I'll be pretty confident that I've got enough milk stored up so Willow can have it until she's a year adjusted, which is my goal. So now I'm saving most of what I pump again, and Willow's eating milk from May.

My aunt Lisa and uncle Scott came to visit this week. It was great to see them and have them meet Willow. They've been avid blog-followers from the start and were excited to finally meet Willow in person.


















We've been getting a little more sleep at night, which has felt so good. We only wake Willow up once now. I'm a little nervous for her weight check on Wednesday. If she's gaining good, we might try to let her sleep until she wakes up on her own (which she's still never done).

Linda the nanny is really working out well. We love that in addition to being a great nanny to Willow, she pays attention to Scouty too. We can't forget our "other kid"!

Willow still loves the sling. It's the one thing that can calm her if she's overtired and cranky.



















Chewing on Daddy's shoulder:







Sunday, August 23, 2009

Baby's first Harley ride



Hi everyone,

Don't worry. Willow didn't really ride a Harley. She sat on one though, and it made for a good photo op with her bomber hat. Doesn't she look tough in her wifebeater! She even has a sort of tough look on her face. Biker babe. hehe. This weekend, our friend Nick came up from the Twin Cities on his Harley. Friday night we went to a block party in our friends' neighborhood. It was pretty cold out, but Willow hung out in the sling the whole time and slept through most of it. Saturday, Josh and Nick rode their motorcycles up to Copper Harbor and met me and Willow out at my parents' camp for dinner. Then this morning, my mom came over and watched Willow for a couple hours while Josh and I and Nick went biking (mountain biking, that is). It was me and Josh's first ride of the year - crazy. It felt SO good to get out biking. I'm already looking forward to that first turn of the ski season too. I didn't snowboard once last year, what with being pregnant and then the C-section and the baby in the NICU and all that stuff. :-/ We did end up going out to dinner for our anniversary too - courtesy of my mom again. Thanks mom!

We also had to take a pic of Willow with Daddy on his bike. Too bad the background is our garbage cans and garage junk. Oh well.



Life's starting to get a little bit back to normal!

Willow is finally long enough that we had to turn her the long way in her cosleeper. She was laying the short way until now. We also got rid of the "nest" we had around her like they had in the NICU. She's still on the monitor (that's what those wires are) so she really couldn't suffocate or anything like that, but it's good practice anyway.



Willow turned 3 months adjusted age yesterday. I think this is going to be a fun month!





Congratulations to my two friends Emily and Mimi, who both just had baby girls. Welcome to the world, Sierra and Zara!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

6 Months Old!



Hi everyone,

Willow is 6 months old today! All day at work I was thinking about it: "6 months ago right now she was being resuscitated...6 months ago right now I was waking up in the ICU...6 months ago right now Josh saw her for the first time..." Crazy. Anyway, things are much better now. Willow actually had a doctor's appointment today, and she's up to 10 pounds, 9.5 ounces. 3.5 ounces more than last week. She's 22 inches long. Her blood pressure was even lower today than last time: 82 over something. (They don't worry about the bottom number with babies). Her doctor today basically said she's not worried about Willow at all, and we can chill out a bit. So we'll experiment a little with feeding her on a less-strict schedule and see how that goes - scary, but exciting! We also decided to stop the straight Neosure feeds. I'll keep fortifying the breastmilk with it for a little while longer though. It'll be nice not to have to be like, "is this a Neosure feed or a breastmilk feed?" They'll all be the same! This makes me very happy. The less formula and the more breastmilk, the better, as far as I'm concerned! Our doctor said it must be the breastmilk that's helped her do so well developmentally. I have, however, just in the past week or so, pretty much thrown in the towel on the breastfeeding. After about 9 weeks of trying at least once a day, I realized it's just not going to happen for Willow. I'm sad about it...but not that sad. It least I tried, and it's not like she won't still be getting breastmilk for a long, long time. Not breastfeeding is just one more thing I've had to adjust my expectations on as far as my preconceived notions of how childbirth and having a baby would be. I'm used to it!

On Sunday, after that last blog post, we did get to the beach.



It was sort of cloudy, but hot. Then it started raining. But we were so excited just to get out for a while. Willow dipped her feet in the Lake for the first time! We caught it on video:
video

Then, we took a little Keweenaw tour, went to Mohawk and got ice cream, then went to the Ramada in Hancock and had dinner on the patio! It had stopped sprinkling by then. We were high on the freedom of being out of the house!

Willow loves to talk and does it all the time now.

video

Tomorrow's our 4th wedding anniversary. We might leave Willow with Grandma and Grandpa and go out to dinner. We'll see...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Good bye, Auntie Jill





Hello,

A lot has happened since the last post. I wish I had time to update more often, but I just don't.

Last Saturday, we all went over to our friends Andi and Jim's place. I met Andi through this blog. When Willow was first born, she heard about it and contacted me through the blog. Andi and Jim have 1-year-old twins, Cat and Lewis, who were also 26-weekers. We've stayed in touch. It's great to connect with fellow NICU parents who have some idea of what we've been through. Anyway, we went over to their place in Lake Linden for a barbecue. It was so wonderful to get out of the house. Their twins are so cute. And they didn't mind when Willow started fussing, and we didn't mind when Lewis was whining. Thanks, Andi and Jim, for a great time! Unfortunately we forgot to take pictures. However, we did remember to get out the camera last night, when we got together with another NICU family. Jessica and Chad's daughter Samantha was in the NICU when Willow was born; she's 17 days older than Willow but several weeks older adjusted. Willow and Samantha's NICU stays overlapped by a few weeks, so we got to know Chad and Jessica a bit; they live about 20 minutes from here. We've stayed in touch through Facebook, and finally found time to get together. They came over last night and we had pizza and ice cream. It was so great to see little Samantha. She's getting so big and cute! We got some pics with her and Willow together:





On Wednesday, Willow had a weight check at the doctor's office. We were very nervous to see if reverting to every-3-hour feeds had made a difference. It didn't seem to me that she had gotten any heavier. We were pleasantly surprised that she gained 7 and a half ounces in the past week! She's now up to 10 pounds, 6.5 ounces. Double digits - yeah! So, the doctor said we could ease up a bit on the feedings and even said we could try every 4 hours at night. Unfortunately, Willow's been on a bit of a hunger strike the last few days, so we've been hesitant to try that. She's always been a fussy eater, and one thing we have in our bag of tricks is that if she slows down at the end of a feeding, we hold her and walk around the house or the yard, and that usually gets her to start sucking again. Well, lately we have to do that for the whole feeding, most of the time, or she won't eat. It's tiring; by the end your arm is about to fall off. She also hasn't been finishing her bottles, and has been puking more. Yet, she seems perfectly content when she's not being tortured by that bottle (first we torture her with the breast, now the bottle!). We were joking that she might be anorexic. I'm sick of stressing about her feeding issues. I think we all, Willow included, can't wait for the day when we can just feed her when she's hungry, and stop when she's full. I sort of wonder if her internal hunger cues are permanently screwed up. Maybe if we didn't force her to eat, she'd never get hungry! Anyway, enough about that. Geez.

Auntie Jill left on Friday morning, and we were all sad to see her go. I can honestly say that it's been great to have her here. In addition to taking great care of Willow, she took great care of us, and cooked for us every night. Now that she's gone, we're back to eating veggie burgers and mac and cheese for every meal. That was an exaggeration, but not a big one. Jill, we can't thank you enough for everything you've done for us!

Friday was also Linda the nanny's first day. I still haven't asked her if she minds being on the blog. The day seemed to go pretty well. All of the feeding tricks plus the cloth diapering equals a big learning curve for taking care of Willow, but Linda seems to be catching on quickly. I do feel bad that she started her new job right in the middle of Willow's hunger strike. I hope she isn't driven away by how hard it is to get calories into this kid!

Meanwhile, Willow's spent most of the week studying her hands and trying to get them into her mouth. It occupies most of her waking time. It's quite amusing.





She's also started "cooing" as they say. She has conversations with "her friends", that animals that hang from her bouncy chair. Every time she yawns, she makes a cute little sighing sound at the end:

video

This photo is of me getting out Willow's "hand jam". It's like toe jam, but it collects in the creases of her palm.



We've finally gotten some hot weather up here, and Josh and I are contemplating hitting the beach today...that is, if we can get all the chores done around here. I better go or we'll never get there!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Untitled


I couldn't immediately think of a title for this blog and didn't feel like thinking anymore.

We've had a pretty good week. The one negative thing is that Willow had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday, and she only gained 3 ounces in the last 2 weeks. Before the appointment, we were sure she'd gained a lot of weight - it just seemed like she was bigger! We were hoping this would be the appointment the doctor would say we could go to "demand feedings" (meaning, we can just feed her when she's hungry as opposed to a strict schedule). We were also hoping she could stop eating the Neosure preemie formula and the fortified breastmilk and just go to straight breastmilk. Well, that didn't happen. Intstead, we're back on every-3-hour feedings from where we were, at every 3.5 hours. Oh well. It's really not that much of a difference. We are still doing every 3.5 hours at night, at least. It's very ironic -everyone wishes for a baby who will sleep through the night. We have one, and we can't let her! We have to set alarms and wake her up to eat. She's actually never once woken us up by crying, and a couple times when we've been bad parents and slept through a feed by accident and woken up 6 hours after the last feed, she's still fast asleep!

Anyway, we're not worried; not even a little bit. Willow is healthy and looks just fine. Also, her blood pressure was nice and low this week. She's very smiley these days and is really getting into her toys and sucking on her fist. We'll just stick with this more-aggressive feeding schedule and hope her weight next week is greater. She's going on Wednesday for just a weight check.

Other than that small disappointment, we've had a good week. We got some decent sleep and...we hired a nanny! Her name is Linda. I'll tell you more about her if she says it's OK. She's coming tomorrow for a little orientation, and her first day will be Friday. Jill is leaving Friday morning. I'm pretty excited/nervous, but I know it will be fine. It's really a load off our minds to have that process done with.







Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hands

Hello, It's been an eventful week for our little Willow - in a good way! On Wednesday she discovered her hands. We noticed her holding her fist out in front of her face and giving it a good stare-down. She kept doing that over the next few days. We managed to catch it with the camera once:



She's also started to bat at her toys...and you can tell it's not just an accident. We didn't get a very good example of this on film, but here's a video where she sort of does it. Josh says he sounds like a dork in the video. I said he just sounds like a dad. :)

video

On Friday night Ruth and Chad came over, and also our friends Damon and Trudy from Jackson Hole, who happened to have a wedding in Houghton - how random! Too bad I was so overtired I had to throw in the towel mid-party. From now on I have to remember that socializing should be done on Saturday night, after I've had a chance to catch up on sleep a little after the work week. Anyway, that night we were all hanging in the kitchen when Willow started sucking on her thumb! We were all like, "oh my God! She's sucking her thumb!" and everyone ran for their cameras. Ruth was the only one who captured it though before the thumb came out. So I don't have a picture of that yet, but she's been trying to do it ever since. She's not so good at getting the thumb to stay in her mouth, but she tries really hard. I'll be happy if she gets the hang of it, I guess. Maybe she won't need that paci anymore, then.

Oh, and the biggest milestone of the week: Willow's started walking! Check it out:



OK, not really. But we put shoes on her for the first time and it does sort of look like she's walking, doesn't it? Obviously she doesn't need the shoes yet but we just did it for kicks. They do fit her...why do they even make shoes that small?

The babysitter search continues. We interviewed 4 people last weekend and 1 yesterday. We've got one more interview today and then hopefully we'll pick a good one. Stay tuned... auntie Jill's got 2 weeks left.

This was our first week with no doctor's appointments of any kind. There's not much else to report! Here are a few more photos: