Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sitting

On the eve of her 6-month (corrected) birthday, Willow has a new skill: sitting! She sat by herself today while I folded and put away an entire load of laundry. I caught it on video later while she was playing:

video

She's also been doing a lot of BOUNCING!

video

Here she is with one of Daddy's creations:
















And here's one of my other new babies: new snowboard boots! I'm so excited...I know I won't get out much this year, but it'll definitely be more than last year, which was not at all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

9 Months Old















Hi everyone,

Sorry I haven't blogged in so long...it's been a hectic couple weeks for us! And, we haven't been very good at taking photos lately either. There is a lot of news though, so here goes.

First of all, it's Willow's 9-month birthday today. How time flies.

We've abandoned a couple more of those things that identified Willow as a preemie: the itzbeen and the Neosure preemie formula. I know a lot of parents of "normal" babies use the Itzbeen too, but we became hooked on / obsessed with it after we gave up the hospital-style charting. It got to the point where, we'd be upstairs about to feed her, and it'd be like "where's the itzbeen?" Someone would have to run downstairs and get it so we could press the feeding button. Extreme, I know. Well, Willow's been doing so good with her feeding, we finally trust her enough to tell us when she's hungry and know that it'll be appropriate. Before, it seemed like if we didn't tell her when it was time, she'd happily go all day without eating. Now she gets hungry every 3 hours or so on her own.

















We could've given up the Neosure a while ago, but decided she could use the extra calories it provided when we fortified her milk with it. But now we've run out and are not buying more. Straight breastmilk for Willow.

Willow will be 6 months corrected on Sunday and people are starting to ask when we're going to start feeding her baby food. We will, soon enough. I think we might wait until she's sitting on her own. I did have an idea the other day when I was bottling up milk, and let her try out the spoon with some (breastmilk) cream on it. She did great, actually, opened right up and let me put the spoon in her mouth, and ate the cream right up!

















As far as pumping goes, I'm down to once every 6 hours - it's great! However, supply is still ahead of demand, and the second freezer is full, so I'm back to dumping some of what I pump. Not much though. As I keep increasing my time between pumpings and Willow keeps eating more, eventually she will eat more than what I make, and then we can dip into our freezer stash.

Willow got her second H1N1 shot today, so she's finally all vaccinated against H1N1 and seasonal flu. Yesterday, we all headed down to Marquette for the first time since discharge, so Willow could go to the NICU follow up clinic. She saw a developmental pediatrician, a Physical Therapist and a Speech Language Pathologist. She is still tiny for her age (actual and corrected), but is now up to about 13.5 pounds (we don't know her exact weight because they weighed her with her clothes on) and 23.5 inches tall. The PT she saw there was a special pediatric PT, and she had some minor concerns that the Early On PT didn't notice. Apparently Willow favors her right side, and has some issues with weight transfer from her upper body to her hips...or something. We're not quite sure exactly, but they referred us to another pediatric PT who is up here in the Houghton area. She's supposed to give us some exercises to do with Willow to help her. The PT said it's not a big deal and would probably resolve on its own by the time Willow is walking, but the exercises will just help her along quicker.

After the appointment, we stopped by the Family Birthing Center to see if we could visit some of our old NICU friends. We weren't really able to though, because right when we got there, they had just gotten two admissions that were babies transferred in from elsewhere, so they were really busy. Next time, I guess. We miss you guys!

Our friend Sharon came for a quick one-day visit last Sunday. We didn't take any pictures though - we're terrible! It was a fun visit. Grandma babysat a couple hours so we hit the brewpub!

Some parents teach their babies sign language. It seems Willow has learned a sign inadvertently due to our germophobia. See, anytime we are going to pick up Willow, we wash our hands and then use hand sanitizer. So now, anytime we are rubbing our hands together (like rubbing in the sanitizer), she knows she's about to get picked up and gets all excited and squirms and coos. It's so funny.

Here's a last photo to leave you with.















We have one more note for today: Welcome Home, Charlotte! Another micropreemie comes home. If you haven't seen Charlotte's blog link on our home page, check it out. What a little cutie.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

First stroller ride!

Hi everyone,

It was quite the busy week for us. I spent my birthday (Tuesday) driving to Wausau, and was down there Tuesday and Wednesday nights, getting back on Thursday at about 8 PM. It was hard to be away from Willow that long. I will admit though, that a tiny part of me sort of appreciated being able to relax in a hot tub with a beer and no one needing to be fed or changed! :) I was glad to get back, though not glad to come back to the humungus pile of work (at work, not home, thanks to Josh) that accumulated while I was gone.

While I was gone, Willow finally got her first dose of Synagis. What a relief that was. She will get it once a month now through the winter to protect her from RSV. I still can't believe the amount of hassle and paperwork and phone calls it took to get it for Willow when, as a 26-weeker, she obviously needs the protection. On Monday she also got her second seasonal flu shot...now she just needs the second H1N1, and then we can get back to her regular shot schedule. Poor kid is a pincushion!

Willow also saw a physical therapist on Friday, just to check and make sure she's developing properly as far as gross motor skills and neuro-muscular somethingorother. We weren't expecting her not to be, and that was the result: she is at or ahead of where she should be for her corrected age. Another relief! In two weeks she's going back down to Marquette for the first time since discharge to attend the NICU follow-up clinic, which also assesses her development. We're looking forward to seeing everyone down there again.

We had great weather this weekend, and Willow got out on two good walks. Yesterday, me and her and my friend Emily took a nice long hike on the Tech trails, and today, Josh and I took her out in the stroller for the first time! We have two strollers, and they're both the kind you're not supposed to use until the baby has good head control. We decided Willow was ready. There probably aren't going to be many more stroller opportunities since winter is coming, so we're glad we got it in now!





















If last week's sounds was "gee", this week's sound is a blood-curdling scream. Not like crying, but just a really loud SCREAM. Actually, she's been working on it for awhile, but I think it's now perfected - it's most effective when done 6 inches or less from mom or dad's ear.

Two more friends had baby girls! Congratulations to Ash and Rob, and Josh's cousin Mike and his wife Katie. Welcome, Vaeda (hope I spelled that right), and Natalie!

Here's a shot we forgot to put in on the last post. Her other Halloween costume, a pumpkin:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween!

Hi everyone,

I guess the biggest news of the week is that Willow has decided that eating isn't so bad after all. It's almost like when "the switch turned on" in the NICU and she learned how to take full feeds from the bottle - all of a sudden she actually enjoys eating! Ever since we brought her home, eating has been a struggle, with Willow often fussing and pushing the bottle away. It was stressful because we wanted her to eat so she'd grow, but everything you read says "never force a baby to eat, their hunger cues will be permanently screwed up and they'll end up obese." Well, half the time we felt like we were forcing her to eat. About a week after we started letting her sleep all night, she suddenly started actually fussing when we took the bottle out of her mouth, and reaching for her bottle! Feedings are much easier now, and go much faster (just like you said, Becky!). Hurray! She has become a great sleeper too - going all night, as long as we care to sleep. We're getting more sleep than we know what to do with - plus, I'm up to 5 hours between pumpings. The freedom!

Willow was a sock monkey for Halloween. We went over to my parents' house to hang out and give out candy (we don't get trick-or-treaters where we live, which is mostly student rentals).















I'll be tested this week, as I have to go to Wausau, WI for work for 2 nights. I'll be away from Willow for over three days! :(

I was away from her for longer than that when she was in the hospital, but I think this will be harder, since now she knows who I am and knows what's going on. Josh will have his hands full...what a guy.

The word of the week is "gee". Not like gee whiz, but with a hard G. Willow says it over and over, both in distress and when she's happy. Here's a video:

video

Snoozing in the sling:




















When she falls asleep in the sling (which is often), we just lay her down and slip out. This is a common sight in our living room:

















Petting the kitty:
















Happy baby and grandma! Notice her cool pumpkin hat from auntie Jill: