Friday, June 24, 2011

Bragging Rights

4 months old

I have bragging rights. It's my right as a mother. 

So I will cash in that chip right now when I announce that at her four month check up, C did so well that "preemie" was taken off of her chart! She is meeting all the major milestones of a typical four month old, both developmentally and physically. Weighing in at a whopping 12.5 pounds and 24.5" long, she is 30th percentile in weight and 70th in height (which were my usual percentiles at her age). There is no doubt about it. This girl will be tall.

Just look at those feet! She gets them honestly...

She's a cutie. And oh so funny.  I literally laugh at her all day, and she at me because I'm hilarious. Well, that, and the fact that she has no source of comparison. She's the perfect blend of her parents: mostly laid back with a slight flare for the dramatic; and I am constantly amazed at her ability to communicate her needs with us with a systematic string of screams, coos, and babbles. I am loving how alert she is these days as we cut back on her daytime naps and have more time for playing, reading, and watching Baby Einstein. And just the other day, I realized that she was strong enough to hold onto me while I held her. This may be my favorite development of all so far. 

Overall, she's perfection wrapped up with a bow. I just can't imagine what we ever did before her (or how much time I must have spent doing unnecessary things like applying makeup and washing my hair).

I have the best job ever.

1 day old

4 months old

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

If a Tree Falls...

It's the age old question:

If a baby falls asleep two hours early, will morning come two hours earlier?

sleepy girl

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

World of Wonder

Day 41

We've seen a lot of changes in 41 days. 

C has learned to hold her head up, to grasp toys, and, just this morning, to roll over. She is teething, a constant stream of drool flowing from her mouth and a tiny fist trying desperately to provide some relief. She no longer wants to be on her back, but instead wants to sit upright any way that she can, and in true C fashion, will let you know how she feels!

Still the bright and cheery morning person, she squeals and "talks" constantly, recently adding consonant sounds to her babbling. She is wearing size 3 month clothing and has almost grown out of her footed pajamas with those long legs of hers. She smiles all the time and is wide eyed most of the day, taking in the world around her.

We've introduced Baby Einstein videos as she can finally watch them without falling asleep. She helps me turn the pages (well....sort of...) when we read books, exploring new sensations with her fingers. She would sleep straight through the night if I didn't have to wake her at 11:30 for a dose of medicine. At nearly four months old, she is growing up so very fast.

Among all these changes, we've watched the hemangioma shrink day by day. The dose of propranalol is still 0.4 mL three times a day, but will most likely increase after her appointment next week. The changes have been slow, but visible, and there isn't a day where we regret going through with this treatment:

Day 1: Day 39 profile: Day 41

The progress has definitely slowed, but we can still see that the bump is much smoother and smaller now and the coloring overall is beginning to gray, which Dr. Theos told us was the first sign of the medication working. There seems to be less pressure on her left eye and eyebrow when she smiles and this will hopefully continue to get better over time. Hopefully, C's weight gain will allow us to increase her dosage over the next couple weeks. Once the dose is 0.8 mL three times a day, the changes should be much faster. Regardless, we are so happy to watch this treatment work before our eyes and are so very grateful for such a great doctor so close to home.

We will know more after our appointment next week. Until then, we will continue to watch her grow and change before our eyes and love every single minute of it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Daddy's Girls

Something happens to a man when he becomes the father of a little girl. While he still maintains the manly gene responsible for finding fishing, golf, and baseball interesting, a soft spot develops in his heart, pushing the baseball cards and golf clubs aside, and making room for all things pink and frilly. 

My dad has never been the typical dad. I mean this in a good way. He was always there, ever present, wholly involved. His odd work hours which began his day at 3:00 a.m. allowed him to also be a room "mom", drive on field trips, serve as PTA president, and drive the carpool to dance and cheerleading practice. Often, he was the only dad there, comfortably chatting among the moms and passing out Gatorade and orange slices during breaks. He knows how to fix a tap shoe, how to turn a tutu into a bustle, and can fix a mean side ponytail. He hates, yet embraces, that glitter is a part of life. And, when challenged by my sister and me, he can do a headstand (well.... sort of...).

Always the "funny" dad, he made up songs about everything, gave all my friends silly nicknames, and kept my slumber parties lively. One of his silly songs still gets stuck in my head for days:
A fish is an animal that lives in the sea. It eats peanut butter and drinks iced tea.
He can quote many a "chick flick" and is only now, with both daughters grown and married, starting to get his fill of movies with car chases and explosions. He is the father of two very girly girls who after attempting soccer and basketball, settled on dance and cheerleading. His life has been full of assembling Barbie's dream house and reattaching Ken's leg and he stopped hunting the day I asked him why he wanted to kill Bambi. He's the daddy of daughters.

Father Daughter dance at my wedding

While I am very much my mother's daughter, so much of me is him. My love of writing and great Southern literature is from him as is my tendency to procrastinate (having watched him, on multiple occasions, write a speech en route to giving it). As a child, he took me on bicycle adventures and, after many painful sessions, taught me how to drive. He taught me how to change my oil, to change a tire, and how to cook. And even as I now have a daughter of my own, I am still a daddy's girl.

When I found out I was pregnant with baby C, part of me imagined how excited he might be if I gave him a grandson. Someone who would appreciate his signed Mickey Mantle ball instead of rolling it up and down the hallway like my sister and I did, diminishing its value with each toss. Someone to share his baseball cards with. Someone who would think bugs were cool instead of shrieking at their presence. 

But, when I told him we were having a little girl, he was thrilled. Thrilled to get to experience the Barbies and dance recitals and tea parties all over again. Thrilled to have a little tiny person with a giant bow shrieking to be picked up and tossed in the pool. Thrilled to now have a Poppa's girl. 

Poppa's girl

Having a daughter changes a man.

I see these changes in Husband as he snuggles his baby girl and sings Disney songs in the car. The youngest of four boys, his childhood memories mostly involve broken bones and dirt bike adventures. He spent summer nights digging for night crawlers while I spent mine catching lightning bugs. His Friday night movie selection was never The Little Mermaid

But, with two sweet nieces and now a little girl of his own, he gets it. He's changed a little to allow room for all of the pink and make-believe. He still loves an afternoon spent watching the Braves, but now, he does it with a tiny person in his lap, explaining to her as she listens intently how each play is impacting his fantasy team. He has mastered dressing her in little lace dresses with slips and teeny tiny buttons and he understands the importance of a properly placed flower headband. But there is oh so much more to come.

And I simply can't wait to watch him from my ringside seat over the years. 

Daddy's girl (perfectly placed
beneath the antlers on Daddy's t-shirt).

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful dad and Happy first Father's Day to my sweet Husband. We certainly are lucky girls to have such wonderful men in our lives.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Few Minutes for Mommy

The sun slowly melted into the deep blue lake as I mounted the wave runner and took off on a much needed solo ride. The lake was calm after a short summer rain chased the day's usual traffic back to their docks. I made my way to an empty slue and let the engine idle, taking in the uninterrupted sounds of nature only minutes away from civilization. The scenery resembled a work of art, perfectly reflected in the water's surface, smooth as glass, and I breathed in the warm, humid air that follows a hot summer shower. I was alone, at peace, and recharged.

As I headed back to the house, the wind ripped through my hair, eyes squinted at the sunset. I docked the wave runner, unzipped my life jacket, and went inside to reclaim my role. Twenty minutes of "me" time had passed and I felt rejuvenated as I prepared my daughter's bottle and kissed her warm, pink cheek. Mommy's back.

It is amazing how guilt so easily accompanies motherhood. I spend my days and nights wholly enveloped in this mesmerizing little girl and honestly love every minute of it. But, while every moment of every day now revolves around taking care of another person, so easily I forget to take a moment to take care of myself. In only 20 minutes, I was able to recharge and all was right again; but the guilt associated with wanting to still be a person is palpable. 

I hate that in wanting to grab dinner and drinks with a friend and actually use both hands to eat, I feel a sense of abandonment. My daughter is almost four months old and I can count the times I have left her alone with my sister or Husband on one hand and have yet to hire a babysitter for a much needed date night. 

Don't get me wrong. I love love love being able to stay home with C full time and am so thankful every day that I can; but in order to be the best mom I can be, I can't let go of the person I am. I want my daughter to benefit from having a well rounded mother who has friends and activities outside of the home. I want her to grasp the importance of relationships. I owe it to her and to myself to be a whole person and to have a little "me" time every now and then. I know this. But, will the guilt ever subside? 

My gut tells me it won't.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Little Something Extra

Yesterday, C turned 15 weeks old. For those who don't have children, she's 3 1/2 months old. Apparently, once you give birth, you then measure the child's entire first year in weeks. It seems odd, but each week is so very different. The things she is doing in her third week of month 3 are so different than the first week. I know it's silly. I'm a recent convert. (Prepare to be annoyed when I measure the second year in months).

But C was born 4 1/2 weeks early. Often I forget this little tid bit as I read all of the mommy blogs and books and emails out there that are telling me what my child should or shouldn't be doing by now. I was reminded of this factor while doing some light reading last night: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. The issue of sleep has been upon us recently as I have contracted my second bacterial infection in a one month span and often go entire days without remembering to drink water in between my coffee(s). I'm a little sleep deprived to say the least.

Operation Goodbye Hemangioma continues to go smoothly, but this also means that I continue to administer medication exactly every eight hours. The third dose of the day falls at 11:30 pm and the interruption in C's sleep tends to effect the whole sleeping-through-the-night thing.

So I consulted the book in hopes of a brilliant answer. Instead, I learned that C just might not be ready to sleep through the night yet, and that no amount of rice cereal or sleep training will change her inherent need to wake up at 4:30 am for a little mommy time.

It then occurred to me. I get an extra month.

Yes, I have to suffer through an extra month (at least) of middle of the night feedings and sleep deprivation; but I get to have an extra month (at least) of middle of the night feedings. Those sweet groggy moments of feeding and snuggles that will be gone all too quickly. I get a little extra time.

It is difficult to see my happy, healthy child as a preemie. She is stubborn and determined to her core and it is easy to forget that this strong willed little girl was once only 5 pounds. Today, she struggles to sit up, crying if I place her flat on her back for even a moment. She lifts her head with assurance and smiles a huge gummy grin when she succeeds. She is so very big in my eyes, yet still so very small. And as she grows and develops each day, I take pride in how far she has come, throw the rule books out the window, and relish the little something extra I get as the mommy of a preemie.

Mommy Brain

Last night, after I rejoiced over a poopy diaper, Husband informed me I officially suffered from "Mommy Brain" in which I was incapable of talking about anything but "mom stuff." 

He is so right. I have lost touch with the real world.

I am totally okay with this.

Welcome to my world. It's so much cuter here:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Size Matters

14 weeks

It's all about size lately. How big is she now? How much is she eating? How much medicine is she taking? How long is she sleeping?

How big? Too big! I blink my eyes and she gains an ounce, grows 1/4 of an inch. She has grown out of newborn diapers and I have packed away a box full of newborn onesies and footed pajamas.

How much is she eating? Enough to keep me in my day job of cleaning and making bottles. 

How much medicine? Enough to make a difference on day 22 of OGH:

Day 1 - Day 22
Side note: is there anything sweeter than a sleeping baby?

How long is she sleeping? Long enough for me to finish one load of laundry, start a load of dishes, attempt to make the house not look like a small explosion just went off, and grab just enough sleep to allow me to hazily function the next day.

As I rocked my nearly 12 pound (12 pounds!) baby to sleep tonight, struggling to still cradle her like a newborn, my arm tingling beneath her weight, I was painfully aware of her size and how rapidly it is increasing. I sleep for 4 hours and wake up to find a beautiful little morning person, more expressive than the day before. I blink and my three month old is teething. I turn around and she is nearly holding her head up on her own.  Where is the time going?

Along with all the other unsolicited advice you receive from complete strangers as a new mom, is the warning that they grow up much too fast. Well, random lady in the Target checkout line, you were right. I look at my sweet little three month old and realize that she is already one quarter of a year old! She has been in this world for 14 weeks in which she has learned to make playful noises, to smile, to follow the sound of my voice. She can push her tiny body up on her tiny little arms when on her tummy, and can grab toys and purposefully put them in her mouth. 

Each day she evolves more and more into the person she is supposed to be. At 14 weeks old, I can already tell she is stubborn like her Mommy, but easygoing like Daddy. She is dramatic (her god-given right as the first born) and has us wrapped around her little finger. She likes bright lights and mirrors and kisses on her chubby little cheeks. She's ticklish. Mommy's bedtime stories put her to sleep while Daddy's make her ready to play. We've already learned so much about this precious little girl yet still have so very much to discover. 

It's difficult to believe that 14 weeks have passed by already and that our once 5 pounds, 2 ounces daughter is now nearly twelve pounds and that the same little girl who was once swallowed by preemie clothes is now wearing size 3 months. While our daughter grows and changes each day, so does our world, living as if we ceased to exist before her and never looking back. We have grown from a family of two to one of three and that size matters most of all.