Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Yeah, Roger that!

Beth is becomming quite adept at moving around the house in her psuedo-crawl. She doesn't actually get her bottom off the ground. She does a breast-stroke with her feet and rocks her forearms forward while pushing with her feet. In fact, she looks like she could give the Navy Seals a run for their money as they scramble underneath barbwire and through culverts.

Today she was porpoising along when I caught up to her by the laundry room. "Ooh Beth, I cooed. "Did you make a poo-poo?"

She slowly turned her head up at me and blinked those big blue eyes. Then she said that magic word that every mother waits for months to hear. Plain as day, Beth said... "poo poo".

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Another Cold and Teething, Again!

This is not going to be easy on any of us. Compared to life in the NICU, our small sleep trials are really nothing. At least we have fodder for the blog.

Beth has a cold and is teething. We are not winning the battle of sleep and I doubt we will until this uncomfortable phase passes. For now, we enjoy her smiles in the day and tolerate her waking every 3 hours to eat at night. Maybe next week I can write that she has slept through the night.

Actually, I can barely go three hours without eating...why should I expert her to?

Enjoy these photos. As you can see, Beth likes to gnaw on everything including Daddy's hat. Elliott is a real social butterfly. He likes to share conversations and colds!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Our Sleep Trials

Well, I thought this was going to be easy...Beth had been getting up every 2 to 3 hours and wanting to nurse. It was getting to be too much so we (or perhaps I) decided that at nearly 15 pounds, it was time to put a stop to this. It was also complicated because my milk supply is waning especially at night. So when she wants to nurse all the time, she was just getting frustrated by my low supply.

On Thursday night I kicked Mike out of the bedroom so he could sleep and Beth and I planned for a tough night. At 12:20 she woke up and hollered at me for 45 minutes. She wasn't really crying the whole time, just making it clear she wasn't happy that I wasn't getting up. She gave up around 1:00 a.m. and went back to sleep. I woke her a few hours later because I did need to feed her (of course my supply rocketed skyward after hearing her cry for 45 minutes). After that, she slept soundly for 5 hours.

The next two nights she was an angel. I woke her around 2:00 a.m. to nurse and she never made a peep before that time or after. On Sunday night, I fed her at 1:00 a.m. and then she woke up at 3:00 a.m. and started fussing. This escalated into a real tirade but I held fast and after 20 minutes she settled down and slept until 6:00 a.m.

Poor Mike. He had migrated back to our bedroom thinking that Beth was now "trained." I had forgotten how hard it is for him to hear her cry. After 5 minutes I started to hear sniffling and it wasn't me! I'll be darned if Daddy was tearing up. It took all his strength just to lay there (that and my firm grip on his hand. He made it. She made it and we all slept fine for the rest of the night.

Then came Monday.

I don't know if Beth has less composure if she misses a nap or what but boy what an afternoon and night we had. She took her morning nap but missed her after-lunch snooze. In fact, despite a bike ride designed to lull her to sleep and three attempts to nap, she was a screaming machine. By the time it was 7:30 and trying to go to bed, she had lost it completely. She managed to pass out for a few hours and woke me up (Mike was relegated to the other bedroom again) at 10:30. Well, I couldn't bear to hear her cry so I let her sleep with me since I had the big bed to myself. I fed her again at 2:00 and put her in the crib where she slumbered without a peep until 6:30.

Now a sleep expert might tell us we've botched the job but it just seemed like last night was an anomaly. She simply needed a little extra comfort and holding. Funny thing is that Mike and I were feeling the same way. I don't know if it was her extra crying that caused us to feel this way or whether we felt this way first...we were missing Julianne. In fact, when Beth had fallen asleep at one point, she was lying with her face on her soft baby doll. I am quite certain that she has a connection to her sister and feels her absence.

Yes, we still think of her everyday. In fact, she is on our minds almost every moment of the day. Now the tears don't flow as freely and unpredictably as before but there is often a sigh in our voices. I wonder if we'll ever get past this but part of me knows that our grief is all we have of her. There wasn't time to learn of her personality or smell her baby smell. We didn't get to build memories that would make us smile and cry at the same time. We only got to know of her through hope. Hope for her future and who she would turn out to be. Hope that she would be happy and feel loved. Hope that she would in turn, share her love with others and make them happy. So we hold onto this unrealized dream of what it would have been like to have her here. It is still so sad.

But, Elliott is tugging at my arm (he just told me he loves me and he would love me more if I read him a book). Beth is taking her morning nap (without any fuss or tears). There is lots of love here so we'll happily take what God gave us and trust that Julianne is getting lots of love in Heaven.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Beth has Finally Crawled -- Sort of...

On Valentine's Day, while Daddy and Elliott were playing on the floor, Beth's curiosity just couldn't stay contained. She wanted Elliott's new Caribou Game and she was going to get over there if it meant swimming across the floor -- which she did. Below is a video I took with my new camera. I hope the resolution is better than our previous movies.

or visit this URL

She is making great strides in every way except for sleeping at night. This weekend, we have to take drastic measures and try to break her requests for feedings that come every 2 or 3 hours. I know she still has a lot of catching up to do but we are really zonked in this house. For a while she was happy to sleep for a 5 or 6-hour stretch at night but this hasn't happened for over a month now. ...wish us luck...maybe this crawling thing will wear her out enough that she'll sleep better...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Back From Texas and All is Well

I did make it home from Texas without too much trouble. Despite a 2 hour delay on my return getting me in the door at 12:30 a.m., I've recovered from being away from the family. Don't ask me about having to pump in odd places without much privacy. And, something I hadn't considered about air travel: airport security limits the amount of fluid being carried on a plane. I thought I could at least save my last day's milk and transport it home in ice. Well without a baby in tow, the TSA won't allow that much fluid in a carry-on. So for three days I had to throw away all that wonderful milk!

It is also interesting to see the look on the face of a male security official as they try to figure out what the heck the mass of wires and tubes are that I pass through the x-ray machine. I am constantly amazed by how few women actually know what a breast pump is. You would think that in this day, we would have greater understanding about nursing mothers. I suppose I am anomaly carrying a breast pump with me. Very few nursing mothers travel without their babies (and now I know why).

Yes, the trip was productive (actually very productive assuming the promised news coverage comes through). And, I did get a few nights of wonderful sleep but that wasn't worth being away from Elliott, Mike and Beth.

Beth is so close to crawling that it is driving us crazy. She is clearly frustrated by the process but keeps trying. She has fully mastered the transition from sitting to all-fours. She can even get back to sitting but just can't get her legs moving while her arms hold her up. I wouldn't be surprised to see her walking before crawling. She can already go about 10 feet (12-inch feet, not her tiny size) while holding on to our fingers. She wants to let go but quickly realizes that won't work just yet.
I am a little concerned by the red hard swelling at one of her injection sites from Feb. 1. I'm going to call the doctor tomorrow but she doesn't have a fever nor seem irritated by the rather large lump.

Oh, and don't ask us about sleep. Neither of us are getting any. Beth has regressed to eating every three hours through the night. We have gotten a couple of four-hour stretches but they are few and far between. She sometimes wakes at a two-hour interval demanding food. If she wasn't so darn small, I'd put a stop to this but at less than 15 pounds, I figure she really could use the extra calories. ...sounds like a complaint but in the end, it is still a privilege to cuddle with her while she nurses at night.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Beth's Birthday Video with Family

My sister-in-law, Cathie, created this cute video of Beth's birthday party on Saturday. We had a small celebration with my brothers and their families, Gramma and Nana. Two other very special people who were instrumental in Beth's survival also joined: her primary nurse, Joan, and Carol, who was my hypnotherapist who helped us get pregnant and then make it through the tough times I spent in the hospital and on Mag.

If the link doesn't work, go to this URL:

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Beth is now one year old! We celebrated last night with a little cake and some presents.

Poor thing had a doctor's appointment this morning. She weighs just 14 pounds and 9.5 ounces (26.25 inches long). Her health is excellent and Dr. Arab isn't remotely concerned about her size. She will take a long time to catch up and besides, Daddy and Mommy aren't much bigger than smurfs.

She had a TB test, Varicealla (chicken pox) vaccination, pneumonia vaccination and Synagis (for RSV). In all she had 5 needle sticks because the Synagis was administered with two needles. Even poor Elliott had a Varicella shot. There I stood with two screaming kids but feeling so happy and lucky that this was such a normal course in life.

Happy Birthday to our beautiful and amazing little girl. We are all so proud of her strength and generous spirit.