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Anastasia's first year (2005)

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February 2006


February 6, 2006

Today, Anastasia gets her six month vaccinations. In some ways, it's hard to imagine that she's been around long enough to get them; after all, she's the size and development of the average 2+ month baby. But in other ways, it's hard to imagine that it hasn't been longer than six months; we had a long haul last year. Either way, I'm not looking forward to the shots, since Anastasia is old enough now to complain bitterly about such things.

She'll also be weighed at the doctor's office, of course. It's always a moment where we hold our breath and hope for the doctor's approval. Three days ago, Anastasia weighed 12 lbs. 1 1/2 oz.

I finally made a decision about my milk supply. It was tapering off pretty rapidly, and I considered just letting it go. Pumping, believe me, is no fun. But I decided to try to keep it up, at least through RSV season. My reasoning is that milk gives her antibodies to fight off bad germs. It will only be a few more months, and then I can reassess. (This from a woman who was going to breast feed for a full year!) In order to (hopefully) keep my supply up during this time, I got a prescription for Reglan from my OB. As a bonus, it might help Anastasia's reflux, too. I'm going into my third day on the stuff, and I've seen a slight increase. Supposedly, it will show it's full effect within four days.

At any rate, I plan on dressing Anastasia all cute for her doctor's visit (since we can't show her off in public very often, it's a good excuse to wear the cutest of those outfits that were given to her at the baby shower!).


February 6, 2006 (part II)

Anastasia's vaccinations were worse than we imagined. She cried for 25 to 30 minutes afterwards, then came home and cried most of the evening. It didn't help that I only got part of her Tylenol down her (she spit out the rest). Strangely enough, though, her daddy offered her a pacifer, and she not only took it (remember, she's been gagging and spitting out pacifers for quite a while now), she sucked on it as fast as Maggie Simpson!

Hopefully she's out for the night, but I'm sleeping on the nursery floor, just in case. I told my husband, a cot is now a priority. Those hardwood floors are hard!

I took this photo to put on a Valentine's Day card for my husband.


February 8, 2006

The big news today is that Anastasia rolled over, from her tummy to her back, three times in a row this afternoon (and then let me know that the exercise left her starving)!


February 12, 2006

Anastasia met one of her grandpas (my dad) for the first time this weekend. He traveled from a state away, gave me a hug, then headed straight for the sink and "scrubbed in" so he could touch his first grandchild. As it turned out, I had to finish feeding Anastasia, but as soon as I was done, my dad put his hands out as if to say, "Gimme, gimme"...and he held Anastasia virtually non-stop for the rest of his visit.

Anastasia also had her first walk outdoors. I wore her in her front pack as we strolled around the neighborhood. She slept through the whole thing.

She's been eating pretty well, too, and when we weighed her yesterday afternoon, she was 12 lbs. 6 1/2 oz.


February 13, 2006

Yesterday, Anastasia got several doses of fresh air. First, we put her in the stroller for the first time, bundled her up, flipped up the canopy, and rolled her to a spot in the yard that I was using as a potting table. She mostly slept. Later, we took her for her first stroller ride - a short walk through the neighborhood. Again, she dozed.


February 15, 2006

Yesterday, Anastasia made my chin drop to the floor. I had her on a quilt on the floor, on her tummy. And lo and behold, she made two big scoots across the quilt! As if I needed more evidence that she's a determined, strong little girl...


February 16, 2006

Anastasia had a great day yesterday. It began with me coaxing her into taking a full bottle (she now typically takes about 4 ounces at each feeding) by chatting with her about growing big and strong. Nothing unusual in that - but this time I mentioned that if she eats she'll get big and learn to crawl. An enormous grin came across her face, and she sucked down the rest of her bottle. Makes one wonder how much she understands!

But the day ended even better. After a day of eating well, I sat Anastasia down in her bouncy seat while I emptied her diaper pail. I looked down at her, said her name, and smiled, and she responded by giving three true giggles. Now she's given us a laugh before...a trying-too-hard "heh heh." But this was the first time she's truly giggled. It was precious, and I spent the rest of the evening trying (in vain) to make her laugh again.

Some of you have asked how Anastasia's eating is going. In general it's much better. She's eating more (and gaining about a half an ounce a day, which is considered acceptable), and feedings are less of a struggle. However, she still doesn't eat like your average baby. It takes her a good half hour to forty five minutes to get down a bottle on the average day. Sometimes it takes longer, and sometimes (praise God!) it takes less time. But while it can make me lean hard on patience (especially in the middle of the night), I'm so thankful that feedings are going more smoothly, and that all the tummy pain she was experiencing is gone. I'm also thankful that she's only waking up once in the night to feed!

Our average day goes something like this: About 7 to 9 hours after going to bed for the night in her co-sleeper, Anastasia starts wiggling around, smacking her lips, and sucking her hand. She very rarely cries for food. I wake up, grab an already-prepared bottle from the fridge (about half breast milk, half formula) and feed and burp her. I put her in the bouncy seat so she can stay upright (which is better for her reflux) while I go pump. After pumping, I wash Anastasia's bottle, wash my pumping parts, and prepare a new bottle. An hour or more later, we're back in bed. Between two and four hours later, Anastasia's ready to wake up for the day, and I transfer her to the nursery crib, change her, and feed her again. Then it's time to pump.

First thing in the morning, Anastasia will usually sleep a bit longer, perhaps giving me an hour to sterilize bottles and pumping parts, and get a little laundry going. Throughout the day, she eats every two to two-and-a-half hours, and I pump after each feeding. After eating, Anastasia takes a brief (25 to 30 minute) nap to recuperate, and is mostly awake the rest of the time.

Just before she falls asleep, she tends to suck on her fist. Recently, this has become a very big thing for her. She tries to get her entire fist in her mouth, and sucks on it like it's the best tasting thing in the world. Sometimes she gags herself, but continues to suck, anyway. And then suddenly - CONK! - she's asleep. She's also gotten to where she fights going to sleep, especially toward the end of the day.

When she's awake, I tote her around (mostly in the bouncy seat, because she prefers it to everything else, including her sling or front pack) with me to my office, the bedroom, etc. I also try to give her tummy time several times a day, for as long as she desires. Mostly, she just flips over onto her back when I do this, but sometimes she works (very hard!) on trying to crawl.

Some of you also asked whether or not Anastasia is learning to look to her left more. And in fact, she is. Now, without any prompting from us, she'll spend quite a bit of time turned to her left. Thank you, Lord, for all that advice from the occupational therapist, physical therapist, and pediatrician.


February 18, 2006

Yesterday Anastasia had another RSV shot. No fun, to be sure. But she looked cute, anyway!


February 20, 2006

Hubby and I had our first date in...well, eons, it seems. Certainly since before I went on bed rest in early July of 2005. One of Anastasia's primary nurses, Phyllis, volunteered to watch our sweet babe while we took a few hours to be a couple without baby in tow. We had a great time, and are so grateful to Phyllis. The best part, though, was coming home and seeing Anastasia smile at us.


February 23, 2006

Anastasia is finally gaining weight again, after a week and a half of eating poorly. It started out with her just being sleepy, but I made it much worse by choosing to eat a slice of pizza. "Aw, one piece of pizza won't bother her," I thought. Wrong! Soon after she ate milk I made after eating that dang pizza, she was writhing. Then she got constipated. She seems to be back on track now, though, and this morning's weigh brought her in at 12 lbs. 10 oz.

Last night, hubby and I agreed that Anastasia did the cutest thing any baby in the world has ever done. She was sitting in her bouncy seat on the living room floor, and I was sitting beside her, bouncing the seat for her. Our cat started walking back and forth beneath the seat, pretending he was being pet (poor ignored creature). I laughed, and Anastasia got a big grin and made laughing noises, too: "heh heh heh." This made me laugh again, which made Anastasia laugh again, which made me laugh again...On and on it went. Dang cute child, she is.


February 24, 2006

As soon as I said Anastasia was eating better, she ate poorly. Our goal is for her to eat 2 oz. for every pound she weighs. She fell far short of that. I try not to focus too much on the numbers, unless they are persistently low, but I do have to work to try to reach the daily goal. It sure is frustrating to try to feed a baby for one hour...at every feeding. I'm hoping she grows out of this soon!

That said, she looks great and is quite lively.


February 27, 2006

This morning I talked with the feeding clinic folks, and they, too, are concerned about Anastasia's poor weight gain. (She's only gained 3 1/2 oz. in about a month.) So they're calling back soon to make an appointment. All of Anastasia's feeding issues now seem quite different from what they were. Sometimes she's just disorganized and not focused, and doesn't get a good suction going. Other times, she just doesn't seem hungry. And other times, she acts hungry, but acts like it's difficult or painful to eat. So it will be interesting to see what advice the clinic people can give.

Anastasia also has an appointment tomorrow to get an echo done on her heart. This is just follow up from the hospital's examinations, to ensure that her PDA and PFO aren't causing problems. (Those are the little gaps in the vessels of her heart.) We don't anticipate bad news from this appointment, but I suppose one never knows.

On the positive side, Anastasia is really adorable (if I say so myself), bright, and alert. She loves laughing with me, and her eyes just twinkle and take in everything. Two nights ago, her daddy awoke, hearing her giggle in her sleep. Her smiles and giggles make me teary eyed, in part because she's been through so much and it's so good to see her obviously happy, and in part because somehow they remind me what a little miracle she is.


February 28, 2006

We had a very busy morning. I was up at 4 am, feeding Anastasia, then pumping. Then, since it was close to rising time, I decided to not go back to bed. I transferred Anastasia to her nursery (she was wide awake and giggling, anyway) so hubby could sleep peacefully. Then I prepared bottles, the diaper bag, myself, and Anastasia for her doctor appointments. We were at the clinic by 8 am, and spent all morning there, getting home at about 12:30 pm.

First Anastasia saw the RN and physical therapist. I tried to explain how Anastasia's eating issues seemed different, and the nurse wondered if our girl's reflux could be causing a problem. Yes, her reflux did seem worse this past month, I said (more coughing and swallowing), but a month ago our pediatrician said Anastasia's reflux meds were plenty high in dose...and since then, Anastasia hasn't gained much weight. (The dosage is determined by the baby's weight.) So the RN checked the feeding clinic's guidelines and found that, in her opinion, Anastasia's dose was low. She mentioned that different medical facilities might use different dosage guidelines.

The physical therapist also suggested that Anastasia may just be bored with milk and formula. She thought it might be time to introduce solids. This surprised me, since I've read that babies should start solids at six months (some say four months), and I assumed this would be "corrected age," not chronological age. But the PT wanted to see how she handled some carrots.

So they brought in a high chair, a smock, and a bowl of pureed veggies. Anastasia took right to it; she even started opening her mouth for the next bite. (We wished we'd had our camcorder with us, she was making so many funny faces.) Then the PT and RN watched Anastasia eat from her bottle...which (of course!) she did wonderfully well. While Anastasia sucked on the bottle, the RN hooked her up to a pulse-ox, to see how her oxygen saturation levels were. They were great before she bottle fed, and only went down just a bit while she ate...Terrific news for a baby whose lungs are not 100%.

So, the suggestion was that we offer her the bottle first, every time, but if she seems disinterested, or doesn't finish the bottle but is still awake, offer her food.

Most of our guidelines for food are what we've heard before: veggies for the first month or month and a half, then fruits. (If you try fruit first, the veggies won't seem sweet enough to eat, supposedly.) Introduce one food at a time, for at least three days, to make sure there are no bad reactions.  No peanut products until she's 3 years old. But I was shocked to hear the PT and RN say that bottled baby food is to be avoided because it's not as nutritious as homemade stuff. Apparently, baby food is mostly water! Who knew? They said I don't need to puree anything to make homemade baby food, just mash veggies or fruits with a fork. Sounds simple enough.

Then it was off to see the MD. He seemed really surprised that Anastasia is rolling over from tummy to back and (beginning just this morning) can get onto her side while lying on her back...the first step to rolling over onto her stomach. He proclaimed that she looked great in all respects. He also said they were going to up Anastasia's dose of reflux medication, to what their minimum dosage is for her weight. If necessary, her dosage can go higher. I think perhaps this will make a big difference in her eating, since many reflux babies refuse to eat because it feels like the food is coming up their throats. Too, Anastasia's eating started to wane as I noticed her reflux getting a little worse.

The doctor also said he and the PT had a difference of opinion about starting solids. He felt that going by Anastasia's corrected age "felt better" to him, but also admitted that he had no proof or evidence to say it was better. So, he said, "Follow your instincts." Hubby and I agree that Anastasia took to the carrots well, and so we'll keep trying out solids with her. The doctor felt this was probably fine, but that we should discontinue if she develops an upset stomach or more constipation.

Next, we were off to get an echo done on Anastasia's heart. We were, by now, into our fourth examination room in the same office. We undressed Anastasia and an operator hooked our girl up to some electrode-type things, and performed the echo (which is basically an ultrasound). Anastasia was fascinated, watching the operator's screen, which was not only bold black and white (like any other ultrasound), but also had colors like red and yellow. She tried to "help" the operator by holding her hand.

With the echo done, we transferred to yet another examination room to talk to the pediatric cardiologist. He confirmed our suspicion and Anastasia's heart is fine. In fact, they couldn't even see her PDA on the echo, which means it is very, very small. Therefore, no treatment is needed at this time, and probably won't be needed in the future.

After this long morning, Anastasia was getting pretty worn out. The folks at the clinic actually got to hear her cry for the first time. But, as usual, by the time the car got to rolling home, she was fast asleep :)

And, oh yeah, she looked pretty darn adorable during this outing, too:

"Who? Moi?"