August 3, 2015 – 20 Weeks (9 Weeks Corrected)

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I can’t believe it’s been 20 weeks since Nora’s birth.  And yet somehow she is still only around 10 pounds!  I’m a little biased, but I think she gets cuter every week!  She wouldn’t sit still for this week’s photo, notice the slight blur 🙂

I continue to wonder what the heck I’m supposed to do with Nora all day everyday.  Eric left Saturday for Cedar Falls as he started his ‘it gets better’ job, as it’s often referred to… the first job out of residency that is.  We’re tentatively scheduled to move Friday, August 14th, which means I’m here alone with Nora and Kona until then.  AHHHH!  So far so good, but it’s only been a few days.

The days really are flying… everyone tells me they do with a baby since life seems to repeat every three hours when Nora needs to eat again.  Speaking of eating, I’m still pumping and feeding Nora my milk with bottles.  (Oh, did I mention I stopped fortifying my milk altogether?  Yeah, long story, but to make it short, since her doctors agreed we could cut back on her calories, and I was kind of fed up with her gas and upset stomach, I decided to try straight, plain breast milk for a few days.  And then I just never went back to adding in the fortifier.  She actually poops now!)  Anyway, I tried last Saturday to strictly nurse her all day to see how we’d manage, using a nipple shield of course.  Since I’ve been pumping less I was fairly confident that Nora could consume all the milk, or very close to all the milk, I’m making.  That said, after a few hours of nursing her she was crying and my breasts were uncomfortable.  I know she gets some milk, she seemed satisfied after the first feeding, but after the second and third feedings she was fussy, wouldn’t go to sleep, and I had hard, sore spots, which I assumed were ducts that Nora wasn’t able to empty.  Funny that I was so looking forward to pumping after that experience!  Still feeling frustrated though, I broke down and called the pediatric dentist I was referred to for her upper lip tie and posterior tongue tie…  Well, actually, her and I emailed back and forth a few times and then I finally called to make an appointment, which is tomorrow morning at 8am.  And it’s at least 90 minutes from where we live.  Okay, I know this doesn’t sound all that difficult, but I’m really wondering how I’m going to get there on-time.  I might be showering at 3am after feeding Nora!  There is a part of me that still would have preferred the ENT perform the correction, but a larger part of me didn’t want to wait another month and a half for that appointment.  And this pediatric dentist comes very highly recommended.  I am terrified though.  I think I have PTSD from our NICU experience.  I just keep picturing Nora in pain, all the procedures she endured, all the spinal taps, all the IVs, the literally hundreds of blood draws, intubations, the tortuous eye exams…  Ugh, even just thinking about those days in the NICU, all the times they would ask me to step out, and I’d go for a walk while I knew she was screaming…  So hard.  I’m told they will numb her mouth tomorrow, and that the procedure is really quick, but it still breaks me heart.  Please think of us tomorrow morning and pray for success and a quick recovery.  I’ll update and let you all know how it goes.

In other news, Nora and I had a fantastic lunch today with the ladies I used to work with at the hospital.  It seriously was so good to see them!  I miss them so much!  You know that feeling when you break up with someone and then you see them with someone new and it’s like you feel left out?  Yeah, totally had that feeling at lunch.  As much as I disliked my job, the actual work, I really, really enjoyed some of the people.  Not N of course, but several girls became close friends.  I so miss the chit-chat, catching up on each others lives, giving and getting advice, venting about the not so awesome people at work…  I keep telling myself I’m going to do a better job of staying in touch with those I truly care about, but then another week passes and I can’t figure out where the time went…  Is that just life?  I truly hope those wonderful ladies know how important they are to me, even if we aren’t able to see each other as much as I’d like.  And with me moving soon, I fear even more for our friendships.  Thankfully I won’t live too far and should be able to come back to meet for lunches from time to time!  I’ll look forward to those days!

July 27, 2015 – 19 Weeks (8 Weeks Corrected)

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Lots to say and so little time, so I apologize ahead of time for the bullet points, and random order as well 😉

  • Eric and I have given a lot of thought to Nora’s (suspected) upper lip tie and posterior tongue tie, but yet no decisions have been made.  Well, other than to have it corrected if necessary.  We’re still at a loss for who should perform the correction.  I know the lactation consultants I met with recommend a pediatric dentist in my hometown, but I’ve yet to call that office.  Eric knows how recommendations work…  you recommend who is connected to you, who is in your network.  And I’m not saying that means the dentist isn’t amazing, in fact, I’ve been told by many she is great…  I guess with Eric being a surgeon, knowing the amount of training he’s been forced to endure, there is just something that makes me want Nora to see a surgeon for this correction, rather than a dentist.  That said, Nora has an appointment on September 17th for a hearing test at the University… so I called today so see if we could be seen by a Otolaryngologist, as long as we will be in that clinic anyway, and so they booked us a clinic visit.  But that is over a month away.  I was so hoping to have the procedure complete much sooner so we can get back to focusing on breastfeeding.  Eric has a friend who is a resident in the department… he is waiting to see if his friend can get us in sooner.  I hate to say it, but it really is who you know sometimes…
  • I’ve been mainly pumping and feeding my milk in bottles to Nora for the past several days.  I guess I’m just a wimp because I’d rather do without the pain nursing her causes me.  I have used a nipple shield a few times, and I will say it’s much more comfortable, not perfect, but much better than without.  I kind of wanted to pump a few days though to see what my supply was doing.  I had been pumping about every 4 hours and getting around 32 oz every 24 hours.  I dropped down to pumping every 5 hours and now I’m getting about 24 oz.  Seems like a lot less, but closer to what Nora can drink since we aren’t fortifying as many bottles lately.  I’ve very curious to see if she is still gaining well,
  • I received an email this morning that there have been a few delays with the construction of our new house.  Movers have been rescheduled for August 14th and 15th now.  Eric is planning to leave this Saturday and stay with a partner of his for the foreseeable future until our house is complete.  That means I’ll be completely alone 24/7 for at least two weeks with Nora and Kona.  Not ideal, but we’ll manage.  I should probably get used to it, as who knows how often I’ll see him even after we’re moved.
  • Nora gets more fun everyday!  I love seeing how much she is changing already, how alert she is now, how she has more awake periods, her spiked interest in her mobile…  She still goes from happy to meltdown in 30 seconds when hungry or tired, but honestly, she’s a super good baby.  The extent of her crying is truly only a few minutes a day, if that.  She is sleeping well, 4-5 hour stretches at night, and after she takes a bottle at night she goes right back to sleep.  She’s already in size 1 diapers, although they are still a bit big on her, and we’re moving out of newborn clothing in Carters, although I’ve been told by many that brand runs a bit small.  I honestly can’t believe that preemie diapers were huge on her when she was born, although I guess she has tripled her weight now.  Just crazy…  And packing up her preemie clothing was so very sad.  In fact, I was holding her today while she was sleeping on my chest and I just had to stop myself, take a minute, and realize that I’ll never get these days back, that I have to enjoy them now.  So often I feel like I have so much going on that I’m missing what really matters…
  • I miss my friends terribly.  I feel so out of touch with their lives…  Everyday I tell myself I’m going to email them, or text a few, but here it is, another evening, and neither of those things happened today.  And the longer I’m home with Nora, the more I fear this stay-at-home-mom thing isn’t for me.  I feel like I’m so busy all day, but then I look back on my week and I wonder what I accomplished.  I hate that some days I don’t shower until 6pm, other days I don’t leave the house!  There is a world out there happening without me!  I love being with Nora, and I already can’t imagine someone else caring for her, but gosh, I just feel like I need more, a balance of her and something for me.  Is that possibly though, to combine the two…?

Ugh, tired, need sleep.  Tomorrow I have an appointment with my cousin, a Realtor, to list some properties!

July 20, 2015 – 18 Weeks (7 Weeks Corrected)

 I feel a bit like a broken record, but I seriously don’t feel like I can get on top of my life right now.  (Nora is happy in her swing right now, but I feel guilty not interacting with her, not talking to her while I type this…)  The women who works for our builder is still constantly hounding me to make decisions, all last-minute, I need to start organizing and throwing junk out before the movers come, Nora is obviously a full-time job, and Eric left this morning for two days of orientation for his new job.  And that’s just the start of my to do list!  Case in point, Lowes called this morning, ten minutes before they were to arrive at our new house with appliances to install.  Um, the email confirmation I received said they would call 24 hours before to arrange.  Ugh.  I’m not even in the same city yet!  And our current house is a complete disaster, as I’ve given up on cleaning…  And poor Kona is not getting nearly enough attention.  She needs her nails clipped so badly I searched online yesterday for someone to come to the house, but came up with no options.  Apparently that isn’t a thing here.

In my quest to find more time in my days I’m still trying to focus more on nursing rather than pumping and bottle feeding.  Nora weighed 8 lbs 9 oz last week at her high risk appointment, therefore they recommended cutting back on some bottles with the fortifier and seeing if she continues to gain appropriately.  She is still only at 11% for weight on the preemie chart, but she’s sticking with her curve, so perhaps she is just going to be a petite girl.  Nursing continues to be a struggle though.  I have been trying more though, we can usually get in one feeding by breast, and then I try the next, but halfway through the second she is usually quite frustrated.  Maybe she just isn’t used to it and needs to practice more.  Or maybe it really is an upper lip tie issue.  Regardless, I made an appointment this coming Wednesday evening with a lactation consultant to see what help they can offer.  The nurse practitioner at her high risk appointment last week really discouraged me though, stating that if Nora hasn’t gotten it yet, she might never, and that lots of preemies never catch on.  This whole pumping and feeding thing is getting old though!  For the feedings I nurse her I’ve been skipping pumping, but that doesn’t seem to be working either, as then I’m way too full later, as I make way more milk than she drinks.  Will I always have to pump after feeding her?  If that’s the case what’s the point of focusing on nursing?

Besides the discouragement in regards to nursing, Nora’s high risk appointment was a success.  We’ll have these every few months for several years, and so far so good.  They basically ‘played’ with her, showed her toys to see if she would follow them with her eyes, made sounds to see if she would look in the correct direction, attempted to make her smile at them, checked her balance and head control, and about 100 other things.  She’s right on track for her corrected age which makes me feel great.  So far so good.  I know there is still a lot of risks for her development due to her meningitis, but for the time being I’m going to try to relax.

I have noticed that Nora is making more sounds, cooing I guess is what they call it.  And just a few days ago it seems she found her hands, as they are constantly in her mouth now.  Do babies put their hands in their mouths all the time, or is this a sign she is hungry?

Speaking of appointments, last week we also had Nora’s hip ultrasound, required since she was born breech.  Before we left that appointment the pediatric radiologist chatted with me regarding the results.  Apparently Nora’s hips are immature for her age, even for her corrected age, and are showing early signs of dysplasia.  His recommendation was to double diaper in an effort to hold her hips open and repeat the ultrasound in two months.  I wasn’t too concerned until her pediatrician called to follow-up and tell me that she wants us to see a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.  Ugh, like haven’t we already seen enough specialists???  Our appointment is this Wednesday and they want to rule out her needing a harness, which looks annoying, but not painful, from this video.  I realize we are so very very lucky with Nora so far.  She has been through so much and is doing amazing.  And I shouldn’t even think to complain, compared to what some preemies endure, but regardless, I so hope she doesn’t need this harness…

So my plan for the next two days until Eric gets home…  Chill at home with Nora, work on breastfeeding, and make a really good attempt at organizing for the movers.  Wish me luck!

July 13, 2015 – 17 Weeks (6 Weeks Corrected)

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The weeks are flying by!  How it is the middle of July already???

Nora is doing really well, I’m guessing around 8.5 lbs now.  We have her high risk infant follow-up appointment Thursday morning so I assume they will weigh her then also.  Today was her hip ultrasound, required since she was born breach.  I’m not sure exactly what they were looking for but the radiologist told me Nora’s hips are immature, even for her corrected age, and thus he wants to repeat the ultrasound when she is 3 months corrected.  I assume this has more to do with her pre-mature birth and not so much the fact that she was born breach.  For the time being her doctor recommended having her wear two diapers so the thickness keeps her hips open and prevents her knees from touching one another.

Saturday morning, in the mist of trying to do 17 things at once, I spilled the milk I was warming for Nora.  Oh, and breast milk is really sticky!  Anyway, I decided I was just going to stick my boob in her mouth and forget about thawing frozen breast milk.  Well, it went okay I guess.  Not great, not awful.  If she is really hungry she was find a way to latch and does quite well once all settled.  She still pops off often and thus we start the entire process all over though.  Two feedings in a row I nursed her, but I’ll admit, neither time did she seem satisfied.  Maybe I’m just so used to her fortifier filling her up for hours at a time.  The other thing… I swear there is something wrong with her latch and suck.  She seems to have a lot of space on the sides of her mouth.  She leaks milk out, and I assume takes air in these spaces, which could be the cause of all her gas.  I did a little research online and came across some pictures of upper lip ties, and call me crazy, but I seem to think Nora’s upper lip resembles some of the pictures I found.  Below is a picture of Nora if any of you have experience with this.  And also below is a list of symptoms, and we have almost all of them.  I could hardly stand the pain from her latch Saturday evening, after only two feedings!  It’s almost like she bites down, with her gums, when she stops sucking to breath, I assume to try to maintain her latch.  I’m all ears for suggestions.  I’m going to ask about all this at her appointment on Thursday.

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I’m sick of washing bottles so I bought some of the Playtex Drop-Ins.  Not sure what I think of these yet, as they seem better geared for formula.  With breast milk I either have to thaw it and then pour it into these, or warm in from the fridge already in these, either way some work.  I’m trying to cut down on steps and dirty parts but with pumping and storing and feeding, well, I’m not sure the drop-ins solve my problem.  Willing to try them though!

The house is coming along, check out these pictures which were taken this past weekend.

Kitchen – Range/Hood
Master – Closet & Bathroom
Master – Closet
I assume a bedroom…
Kitchen – um, where is the rest of my island??
Another bedroom perhaps…
Front Entry
Lower Level Family Room
Deck, that seems like a lot of stairs!
Where is Kona gonna poop???

I’m happy so far, but very anxious for another walk-thru tomorrow.  I have to say though, the individual who is supposed to help me pick everything out… sucks.  She emails me almost daily with a new task, each time acting like I was supposed to be working on the selection for weeks.  For example, Friday it was stone for the fireplace, yesterday it was tile for the kitchen back splash.  Her emails are always like, what did you decide for such and such, and I’m like, lady, those weren’t included on your instructions for me!  How am I supposed to know everything we need??  Isn’t that her job??  And then of course everything takes forever to order and then she acts like it’s my fault if I take two days to pick something out!  And it’s not like she gives me examples or any direction.  This builder does complete custom so she’s always like, oh, you can look anywhere, online, wherever, just tell me what you want me to order.  Ugh…  Thursday I have to pick lighting, and gosh, I’m seriously at a loss.  Tonight I attempted to order all my appliances, which I’ve picked out, but the website crashed three times and emptied my shopping cart with 11 items, and honestly I’m just too tired now to add them all again.  And the sale ends tonight.  I might have to go to Lowe’s tomorrow.

Movers have been arranged, although we still don’t have a firm date.  Tentatively we are planning on the movers for August 7th and 8th as they want two days to move up, one to pack and the next to unpack.  Maybe that is next week’s task, to organize before they arrive.  Ya know, in-between picking out stuff I have no clue about.  Oh, just got another email, they need to know what I want for the railing down to our lower level…  This house is seriously supposed to be finished in two weeks and she is just now asking what I want for the railing???  I might lose it on her!  Notice my backyard in these pictures…  I was told sod would be in by the time we closed so I could get the yard fenced ASAP for our dog.

I’m sure there is so much more to share with all of you, but I’m tired and tomorrow will be another long day with the walk-thru and picking out the kitchen back splash.  Thankfully my mom is joining me to help with Nora!

July 6, 2015 – 16 Weeks (5 Weeks Corrected)

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Hard to believe my little peanut is already 14 weeks old!  Yesterday was Nora’s 4 month check-up and thus her 4 month shots.  She was not fond of them, and was a bit fussy yesterday, but we managed with some Tylenol.  She’s all smiles today!

Life still seems to be flying by.  I’m guessing you could have guessed by my lack of posts.  And lack of responses to comments on my blog as well.  I just don’t know where the days go.  Eric went to Cedar Falls today to meet with his marketing team, and it’s almost 7:30pm and I’ve yet to shower.  How is that even possible???  Is this normal??  I feel like all I accomplished today was a walk with Nora in-between feedings, diaper changes, pumping, feeding myself, and washing bottles.  Thankfully there is Royal Pains to pass the time while pumping!  I’ve made it to season 5, so perhaps I shouldn’t really wonder where my time goes!

Having Eric home the past week has been great.  He’s been attempting to study for his boards, but has been more than willing to take feedings or watch Nora while I run errands.  Being all alone again today made me realize how much of a help it is to have him here.  Eric did suggest a nanny again, not full-time, just some days to allow me some time to myself.  As much as I’d love a nanny, I feel a little guilty even looking into hiring one.  I don’t work, I only have one child, I should be able to handle this!  I don’t feel guilty about hiring a cleaning lady once we’re all moved though, that is a must!

Our house is still coming along, they estimate it will be complete the first week of August.  Eric starts August 1st so I assume he’ll stay in a hotel for that first week until we move in.  I haven’t packed or organized a single thing yet.  Eric’s contract includes moving costs, so I suppose I should look into getting some quotes for movers.  Oh, my to do list goes on and on.  I still need to pick out light fixtures, bathroom mirrors, and God only knows what else.  I fear daily the builders are just sitting there waiting on me.  I wouldn’t know if they were since I haven’t seen the house in over a month!

I know everyone told me motherhood was rough, but I never imagined such a huge commitment as pumping round the clock has put on me.  I suppose breastfeeding round the clock is no different, or so I assume, as I really wouldn’t know.  Nora was 8 lbs 3 oz yesterday, so we still have over a 1.5 lbs until we can stop fortifying my breast milk, and thus before I could even consider strictly nursing and not pumping.  Well, or at least attempting to do such.  I go back and forth on this.  It’s so easy for me to pull out a bottle in public and feed her wherever, rather than finding a spot to nurse her.  Although I guess I could still feed her bottles when out and about.  That would be mean pumping though…  Breastfeeding Nora continues to frustrate both her and I, but I’ll admit, it’s probably because it’s new to me, and her.  Some days I don’t attempt at all.  I decided to try just a bit ago, and guess what?  She did awesome at latching.  I had to do the whole sandwich thing for maybe the first minute, but then I let go and she was able to stay latched!  And she nursed for perhaps 10 minutes on that side with me only having to re-latch her once.  I guess I don’t have much to compare this to, but I’m calling this a huge success.  I feel clueless overall with nursing though.  I know how much in a bottle she will take every 3-4 hours.  With nursing though, how long does 10 minutes satisfy her??  It can’t be long, as it takes her MUCH longer to finish her bottles.  I would have offered her the other side, but she was falling asleep…  Maybe I’ll try again when she acts hungry next…

I’m not sure if other moms feel this way, but it seems like I’ve had a newborn for 4 months now.  Just this week I’ve started to notice some changes, Nora smiles when Eric and I talk to her and she seems to follow toys we hold in front of her, but otherwise, she’s still the same baby in the NICU.  Maybe I’m just too anxious.  Maybe I should focus on how amazingly healthy she is after all she’s been through.  And no, I don’t mean to rush her life, to wish her out of this tiny newborn phase, but it would be nice to feel like she’s progressing, that we aren’t stuck in the same stage forever.


June 29, 2015 – 15 Weeks (4 Weeks Corrected)

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I think I’m still in shock…  Eric’s residency is complete!!!  Six years ago we met and he was just beginning, and now, he’s finished, we have a beautiful daughter, and we’re planning a move very soon.  We are truly blessed!

The weeks are flying…  How is Nora almost four months old already??  In fact, I think Monday she is getting her four-month shots 😦  Speaking of, and believe me, I don’t want to start a debate here, as I know this topic is hot, but for just a second let me mention vaccinations…

Since Nora was so sick in the NICU, twice, an immunologist will continue to follow her for at least two years, perhaps longer.  During that time she will not be allowed to receive live vaccinations.  It’s been explained to me that live vaccines are safe for those with normal, functioning immune systems, but not necessarily safe for those with known or suspected weakened immune systems.  Since we don’t know the status of Nora’s immune system yet, as several tests are still pending, she is not allowed live vaccines.  That said, there are several that children her age would have either already received, or should receive very soon, those being RotavirusMMR, Chickenpox, and the Flu in nasal form.

Before I say much more, let me first say that while I understand each parent has a right to decide what is put into their child’s body, they don’t have a right to knowingly endanger mine.  As more and more parents decline vaccinations for their children, the society as a whole suffers, in my opinion.  The last I will say on this is…  If you choose not to vaccinate yourself or your children, please let me know and refrain from contact with Nora.  I just can’t stress enough that Eric and I would love for Nora to receive every vaccination available, but since at this point she can’t, I need to protect her from others who could potentially seriously sicken her.

On a happier note, our house seems to be really coming along!  I still don’t have a potential closing date, but I know the walls were painted Monday (yes I finally picked colors) and a preliminary appraisal was completed last week.  Below are a few pictures from the appraisal, if you’re interested 🙂  I’ll leave the interior colors a secret for now and surprise you all later with more pictures!

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I must go clean bottles and pump, again.  Feels like all I do!