Friday, May 24, 2013

Annalee Is Four Months Old

I haven't done monthly updates for Annalee like I did for Samuel because I wasn't sure what I wanted this blog to become.  Is this Samuel's blog?  Does Annalee's story belong with her brother's?  Does her less-dramatic journey need to be documented in the same way?

The more I thought about it, the more I felt that she DOES need a place on this blog.  Although her story is not miraculous in the same way her brother's is, she is, without a doubt, another example of God's goodness and mercy.  Annalee's journey perfectly compliments Samuel's story (I'll elaborate on that some other time.)  And frankly, she will be a big part of Samuel's life from here on out so it makes sense to include her in his blog!

So without further ado, here is Annalee's four month update!

Age:  4 months
Adjusted Age:  2 months
Weight:  12 lbs 3 oz
Length:  22.25 inches
Clothes:  3-6 month

-She's gotten so much better at eating!  When she first came home, her suck-swallow-breathe reflex was very uncoordinated.  So we used rice cereal to thicken her formula.  When she got the hang of that, we took away the cereal and gave her a regular bottle with a preemie nipple.  Then, we started the normal progression of increasing the flow.  She now uses stage 2 nipples and is eating pretty well.  She doesn't always latch on perfectly though, so I've been giving her some cheek support.

-Around the same time we were trying to figure out her eating coordination issues, she was struggling with reflux.  Poor girl was miserable after each bottle.  We tried various reflux meds and eventually settled on Prevacid.  Her doctor ordered a swallow study to be sure that her discomfort wasn't due to aspiration.  I couldn't make up my mind about whether I wanted her to have it.  I was convinced that the problem was reflux, not a swallowing issue.  But what if I was wrong?  Eventually I decided that we would do it...but I should have gone with my gut because the test confirmed that she swallows perfectly!

-Annalee eats six bottles a day; 4 to 4.5 ounces in each bottle for a total of about 24 ounces in a day.

-She wakes up for one nighttime bottle at 3am.

-Her daytime naps don't follow a pattern yet, so she dozes throughout the day.  I'm guessing that she will have to learn to be a flexible napper since Samuel's therapy will interrupt any schedule we make for her.

-At night she sleeps from 10pm-3am, takes a bottle, then sleeps until about 7am.  I am THRILLED with that and I'm letting her decide when she wants to give up the 3am bottle.

-She still sleeps in a crib in our room.  We know she's ready to be in her own room, but we have just begun working on her nursery!  Hopefully we'll have her room finished in the next two weeks.

-We are propping up one side of her crib mattress to help her reflux.  Although she doesn't spit up much, she needs the incline to help her feel comfortable at night.

-Annalee has decided that she no longer wishes to be swaddled.  We put her in a Halo sleep sack and she has been sleeping great!  I'm a little sad that we're already past the swaddling...I love a swaddled baby!

What's Up?:
-She's such a calm baby.  She only cries when she's really hungry, tired, or gassy.  Poor thing never gets taken seriously when she's crying though.  Samuel never cried (only growled) because of his paralyzed vocal cord so her cries are sort of a novelty.  Of course we respond to her appropriately, but we sort of giggle too.

-We got our first smile last month along with her first coo.  Now she 'talks' and smiles all of the time.

-She tracks her big brother with her eyes and I can tell that she already adores him.  We rarely have to entertain her because she's so busy looking around at what is going on.

-She used to LOVE snuggling against our chests after bottle.  Now she insists on being turned around so that she can see what is happening around her.

-If we leave the room without her, she 'yells' until she sees someone in the room with her again.  It's the funniest thing.  It's not a cry or a's like she is yelling "Hey!  Hey!  Hello!?!"

-Tummy time is not a dramatic ordeal for her.  I think she rather likes it.  She is getting better at holding her head up but she tires easily.

-She rolls from her belly to her back, but I haven't decided if it's an accident or if she is doing it intentionally.

-Same story with batting/grabbing objects.  Sometimes I'll see her grab the hanging toys on her playmat, but I'm not convinced that she's doing it purposefully yet.

-This girl was born with an impressive cone-head.  In fact, the neonatologist said it was the most pronounced cone-head on a 32 weeker that she's ever seen.  (Oh boy was that head SO uncomfortable in my pelvis for weeks on end!)  Then, during her NICU stay, she got a bit of the preemie toaster-head to go along with her cone-head.  So for a while, her head was VERY odd looking.  Thankfully it's finally beginning to round out!  I'm feeling pretty good about our chances of avoiding the head-shaping helmet!

-Her hair can't make up it's mind.  It was dark brown when she was born.  It looked auburn a few weeks ago.  And now it's looking more blonde by the day.

Parenting Annalee:
Annalee is a joy.  More than that, she has brought so much healing to my heart.  From feeding to growing to development...she is a breeze.  In no way does her ease reflect badly on her brother though. The easier she is, the more proud I am of him (and us!) for surviving his first year.


  1. She is so adorable :) And look at Samuel's big smile! Is he loving being a big brother?

    My kids' lives are so intertwined that I wouldn't even know where to begin to tell just Izzy's story (born with congenital heart defects, in congestive heart failure by two months, open heart surgery at seven months...). They walk beside her on her journey and while many of my blog entries are about her, there are plenty about the boys, too :)

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. Both of your children are beautiful! My two kids are teenagers now, but reading your story takes me back to the time when they were infants and my husband and I were figuring it all out. We were fortunate that both of our children were born at term (although our oldest suffered complications at birth and spent a week in the NICU). After we brought him home we dealt for many years with various issues related to his birth-trama. He is now a college student and we can look back on that time of crisis with perspective and live in the joy that he has brought to us throughout his life. Our daughter came four years later and things were so much easier. I can truly relate to your sentiment that having a less complex infant in no way diminishes the other child's story or experience. We found our lives to be well balanced and have always appreciated that both of their journeys have been unique. Again, thank you for sharing YOUR family's journey. Best of luck to you all!

  3. You give me hope and inspiration for having a second baby...after having a 24 weeker it scares me something fierce!