Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hip Brace

Dear Alex,
We've had quite the weekend. And I don't necessarily mean that it was all good. On Friday, your harness came off (yay!) and you got your Brace. You cried when the orthotist put it on you. Maybe it's only because you weren't wearing anything between The Brace and your skin, but it sounded much more like you HATED it and wanted out NOW. The fussiness has continued through now (Sunday night). There are definitely moments of smiling and cooing where you're happy and sociable, but much more often over the last two days, you've been fussing, wanting to nurse, or sleeping. (The last time I changed your diaper you were fussing until I took The Brace off. Then you were all smiles.) I've been really upset about The Brace too, since it's so much more in-your-face than the harness. We could very nearly ignore the harness. The Brace has to be removed and reapplied for every diaper change. It's much easier for people to pity you with The Brace - the harness was downright cute in comparison. I'm planning on dressing it up with some fabric soon, so it doesn't look so scary and medical.

It's nice to be able to have more clothing options, yes, and the freedom to get you 100% naked for a bath is nice, but I don't think the pros outweigh the cons in terms of practicalities. I just hope that it really helps your hips get fixed and that you'll be out of it as soon as possible.

There's some comfort in knowing that you won't have any memory of wearing the brace, that this will all just be stories we tell you when you're older.

Monday, January 9, 2012

2 months/ 9 weeks

Dear Alex,

It is crazy how cute you are. Right now you're (finally) asleep in your swing after a long and hard-fought battle to keep your eyes open. I just got finished pumping, and Daddy is in the bedroom, researching some problems I'm having with nursing. The last few days have been tough, as you are clearly anti-right-side nursing at the moment, but you're also sleeping like a champ most of the time, including usually through the night (5-6 hours at a stretch overnight sometimes).

You're smiling now. Not all the time, but definitely at me and at strangers (possibly not at Daddy, though. Hmm.) You will usually settle down more with me than if a stranger is holding you. You don't freak when someone else holds you, though, and that's a relief. You're awesome and everything, but I need my space and time to myself sometimes, too! I'm hoping that laughing is coming up soon.

Your first Christmas was a success. You had a red velvet dress that you wore on Christmas Eve to Aunt Peggy's house for Mom's family party and to Midnight Mass where we heard Bubba sing and got to sit in the cry room for the first time. We took pictures of you in your Christmas dress lying in the manger the Sunday school kids used in the Christmas pageant. (I think we emailed those pictures to you - if not they're on the Shutterfly site that I really hope will still exist when you're old enough to read this and want to see the pictures.) We hung up the stocking that Nana made for you that looks just like mine, and you sat in my lap on Christmas morning to open presents. For our first New Year's Eve together we stayed at home, watched the last two Harry Potter movies, and had ice cream milkshakes and sparkling cider. It was more fun than standing out in the cold for First Night Northampton or than driving home from a party at a friend's house over an hour away. It was just the three of us, and that made it perfect.

Last week you went to yet another appointment for your hip at Shriner's. They put you into a MEDIUM sized harness, and I definitely wasn't ready to hear that you're medium-sized now. Aren't you supposed to be small and a peanut for a little while longer? It feels like you are growing so fast in these last few weeks! I'm hoping that at your next appointment, in two weeks, they'll put you into something less restrictive, that we can take off every now and then for a bath and easier diaper changes.

We put up the doorway jumper a couple of days ago, 2 months ahead of the recommended age. You looked so tiny in it the first time we put you in! You were flopping forward and we had to stuff towels in around you. But then we bought a "Hugga Bebe", which supports you all around, including behind your head, and that helped a lot. You fell asleep in it after that, since we were using it more as a swing than a jumper. That's definitely okay, we have a lot of time to play around with it in the upcoming months.

We have started using cloth diapers on you as of yesterday. The plan is to use disposables overnight and for travel until we run out of the thousand or so I got at the baby shower. I think we forgot to change you into disposables tonight, though, so I see a swing seat-washing in my future.

Last night my friend C, her husband N, and her 2 daughters came over to visit, as they were visiting friends and family on their trip back here from where they live in Singapore. E is 3 and R is 12 weeks, just a little bit older than you. If things had gone according to due dates, you'd be older than R since I was due a week earlier than C, but R came out at 35.5 weeks and you came out at 39.5 weeks. It doesn't really matter, as you're clearly two very different little girls anyway. You look much chunkier because of your harness. Holding R was definitely a different experience from holding you. She felt "squishier" and more fragile - no Velcro strap around her chest! Again, I will send pictures of you and R. I really hope that you and she will become friends as you get older, and not just tolerate each other because your moms are friends.

You come with me to the gym for personal training. The first time, I wore you in a sling, but the owner said that maybe that wasn't the best idea, so since then we've put you in an Exersaucer until you get crabby, then hand you off to whoever is around and willing to hold a baby for the rest of the session. Then I feed you (if the baby holder person hasn't fed you a bottle of expressed milk - sometimes you just can't wait till I'm done!), change, and we go home or on to run errands. It works pretty well because I don't have to worry about getting a babysitter for you, everyone at the gym gets to ooh and aah over how cute you are, and you get to know more people than just us parents and a babysitter.

Tomorrow is your two-month appointment at the doctor's. You'll be getting your first immunization shots, aside from the Hep B one I wasn't present for at the hospital. I'm not nervous, exactly. But I don't know what to expect with you and needles, and I don't know what side effects are normal and what I should worry about. We'll get through it together. I'm not too worried.

You continue to love your pacifier and the hair dryer. We haven't weaned off the nipple shield yet, but we've had some success feeding without it a couple of times. Your dad has finally relented and allowed small amounts of pink into your wardrobe (e.g. socks). You have a love/hate relationship with the car seat. As long as you have your pacifier in your mouth, all is good with the seat, but if you spit it falls out you sound like the world is ending until I can twist around to hold it back in your mouth.

Our third month together is looking good. I know that in a couple of months you won't be sleeping as well, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts. The nursing problems are going to work themselves out, or we'll get help with them. Either way, that'll get better too. I wish you'd just stay this little for a lot longer than you're going to, but I can't change that. Instead, I'm just enjoying every cuddle and trying to soak in as many images and memories of you at this age as I possibly can. It's still a thing of wonder that you're here at all, that after so much time wishing and hoping and trying to have a baby, we have you. You're just what I wanted, and having you as part of our family is exactly like I imagined having a baby would be like. (Crying and everything!)

I love you and wouldn't trade you for anything or any other baby. You are my girl and will be forever.

Love forever,
Your Mommy