Friday, February 26, 2010

Dodged a Cold

On Saturday Aaron started coming down with a cold and spent Sunday in bed feeling awful.  I immediately became paranoid that Sarah Graves was going to get it.  She is so little that there isn't much you can do to help her through something like that and I just hated the thought of her having it.  Then, Monday I woke up with a scratchy throat and stuffy nose and really started thinking there was no way to avoid her getting it.  Aaron and I both started washing our hands a lot and trying to be careful not to give it to her.  Well, we are both feeling better and she seems to still be healthy.  Maybe her immune system really has had a boost from all the breastfeeding. 

Pondering Pediatricians

Yesterday we went for a consultation with another pediatric practice, Kennesaw Pediatrics.  This practice came recommended by a Defeating Autism Now doctor in the Atlanta area.  The consultation was a little different because one consultation is scheduled for several potential clients rather than the individual meeting we have had with other practices. 
There were a lot of nice things about the practice and they seem to really care for kids and want it to be a good experience.  A cool thing they have is an air purifiying system that removes 99% of the mold, bacteria, and viruses from the waiting areas and exam rooms.  There is also a track with a subway train that runs all along the ceiling throughout the waiting area, a little like the trolly on Mr. Rogers.  The doctor is willing to do an alternative vaccine schedule and sounded like he is willing to support what parents think is best.  I don't think he would encourage it, but if you ask for it, he will do it.  So, I found a pediatrician who is willing to work with us on the schedule. 
The complicating thing is that Aaron has been telling me about research he is reading that says vaccines have no impact on autism or autoimmune disorders, and that environmental toxins may be the bigger culprit.  So now the dilemma is whether we leave Dr. Fleming and her conveniently located practice with the CDC vaccine schedule to go to this doctor who I don't like quite as much as Dr. Fleming and the location is definitely more of a drive, but we could do an alternative schedule.  I don't know what to choose!  I hate making these types of decisions.

Cute Shoes!

That's what everyone is going to say when they see these cute as a button puddle jumpers!  I can't wait for Sarah Graves to be able to wear them.  They are such a sweet gift from friends Michael and Melissa.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Check-Up

Today we went for Sarah Graves' check-up with Dr. Fleming and she is in perfect health.  Here are her stats: she now weighs 10 pounds 12 ounces and is 22 1/4 inches.  She is in the 95 th percentile in weight and the 90 th percentile in height.  In the next month we need to work on teaching her to take a bottle, laying her down more and getting her used to having a lot of space to stretch out, and having tummy time. 
I have been pumping in the mornings some and have several bottles frozen, but I have been hesitant to let her have a bottle.  I really like being able to breastfeed her and have this concern that once she gets the bottle, she may not want to breastfeed anymore.  Dr. Fleming assured me that as well as she is feeding she does not think that will happen.  We'll give the bottle a try over the weekend when Daddy can take a night feeding and give me some extra sleep. 
Sarah Graves was a complete angel during the entire check-up.  She was awake, looked all around, made her cute baby coos, and just generally looked adorable.  It is really cold here today, so I had her in her jogging suit from Aunt Lexie.  Here she is all snuggled into her carrier. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Baby Shot!

In the last week I have really noticed Sarah Graves focusing on people and objects a lot more.  She makes eye contact with you more and really notices her mobile.  She is also having longer periods of being alert. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Paci


After 4 weeks of successful breastfeeding I decided to offer her the pacifier.  It is very helpful for satisfying her when it has only been 2 hours and she needs to wait a bit to eat again.  Aaron and I don't plan to let her have it all of the time, but it does help to soothe her.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sip'n See

Yesterday we had a sip'n see for Sarah Graves.  It was a really fun event and a chance to show her off to some of our friends and neighbors.  Mom, Jeanne', and I put together an assortment of desserts and punch and cofee.  The sweets were really yummy and I enjoyed visiting with everyone and showing off my sweet baby girl.  Aaron's Mom, grandmother, and sister were all here too, so it truly was an exciting day. 
As usual, I remembered to get some pictures before the party, but forgot to pick up the camera during.  Here are some cute pictures that Jeanne' took of us. 

This is my favorite picture of her so far!  (You might here that one a few more times as she grows :) )

Friday, February 19, 2010

First Baby Doll

Ms. Susan, a close family friend who was like a second mom to me growing up, sent Sarah Graves her first baby doll.  We decided to call her Susan so that we will always remember who gave her her first doll.  I hope that Sarah Graves is as fond of her babies as I always was of mine. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Letter Month One

Dear Sarah Graves,
It's hard to believe that you are already one month old!  Although in some ways I feel like I have known you for much longer.  Probably because all that time you were inside me I got to know you and bonded with you before I ever saw you. 
Let's see, your first month in the world has been pretty eventful.  One big thing is that you are eating and growing like a champ.  As soon as you came out you knew how to nurse and have been doing quite well with it.  I enjoy spending time watching you eat and seeing you look so content after you are finished.  You have the sweetest way of laying your head on my breast and give me a small smile as if to say thanks when you are done.
You have started sleeping in your bassinett some and have napped in your crib some. However, your favorite place to sleep is still in someone's arms. You are quite a loud sleeper. You make lots of cooing noises when you are asleep and sometimes you give a short cry out. The cutest thing is to watch you have a dream about eating and you start to work your mouth as though you are nursing.
You are working very hard to be able to move your head on your own.  You can turn it to the side when laying down and you can lift it up off my shoulder.  You are also able to follow objects on your mobile and even seem to bat at one of the toys on your bouncy seat with your hand.  You haven't really discovered your hands yet, but I think you will be pleased when you do.
  Another big thing this month has been you meeting your family and boy do they love you!  Your Daddy has been taken with you from the start; Mom, Pops, and Aunt Nay were there to see you from the moment you were born and fell deeply in love with you; Grancy came the next day and you captured her heart; your big sister, Lucy, is so excited by you and can't wait to be able to play with you, and then  Grandaddy and Beverly came a couple of weeks later and were just in awe of you.  You have a lot more family who are very anxious to meet you and I am sure they will fall as deeply in love with you as I am.
This past month we have taken you on several outings. Of course, we've been to the pediatrician a couple of times, Mom and I have taken you out on a few shopping adventures, you went to your first Junior League meeting, went to church for the first time, and you made your first visit to Mom and Pops' house.  You seem to enjoy riding in the car, but you don't like getting into the carseat and you definitely don't have patience for red lights!  Mom has taught me how to make the car "bump" while we're stuck at a light and you seem to be more pleased with that bumping motion.  You have been a great shopper already and I look forward to many more afternoons shopping with you and Mom.  Your first visit to Mom and Pops' house was for the Super Bowl and what an exciting one it was!  Who would have believed that the Saints would finally win a Super Bowl.  You were the hit of the Super Bowl party and were such a good girl.  You seemed to enjoy everyone holding you and I think you liked all the noise of the party. 
I have dreamed all my life of being a momma and you have made it come true.  I so love being your momma and can't wait for all the things that we will do together.  I am so fortunate to have you as my sweet baby girl.
Love,
Momma

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Today Sarah Graves went to church for the first time.  She received ashes and a blessing at communion in addition to all the comments on how adorable she is.  She was really good during the service!

Baby Shot!

Here's what Sarah Graves has been up to this week:
Hard for an exhausted parent to believe, but not all of your newborn's cries are alike these days. Your 3-week-old baby now has different sobs to communicate different needs: short and low-pitched when hungry (accompanied by frantic finger sucking and rooting); intermittent fussiness and whimpering when bored; and continuous and whiny when uncomfortable or overtired. Learn by observation (and through trial and error) to tell them apart and respond accordingly, and you may actually be able to cut down on your baby's daily crying time. In other words, crack down on crying by cracking the crying code.

These days, your baby is also keeping busy (and keeping you busy) with lots of bodily activities, some entertaining, some not so much: spitting up (pretty soon you won't even notice that sour milk smell, or the yellow stains on all of your clothes and the formerly pristine little baby clothes), passing gas (what an adorable whoopee cushion you have!), and having explosive diaper blowouts (in case you haven't experienced one yet: they're the kind of BMs that don't stay put in the diaper).
And while older babies are known for their smooth complexions, three-week-olds definitely aren't. Among the conditions that may be keeping the skin your baby's in colorful but less-than-flawless: red zits and whiteheads (didn't expect those until middle school at least?), pink diaper rashes, flaky yellow cradle cap, and purplish mottling (not to worry — it's just a sign of your baby's immature circulation). Fortunately, all these skin imperfections are temporary (some like the pimples and mottling will go away on their own — others like diaper rash and cradle cap will respond well to treatment) — which means that clear baby skin is just around the corner (no Clearasil necessary).
On the developmental front, your baby is both more interested and more interesting. With improved concentration and focusing skills, your three-week-old is all eyes — and is using those eyes to take in his or her surroundings in a much more sophisticated way. Complex shapes will be more engaging than simple ones, so ditch the circles and bring on the zigzags. Another skill your baby's probably picked up: being able to track things as they move. Put this skill to the test by trying this experiment: Wave a scarf, soft toy, or a spinning mobile slowly around baby's head and watch as those eager little eyes follow every movement.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Swaddle Me

The swaddle me (a.k.a. baby straightjacket) has been a huge help.  It has velco on it to keep it snug around her arms so that they can't get free, which prevents her from bringing her arms up and startling herself.  We have been using this to swaddle her since we were in the hospital and it has worked so well! Swaddling her in a receiving blanket just doesn't do enough to keep her arms in.  She is like a little houdini and can find a way to get her arm free!  The other great thing about it is that it makes her very compact, so she is easy to handle when swaddled so snug.  I also like knowing that she is nice and warm and covered up when she is asleep. 
I only use it now at night because I don't want to overuse it and have it not work as well!  We have 4 of these and one of them is always in the wash.  The only drawback is that it starts to ride up and form what we refer to as her turtleneck. 
Anybody who has seen "Happiest Baby on the Block" understands how important swaddling is to newborn contentment and this is very helpful in that.  By the way, Dr. Karp's recommendations on how to comfort your newborn really do work!  I have been so happy that we have something to try when she does get a little fussy.
I will definitely be giving the swaddle me as a baby gift from now on!

The Vaccine Debate

I have been struggling for a while now about what to do about vaccines for Sarah Graves.  Aaron and I agree that she needs to have some of the major ones, but after that we aren't sure what to do. 
I talked to a family friend who is an Ob/Gyn in Louisiana and he recommended a book on vaccines by Dr. Stephanie Cave.  Who would believe that she specializes in treating autism spectrum disorder in Baton Rouge!  I read the book last week (in all the spare time I have :) ) and learned of all the research out there on adverse reactions to vaccines and possible linkages between vaccines and autism as well as autoimmune disorders.  Her book convinced me that vaccines have to have some role in all of this.
The possible linkage with autoimmune disorders really scares me.  In her book she describes studies that have found that certain vaccines may increase the likelihood of a child developing insulin dependent diabetes, asthma, crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and guillain barre syndrome.  Jeanne' has guillain barre and I know how that can impact a person's life. The risk of Sarah Graves developing one of those makes me anxious.
Dr. Cave recommends an alternative vaccine schedule.  Her schedule delays the first vaccine until age 5 months and then she would get only one vaccine at a time.  Dr. Cave also recommends checking the blood titers to determine if she has immunity after the first round of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and only give the booster if she doesn't have immunity.  One major problem with Dr. Cave's schedule is that she recommends splitting up the MMR so that a separate vaccine is given for each disease rather than the combination of all 3 at once; however, the manufacturer no longer makes the separate vaccines.  I called Dr. Cave's office and got her email address to inquire about what she now recommends parents do for the MMR.
As nervous as I am about potential side effects, it also makes me anxious to think of her developing something like whooping cough because we delayed giving the vaccine to her in order to give her immune system more time to develop and mature. 
Mom and I met with a pediatrician yesterday who is willing to use an alternative vaccine schedule.  In other words, deviate from what the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend.  The CDC's schedule would have her receive 5 vaccines at her 2 months appointment.  I have a lot of fears about giving her so many vaccines at one time.  However, the pediatrician definitely believes that the recommended schedule is safe and the way to protect against some really harmful diseases.  If we stay with Dr. Fleming, who I really like, we have to use the prescribed vaccine schedule with no alterations.  Everyone tells me that they vaccinated their kids on the CDC's schedule and it was all fine, but that doesn't guarantee that my baby will be fine. 
I can't decide what would be the best thing to do.  She is so little and perfect and I just don't want to risk anything happening to her.  Then again, we have to make a decision and move forward with it.  I really wish that I never knew there was any way other than the CDC's vaccine schedule and I wouldn't find myself struggling with this decision. 
Anybody have an opinion?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

We're enjoying the day at home with our little valentine.  I am so happy to have a husband who is kind and gentle, and let's me be who I am.  I am definitely lucky to have what I believe is the best baby girl ever. 
I hope everyone is having a sweet Valentine's day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Lucy!

Today Lucy turns 3!  Who would have imagined that I would have a 3 year old and a 3 week old to love.  Lucy continues to be an adoring big sister.  Sarah Graves has not returned the affection, but she will soon enough!

Winter Wonderland

We had several inches of snow last night, so we are here with a winter wonderland.  In a few years it would be exciting to take her out to play in the snow, but today it is all about keeping her warm and cozy.  Here's the view at our house:

Staying snug and warm.
Just hanging out.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Oh the places she'll go!

Before Sarah Graves was born we debated using cloth or disposable diapers and one of Aaron's concerns about cloth diapers was that they may leak.  We have put the decision on hold while we use up the disposable diapers that we already had, but the other night Sarah Graves gave her Daddy a special spot to sleep when her diaper leaked on his side of the bed!  She left a lovely wet spot that he was not very fond of.  I absolutely could not quit laughing because I thought it was so funny!  I'm sure this made Aaron feel so much better.  It seems that no diaper is leak proof!
I may not have had a wet spot in bed, but I have had my share of being peed or pooped on.  The funniest was while we were taking some pictures of her all curled up with her cute little behind exposed and as I was holding her getting ready for the picture she began to poop.  Mom quickly got a towel and we began trying to stop the mess.  Then as we thought we had it under control, she began peeing and it was spraying everywhere in our bathroom.  We all had a good laugh over that one.  Who knew bodily functions could be so amusing!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Baby Shot!

Here's what has ben happening for Sarah Graves during her second week.
At the two week mark, your baby may experience a major growth spurt, which is probably why he or she seems to eat around the clock. If you weren't exhausted during the first two weeks of parenthood, rest assured (though without that rest) you certainly will be now as your 2-week-old baby demands more of your time, attention, and milk. But at least your hard work in the feeding department is paying off, since your baby is likely gaining weight at a rapid clip, filling out that once-scrawny frame with round, dimpled curves.
The Crying Game
Not only is your baby better and better at eating, he or she may also be getting better and better at crying (and who would have thought there was room for improvement in that department!). As you've already discovered, babies usually cry to communicate their needs — and most often will stop crying when those needs are met (though for crying out loud, some crying is just for the sake of crying…lung practice anyone?). But some newborns — 15 to 20 percent — have prolonged, inconsolable crying fits, often beginning in the early evening and lasting at least three hours. Known as colic, such crying generally starts at about three weeks of age, peaks at six weeks, and stops pretty suddenly after about three months. No one knows for sure what causes colic, but it's been linked to immature digestion, reflux, sensory overload (at this age, babies haven't developed the ability to tune out when they've had enough sights and sounds), and milk supply problems (the crying occurs most often at the end of the day, when Mom is more likely to be running low).
Soothing Strategies for Baby
While it's heartbreaking to hear your little one wail for hours at a time, there are some steps you can take to help soothe your baby, such as swaddling, rocking, applying pressure to your baby's belly by holding him or her with your hand under the chin and arm under the belly, or having some noise in the background, like a running vacuum or dryer (or even just your voice whispering shhh, shhh, over and over again). And you can take some comfort in the knowledge that babies with colic thrive just as well as babies who cry only a little (though their parents are often a little worse for the wear, right?).
Predictable Patterns
Crying's not the only item on the agenda this week. By week's end, your baby's muscle control is looking a little more mature, making those movements a bit more fluid than they were when you first brought your newborn home. Sleeping patterns are slightly more predictable (but don't get used to them; they'll change soon enough). Also, babies now have periods of quiet alert time, where they stay both awake and aware, taking in the world around them. (This quiet-alert frame of mind is actually the best time for one-on-one socializing, so sing, coo, talk, and play with your baby). Give your baby black-and-white images, bold lines, and shapes to look at. You can also let your little one check out that beautiful baby face in a baby-proof mirror. Babies don't know at this point that it's their own reflection, but they like what they see.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Who Dat!

We had a busy weekend at our house.  Aaron's Dad and his wife came to see Sarah Graves.  They oohed and aahed just the way we hoped grandparents would.  She will need some time to grow into it, but they brought her a Louisiana Tech cheerleader outfit that has her name monogrammed on it and everything!  She is sure to be a fan!  We are so happy that they were able to make a trip to see her and hope they will come back soon.
We also took Sarah Graves for her first visit to Mom and Pops' house, she attended her first party, and watched her first Super Bowl.  She thoroughly enjoyed the party and was quite a hit.  I think she enjoyed the noise and of course, loved being held by everyone! 
My Aunt Brenda was in town and just ate her up as did Ms. Pauline.
What better way to start life than seeing the Saints win their first Super Bowl!  Sarah Graves says "Who Dat!"

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Nighttime may be the best time

I hear a lot of people complain about the 3 AM feedings with a new baby, and I understand the exhaustion and the desire to be in bed asleep, but there is something so special and sweet about being up with her in those wee hours.  Last night when she finished nursing on one side she dramatically pulled her head away then let it flop back on my breast as she usually does when she is finished.  Then, she opened her eyes and looked at me and gave me a smile for a brief second before drifting off again.  It's moments like those that will always make me grateful to have the chance to nurse her and be the one there with her in those moments. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Video


I wanted to try out adding videos to the blog.  We'll keep practicing with taking videos.

Who's Your Daddy?

When you look at these pictures there is no doubting that she is her father's daughter.  They even share the same facial expressions, especially the eyebrow lift. 
I love seeing both of their faces! 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Birthday

Today is my birthday and it couldn't have been sweeter.  Mom came over and took Sarah Graves and I out for an outing to walk around the mall and grab a bite of lunch.  It is nice to have a reason to get dressed and get going.  Then Aaron brought home pizza, roses, and baked me a birthday cake.  With my sweet girl in my arms, it's a dream come true. 
Thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pediatrician Update

We went for a visit with Dr. Fleming yesterday to check on Sarah Graves' growth.  She weighed 7 pounds 15 ounces last Tuesday and at our appointment yesterday she weighed 8 pounds 12 ounces.  That's a gain of 13 ounces in 1 week!  Babies should gain about an ounce a day, so I think it's safe to say that she is nursing well!  We are now able to let her go longer than 3 hours between feedings at night.  That is, if she desires to. 
She also checked her heart and lungs and all of that looks good too.  We will go back for our next check-up in a few weeks when she is a month old.   
Here's a picture of baby girl at her new weight!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Baby Shot!

A one-week-old baby is a marvel to behold... and hear. Here's what your newborn is up to.

What a difference a week makes in the life of a 1-week-old baby! By the end of this week, your little bundle of joy is a bigger bundle — having likely regained all the weight lost during those first few days — and is probably peeing and pooping like a pro (peeing often… and pooping all over the place). Those survival reflexes you've heard about are getting put to good use these days: Your baby is rooting (instinctively looking for your breast or the bottle), sucking like there's no tomorrow (or no next feeding), grasping your finger, blinking (someone turn down those lights!), startling whenever there's a loud noise, and even assuming the fencing pose (en garde!) — though experts aren't quite sure why babies carry that one in their bag of reflexive tricks.

Crying is Communication
Another trick up your baby's onesie sleeve: crying…a lot. Crying is a baby's first form of communication. Long before words can say "I'm hungry" or "I'm wet and uncomfortable" or "I'm lonely and I need a cuddle," crying can speak volumes to parents — ensuring that those basic needs get met in a timely way (as in, "I know you just fed me two hours ago — but guess what? I'm hungry again!"). Sure, it's hard on your ears, your nerves, and your sleep schedule (sleep — what's that?), especially when it seems like all you're doing is feeding your baby to try to stop the crying, holding your baby to try to stop the crying, changing your baby to try to stop the crying, and repeating. One simple trick of the parenting trade (see…your baby's not the only one with tricks) that may bring some comfort to your little one (and some peace and quiet to your house) is swaddling. Wrapping your newborn in a light, snug blanket brings memories of the safety and comfort of your womb, and may result in less between-feeding crying.

Baby's Blue Eyes
What else is your baby doing this week? Gazing into your eyes — that's for sure. Your baby can focus on objects that are eight to 14 inches away now — just the right distance to see you during a feeding (so put down that magazine or that to-do list and make some eye contact). When your eyes do meet, you'll notice that your baby's eye color is blue or grey — but not necessarily for long. It's still anybody's guess what that eye color will ultimately end up — and you'll be kept guessing until around six months, when your baby finally settles on a hue.