Email us


Feeding Tips for Preemies

Bringing Your Preemie Home

Tips for Buying & Making Preemie Clothes

Tips on Preemie Development

Baby Showers for Preemies

How to Help Parents of Preemies


Recommended Books on Preemies


Anastasia's first year (2005)

Eating & Reflux (year 2, 2006)

Back to Sleep! (2007)

And Zane, Too (2008)

Allergies & Getting Big (2009)

Starting School (2010)

It's All Good (2011)

search Miracle Baby









September 2008


September 1, 2008

In this family, we seldom have the opportunity to rest on Labor Day. This year was no exception. I worked on the nursery while my hubby watched Miss A. and tried to catch up on our wood pile. Our sole winter heat is wood, and this summer we've been so busy, our wood isn't ready yet.

What we didn't expect was that Anastasia would insist on helping to stack the wood. We don't like to discourage her from helping, so she worked hard, right beside her daddy. We were amazed not only at how enthusiastically she worked, but at how much she accomplished. In total, she put about two wheelbarrow's worth of wood in the barrow or in her daddy's hands. We were worried she would get too exhausted, so my hubby made an excuse: "I'm tired! Let's go take a break!" She beamed when we told her how proud we were of her.

It wasn't cold enough to wear mittens, but I put them on to protect her hands. Then she rediscovered her knitted gloves that I tried so hard to get her to wear last winter. Remember how afraid of them she was? Well, this afternoon she put them on, and I couldn't get her to take them off until bedtime.


September 7, 2008

Baby Zane seems to be doing really well. He's pretty darn active (admittedly, I have little to compare him to), and his kicks are sometimes pretty startling. Last week I dreamed he was wearing tennis shoes inside me :)

My amniotic fluid level remains on the high side of normal (which makes the doctors watchful), and Zane's heartbeat is great. My gestational diabetes seems to be under control; I'm feeling better, despite the fact that I'm working really hard on writing, the nursery, and trying to get the house ready in general. I do sometimes get Braxon Hicks contractions when I push myself physically; last week I had 6 contractions in an hour and ten minutes or so. Since I'm supposed to call my doctor if I get 6 in an hour, I laid down and had lots of water until they went away.

Miss A. is on overload, I think. There's been a tremendous amount of excitement, anticipation, and change for her in the last month. She's been coping with her birthday, a toddler bed, things being moved all over the house, cleaning, painting, and suddenly getting used to being babysat a couple of times a week. She's bee pretty sensitive, grumpy, and whiny. I'm glad we decided to hold off on potty training for a while, even though I cringe at the thought of buying two boxes of diapers at a time once baby Zane is born.

Apparently, Anastasia really did appreciate all my efforts for her birthday party. Last week she said, "Mommy, if you put on your apron, you can make me a cake." (The only time she's seen me wear an apron was when I made her birthday cake.) And then, "Could you make me a party?" So we explained that soon we'll have a party for baby brother, with a cake and a few balloons. I told her she could help me open presents. She's pretty excited.

I wonder if she'll expect to have a party every month now.

Miss A.'s also been a real pain to get to bed. She resists naps like mad, even though she starts saying "I'm not tired. I don't need a nap..." hours before naptime. Still, she stays in her bed, and if I turn down her baby monitor, I can at least tape a nap. Bedtime is even worse. She's a master at delay tactics. She'll ask for juice. Or food. Or "one more story." Or keep adding more and more onto her prayer until she's asking God to bless the paint on the walls. Then, as I'm saying my last goodnights to her and shutting her door, she'll find all sorts of questions to ask me. But once that's all done, she usually falls asleep promptly.

Oh, and one last little tid-bit from last week. As we passed a large power transmission tower while driving the other day, Miss A. pointed to it and cried: "Is that the Eiffel Tower?!"

September 10, 2008

On Monday, I saw my OB for my regularly-scheduled fetal monitoring. After twenty minutes of being strapped to the monitoring machine, the nurse came in and said, "Hmmm...His heart rate is kind of low and flat." So she gave me a glass of water and after another twenty minutes, my doctor came in. The water, apparently, woke baby Zane up, because after I drank it, his heart made some nice rises and falls, which is what they like to see. I even had a couple of Braxton Hicks contractions show up on my monitoring (which is just fine). I asked the doctor why the water helped. "We have no idea. It's voodoo," she said.

I also asked her about some numbness I've had in my fingers, which makes things like sewing difficult. She said it's probably carpal tunnel, which isn't uncommon in pregnant women, and tends to be worse among pregnant women who have diabetes. "It will probably go away within 6 weeks after you give birth," she said. If not, I'll have to see my MD about it.

Then today, I had an ultrasound and saw the high risk pregnancy doctor. Just outside the door of his office, Miss A. was speaking in loud, excited tones. Her daddy told her to use her quiet voice, but just as we entered the doctor's office, she said loudly, "I need to talk!" Everyone in the waiting room looked up and grinned.

As we waited on the doctor, Anastasia informed us, "I'm growing up this year." Later, she discovered some older ladies in the room (my doctor shares his office with his wife, who is an oncologist), and was instantly attracted by their glittery shirts and jewelry. It cracked them up that Anastasia immediately identified and admired the diamond necklace one of them was wearing.

Then I had an ultrasound. My amniotic fluid levels are okay and Zane looks healthy. Although he's largish (about 6 lbs. 2 oz. and in the 67th percentile for a 35 weeker...This doctor still insists he's a week older than my OB likes to think), his size has grown steadily and hasn't had bursts.

When I saw the doctor, it wasn't the man I've normally seen during this pregnancy. It was his partner--a man who kept telling us during my pregnancy with Anastasia that we should abort her. I wasn't looking forward to seeing him. Today, he was friendly enough, but he tends to get a worried, wrinkled brow, which reminded me all too much of how he looked when I was pregnant with Miss A. Today, the look passed his face a few times, and I couldn't help but tense up, waiting for horrible news from him.

But there was no horrible news. He says my blood sugar levels are "beautiful," which is nice feedback. (If you read up on gestational diabetes, you quickly learn doctors don't agree on what "good" blood sugar levels are in pregnant women. So far, nobody had said anything except that my numbers were "borderline.")

I'd been wondering if I was supposed to continue with the medicine once baby Zane was born, but the doctor said no. (Which is good, because you're not supposed to take glyburide while nursing.) He said he felt sure my blood sugars would go back to normal within 6 weeks postpartum.

He also expressed concern about the date of my scheduled C-section (October 17th). He feels the baby is so consistently biggish that my OB's estimation for his gestation must be wrong. "I'm afraid you'll go into labor before the 17th," he said. He feels strongly enough about it, he's going to call my OB and suggest she move my C-section date up a week.

I'm not sure what the complications are if you go into labor before you have a C-section, but my gut instinct is to go with the earlier gestational age. I'd rather let Zane bake a little long than risk having him born too early and end up with NICU time. But I'm willing to let the doctors hash this one out.

I worked extra hard last week so I wouldn't have to do any writing this week. Either Anastasia or I have a doctor's appointment every day this week, and I wanted to give Miss A. some extra attention. Indeed, she must have needed it because she's been on my lap most of the time. :) Earlier in the week I told her, "Anastasia, Mommy doesn't have to write any articles this week! Won't that be nice?" About an hour later, as she finished her breakfast, I hopped online to check my email. Her instant reaction was, "Mommy! You're not writing articles today!" It made me feel kinda sad.

A friend of mine asked me yesterday if I was "going crazy" with housework. She knows Zane's baby shower is this weekend at my house...and she also knows I gave up on all housework except dishes and laundry a couple of months ago. I told her I was only going to mop my floor, but that turned out to be a lie because today I cleaned our carpets. (Trust me, they really needed it!) Of course, this brought on quite a few Braxton Hicks contractions. As I told my mother the other day, walking around the neighborhood doesn't bother me at all, but every time I do housework, I get contractions! :D


September 11, 2008

Unbelievably, I forgot to mention that yesterday during the 3D ultrasound, we had our first glimpse at baby Zane's smile. I can't say for certain why he was smiling, of course, but I did note that Miss A. was singing "The Itsy Bitzy Spider" (rather loudly) at that moment...

Today Anastasia had her three year checkup. It's the first time she's been to the doctor and not received a shot. We'd read her "going to the doctor" books before hand (Corduroy Goes to the Doctor and The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor), and she was really pretty excited to go. She wanted to be sure to wear her sunglasses, and a headband, and carry her purse. As soon as we parked at the doctor's office, she was begging to go inside. We check in, and when she saw the toys in the waiting room, she literally squealed with delight.

She did terrific when she was weighed and measured, and only cried once during the entire appointment: when the nurse took her blood pressure. She recovered from that quickly, however.

The doctor wasn't the least concerned that Miss A. isn't potty trained, and said that while our girl is petite (36 inches high, 28 lbs., and in the 25th percentile), she is proportional. She had minor concern about her gross motor skills (Anastasia can't jump yet...although she does do messy somersaults!).

We also asked about encouraging Miss A. to keep her fingers out of her nose. Honestly, she has a special talent for making even her knuckles disappear up there, then giving herself a nose bleed. The doctor suggested a small toy (like a Beanie Baby), and encouraging her to pet it or squeeze it as an alternative. (Rather like our solution of giving Anastasia a special blanket to pull on at night, instead of her hair.) We've never seen Anastasia bite her nails before, but she did do this when the doctor first started talking to her.

When it was time to leave, Anastasia cried, "I need to stay! I need to stay!" That made the staff crack up. They don't hear that very often.

When we got home, we asked Miss A. whether she remembered her doctor from when she was younger. She said yes...and we believe her. Those were some pretty traumatic visits in those days.


September 14, 2008

A few Anastasia anecdotes:

* (After loosing part of a toy:) "I can't find it. I'm so miserable!"

* (Trying to shield her eyes from the glaring sun:) "The sun is killing me!"

* (When her grandma appeared for the baby shower:) "Gran'ma, did you bring me a birthday present??"

* "Can I have just a little piece of baby brover's birthday cake???"

Although I explained several times that the baby shower was not a birthday party, Miss A. had a hard time understanding that :) She was so excited to be having another party, she hardly slept the night before. She loved the balloons, the food (especially the cake), and helping Mommy open presents. And every time we opened a box of baby clothes, she'd squeal as if they were clothes for her. (At one point, she tried to put on a pair of newborn, footed pants...)

Most times, she also turned to the person who gave the gift and said, "Oh thank you!"

(And yes; thank you to everyone who came and helped us celebrate baby Zane!)

Earlier in the day, the gently used raincoat I'd bought Anastasia off eBay (complete with leopard lining and little leopard-skin kittens along the hem) arrived. Miss A. loved it so much, she wanted to wear it all day. It was in the 80s.

Today, Miss A. made us cry, instead of laugh. I think she has a hard time pooping when away from home (as she was a lot of last week), or when excited. She hadn't gone in in about 5 days, so this morning we had to resort to giving her Fleet--something we haven't had to do in at least a year. She must have remembered the stuff, because my hubby had to hold her down while I administered it. She said, "Please, Mommy, don't do it! Don't do it!" She begged for cream for her bottom instead, and I tried to explain that cream is for diaper rash only. She was so tense, the first one didn't "take," so we had to repeat the enema.

The good news is, it worked the second time, and she's feeling much better.

September 19, 2008

Well, the doctors have hashed it out and we're keeping my original delivery date (Oct. 17th). My OB said she explained her thinking to my perintologist (who, incidentally, is the former head of staff at the hospital and a somewhat known medical researcher, to boot) and he said, "Okay, that sounds reasonable." :D

Today's ultrasound revealed all good things. Baby Zane's growth is steady; he weighs approximately 6 lbs. 5 oz.. He's kicking plenty, and his heart rate is good. My level of amniotic fluid has gone down--which is normal at this stage of pregnancy. I had a little protein in my urine, but this is probably due to the fact that I had food poisoning last night (lots of throwing up, which causes dehydration...and therefore protein in the urine). My blood pressure is so excellent, my OB isn't worried that I have pregnancy-related high blood pressure, for which protein can also be an indicator.

Miss A. has a bit of a cold, but so far, hubby and I have managed to keep clear of it. She reminded me today of how literal I need to be with her. My mom was talking to her about going to the hospital when Zane is born, and suddenly an apprehensive look overcame Anastasia's face.

"Honey," I said, "you won't be like Curious George. You won't have to stay in the hospital. You're going to be like the man in the yellow hat. You're just going to visit in the hospital." It hadn't occurred to me that she might think she'd be staying overnight in the hospital! (Let alone having surgery and such, like her favorite monkey!)


September 20, 2008

A conversation this afternoon:

"Anastasia, take off Mommy's new shoes. They're too big for you. You'll trip and fall. Besides, I haven't even had a chance to wear them yet."

Miss A.: "No, I need to wear them."

Me: "Take them off now and put them away."

Miss A. (after doing so): "I need mine red shoes."

"Okay. You know where they are. Go ahead and put them on."

Miss A. (beginning to cry): "I need to wear mine red shoes."

Me: "They're under your bed. Go get them and I'll help you put them on."

Miss A. (sobbing now): "I need mine new red shoes!"

Me: "You don't have any new shoes, honey."

Miss A. (lots of tears rolling down her face): "I need to wear mine new red shoes!"

Me: "Your red shoes are under you bed. Go get them, and I can help you put them on."

Miss A. (the world is coming to an end now): "I need mine new red shoes in mine closet!"

Me: "In your closet? You don't have any red shoes in your closet." (Miss A. sobs some more.) "Why don't you show me?" (We walk to her closet and I open the door.)

Miss A. (pointing): "Dere! I need mine red shoes!"

"Do you mean these tennis shoes with the fuchsia pink trim?" (Miss A. nods "yes") "Honey, those are two sizes too big for you. If you wear them, you'll trip and fall and hurt yourself."

Miss A. (tears still streaming): "I need mine boots!"

Me: "No; rain boots are for wearing outside when it's raining or snowing."

Miss A.: "Hug me, Mommy!"

Oooooh myyyyy...

She wasn't being bratty. She was just really, genuinely upset. Certainly the main reason is fatigue. (She's still on nap strike, and although I make her lay down in her bed for an hour each day--mostly so I can nap!--it's just not the same. Especially when she has a cold.)

But I also think she was upset because I got new shoes and she didn't.

The weather turned grey and fall-ish today. I've been in a funk. I feel so trapped inside the house. Normally, if the weather is halfway decent, I take Anastasia on walks, to the park, to the library...But we haven't done much walking because of my pregnancy. (My doctor agreed it was best to keep exercise at a minimum.) Since we are a one-vehicle family, that means I don't go much of anywhere. I haven't even had an opportunity to chat with other mothers at playgroups. :( And soon winter will be here.

It doesn't help that both hubby and I have been all work and no play lately, trying to prepare for winter and baby Zane's arrival. We really need a vacation, but have neither the time nor the means for one.

But before I get to feeling too sorry for myself, I have to remember how thrilled I am that this pregnancy has been, basically, "normal." Despite the bump of having gestational diabetes, I am enjoying the awkwardness and heaviness of having a third trimester. It's all new to me, and I am thankful!

September 21, 2008

For the second time in two days, I slept forever. Friday night, I went to bed at 6:30 pm and woke up at 7:30 am. Then I took a one hour nap! Last night I went to bed at 9pm and woke up at 9am this morning (thanks to my hubby taking over the care of Miss A.). "Why am I so tired?" I asked my hubby. "Well, not only are you catching up on your rest after missing so much the night you had food poisoning, and not only are you probably fighting off the cold Anastasia has, but--oh yeah!--you're 35 weeks pregnant!" I guess he's right :)

Once I did wake up, Miss A. and I had a conversation about shoes again. She wanted to know if Daddy had new shoes. "No, he doesn't," I said.

"Does he want new shoes?" Miss A. said.

"I don't think so," I replied. "Do you want new shoes?"


So I explained why I bought new shoes (the only other pair I have that I can put on right now are sandals, and sandals don't work so great when it's raining outside). "And you're about to outgrow your shoes. When your feet get too big for all the shoes you have, then I'll buy you some new ones."

This seemed to satisfy her.

Then we had a pretty eventful day. First, we went to Daddy's toy store (the tool store), then to Anastasia's toy store (a "real" toy store, where we bought baby Zane's car seat and Miss A. a train set with a gift card she'd received for her birthday), then we went to Mommy's toy store (the book store...If I can't get out much, then I at least the mental stimulation of some new books!). Then we had lunch and went grocery shopping. Miss A. loved it all, of course, but I think her favorite part was not the toy store, but eating out at a restaurant. She was getting her arms out from her car seat straps before we could even reach back and unbuckle her! We can't often afford the expense of eating out, but it was really nice to do so as a family.

That's a lot of exciting stuff for Miss A., who isn't used to going so many places in one day. On the way home, she actually fell asleep in her car seat. She hasn't done that in well over a year! Unfortunately, she didn't sleep long once her daddy put her to bed. I can hear her now, saying, "I'm not tired. I can't go to bed yet."


September 22, 2008

Poor Miss A.'s cold got much worse last night. She spent a great deal of time coughing--and moaning because she couldn't sleep because of the cough. A little Vick's Vapor Rub on her chest helped a tiny bit, I think. Tonight I will try the old-time remedy of rubbing it into her feet and then covering them with socks. I'm also going to try to elevate her head a little somehow.

All the coughing kept me up last night (just when I was feeling all caught up on my rest). I just hope nobody is still sick when baby Zane comes home.

Although all Miss A. feels like doing just now is watching Little Bear, she spent most of the morning playing with her new train set.

I'm really impressed with this train set. It's perfect for preschoolers, but will hold Anastasia's interest for several years. It's also just plain cool--complete with an easy-to-use remote control. Best of all, while it offers some challenges to Miss A., she can use it without adult help. It's a GeoTrax set by Fischer-Price.

A few days ago, I also pulled out a beautiful set of architectural blocks (similar to these) from Anastasia's closet. They were a Christmas gift last year from her grandma, but I couldn't get her very interested in them. In fact, despite the fact that I try hard to encourage the use of blocks (because they are linked to better math skills), and despite the fact that I've given Miss A. basic square blocks and several sets of different Duplo blocks, Anastasia has never played with them much. But suddenly these architectural blocks were fascinating to her, and she built her first building without any help at all.


September 24, 2008

Miss A., while talking to her grandma about her new train set: "I like it. Now I need a motorcycle."

When asked how she slept: "Oh, about twenty minutes."

While riding her wheely bug: "Bye, Mommy! See you in two weeks!"

Now both Anastasia and I are sick. She suffers the most; last night she had a coughing fit that lasted at least an hour. I'm putting Vicks Vapor Rub on her chest and feet. I don't know that it really helps, but she seems to find it soothing. The head of her bed is elevated, and I get up at least once a night to offer her something to drink, plus from fresh Vicks. How I wish cough syrup actually worked!


September 25, 2008

Anastasia and I have been working on some autumn activities. Following an idea I found at KinderPlans, I made a simple poster listing things that are fall-ish: falling leaves, pumpkins, scarecrows, that kind of thing. There are also some more mature concepts, like hibernation (which Miss A. already knew about), migration, and harvesting. When explaining what harvesting is, I said, "That's when you harvest, or pick, vegetables and fruits from the plants."

Now that she understands these concepts, we read the poster together. I say, "Fall is a time for--" and Miss A. completes the sentence by telling me what the corresponding clip art picture is. She does very well, even getting migration right most of the time, but when I get to the part where she should say "harvesting," it goes like this:

Me: "Fall is a time for--"

Miss A.: "Stealing!"

Once I stopped laughing, I tried to imagine why on earth she'd say "stealing" instead of "harvesting," I figure it's because we've talking about how picking flowers and berries from other people's yards is stealing. I love the way her 3 year old mind works!

Speaking of which, the other day we were walking outside when she said, "Mommy, is it cold?"

"No, honey. It's warm out today."

"But I have a cold."

"Ah, yes you do..." and from there we talked about how one word can have more than one meaning.

"Yes," Miss A. concluded, "like 'bee' and 'B'!"

I was impressed!


September 27, 2008

On Friday, I saw the doctor who delivered Anastasia, instead of my regular OB (who was out of the office). It was brief; he was the only doctor in the office (because of a conference) and he just took a look at my ultrasound and fetal monitoring results to make sure baby Zane was okay. Even so, I gave him a quick update on Miss A. He also confirmed that he's scheduled to assist with my C-section.

Interestingly, he said, "You're not getting your tubes tied, are you?" (It's common to do that at the same time you have a C-section.) I told him no, that my hubby was getting a vasectomy. "Oh good," he said. I wish I'd had more time with him, because I would have liked to hear why he felt a vasectomy is better. Personally, I was concerned about possible side effects with a tubal. I think they are rare, but since I tend to get rare "female stuff," I just didn't want to go there. (For those of you not familiar with this topic, you can start at Tubal.org. There are better documented sources of info, but this gives a concise representation of the potential problems.)

Anyway, Zane looked good. He is approximately 6 lbs. 12 oz., which puts him in the 69th percentile. My amniotic fluid, which was on the high side of normal, is now on the low side of normal...but at this stage of the pregnancy, it's appropriate for the fluid to drop. It's also important to note that all measurements done by ultrasound are only approximate.

Unfortunately, though, I'm thinking I'm going to need more medication to control my gestational diabetes. My numbers have been on the high side, even though I'm eating as I have been. I'm also really puffy. Even though I see the high risk pregnancy doctor on Monday, my poor hubby is worried. I think he thinks my placenta will just suddenly go kaput sometime this weekend. So I'm paying special attention to how active Zane is.

Miss A. continues to be sick. Last night, she coughed for an hour and a half straight. We're going to try a vaporizer tonight, I think. If that doesn't help, I'll call her pediatrician's office and see if they have any recommendations. We had plans to go to two parties today, but I'm keeping Anastasia at home. She and I both need rest to get well.

September 29, 2008

Anastasia was on the brink of needing to go to a speech therapist when she finally decided to start talking, so we're thankful she's now an advanced speaker. However, there are times when visions of duct tape dance in our heads.

Miss A. talks virtually constantly from the moment she wakes up until she finally falls asleep at night. (And sometimes she talks in her sleep, too!) There are often times we put her to bed only to hear her chatter to herself for a half hour or so. We joke that on those days, she didn't get her required number of words in for the day. But last night, she was awake for hours, laying in her bed talking. She was actually keeping us awake! We had to go into her room several times to encourage her to be quiet and sleep.

Another frequent problem with her talking happens at meal times. She wants to talk for a half hour or more before she even touches her food. And often, not knowing what else to say, she'll ask the same question over and over again. (Like, "Mommy, what are you eating?") Oy.

Anastasia does seem to be sleeping a bit better with the vaporizer. She's still getting one coughing fit per night, but after I get up and give her a drink of water and some fresh Vicks Vapor Rub, the cough disappears. Unfortunately, last night I was unable to go back to sleep after our little Vicks session. I found myself thinking about Miss A.'s first year of life, and all the difficulties she experienced. Then I couldn't help but imagine what baby Zane's first year will be like. I'm sure it will seem he's growing up much faster. Remember, Miss A. couldn't even sit up or crawl by her first birthday. But I think one of the biggest differences - for me, at least - will be feedings.

When I look back on Miss A's difficulties, I think the one that was most stressful was her feedings. If you'll recall, she never learned to breastfeed, and it was extremely difficult to get her to take a bottle. After I went to bed at night, I awoke three hours later, fixed a bottle of breastmilk or formula, then tried to get her to drink it. Like a typical preemie, she wanted to sleep, not eat. Her feedings were a frustrating 40 to 45 minutes. Then I put her down and walked into another room to use the breast pump for about 20 minutes. I then stored the milk and cleaned up all the bottles. Then back to bed I went. Two hours later, it was time to start all over again. After nine months, my milk ran dry, so I got a bit more sleep, but I didn't sleep through the night until Miss A. was almost two years old.

Now I realize all babies bring their mothers sleep deprivation, but there is sleep deprivation and there is sleep deprivation. I was pretty darn miserable and it took many months for me to recover. (Sometimes I think I still haven't quite recovered!) So I am definitely looking forward to "normal" feedings!

Just think: This Thursday, baby Zane will be 37 weeks gestation. That means even if he decides to come before he is scheduled, he won't be a preemie. Wow. WOW! God is so good.

I'm still fighting with this cold, but overall I feel better. Suddenly, my blood sugar numbers got better. I have no idea why, but all my puffiness is gone, and I feel more healthy. I'm not sleeping well, but one look at my belly will tell you why that is :)