4 months old (chronological)
1 month old (adjusted)
10 lb even
~21 inches long
Casey has been eating every three hours. That's three hours from the start of her first mealtime (before I was a parent, I never knew that). Just this past week, she's started to stretch it out to 4 hours more consistently. Her nutritionist also took her down from 3 formula bottles to 2 and the rest is breastfeeding (which who knows how much she's intaking). So, we were wondering if she was getting enough food. Even when fed bottles, she's still eating about 80-90 mL, the same as when she came home from the hospital. Yesterday's trip to her pediatrician for her 4 month check-up erased all worries. The girl is 10 lb. She's 8 lb heavier than when she was born. She gained a whole other baby. So, if she wants to sleep for 4 hours, we let her. Whoo hoo!!!
Just last week, I noticed she really started to make eye contact and stare at faces. She's smiled before but usually just at impulse. Now, she smiles AT us. It's amazing. Usually in the morning. She wakes up and is so quiet. She lies there until you see she's awake and then she smiles. Heart melt right on cue. When you hold her, she's also really working on trying to hold her head up. It's wobbly and she can only do it for so long before sheer weight brings her crashing down. I had just filled out the doctor's questionnaire and answered "no" to whether she was using her arms to push herself up. Her peds doctor put Slugger on her stomach and we were shocked to see Slugger use her arms and push herself up. Her face was like 2 inches from the mat but she was holding her head up.
I exclaimed "Wow, we didn't know she could do that. We never reallly put her down. We usually are carrying her. Ooops."
So, we may put her down more and see what else she can do. The doc was super impressed and said she's not too far from rolling over...albeit probably by accident than intentional. Easter Seals is coming back this week to help us make goals for Slugger of what we want to accomplish and then they'll help us try to work towards those goals.
Last week, Slugger had to go for a swallow test. Preemies have trouble coordinating their suck-swallow-breathe function when eating. We've been thickening her feeds to keep her from choking. And at home, she's doing great. We were looking forward to the swallow test because we thought we might be able to just give her straight formula or milk, no thickening agent needed.
This is the huge X-ray machine that they use with Slugger. We had to feed her a solution with barium in it. It's about the consistency of her thickened formula. I was a little weirded out by the solution. I mean, it's not like it's milk or anything nutritious. It also had the appearance and consistency of watery white paint. But she loved it. She was smacking her lips and licking it up once the test was over. So, Slugger had to sit in that red chair.
Then Scott had to suit up and he was the only one with Slugger as he fed her the barium solution. The rest of us were behind a glass partition. I would have taken a picture of the whole thing but they turned off all the lights once the test began.
They used X-ray to make a video of Slugger's mouth and throat as she drank from the bottle. Then they went over the video with us afterward. Even though she looks like she's perfectly fine, you can see from the video that she's aspirating as she swallows. As she swallows liquids, a little bit is going down her airpipe each time she swallows. It explained why sometimes she sounds congested or coughs when she's eating. It settles into her lungs. Our lungs can handle a little bit of fluid but it does put her at risk for developing pneumonia. So, she has to stay on thickened feeds and have another swallow test in a month. Thankfully, the peds visit checked her lungs and says they sound clear.
We had a second baby shower for Slugger. Our wonderful friend, Lori, organized it and threw it for us. Scott watched Slugger and I headed over to Joyful Gardens restaurant to spend time with beautiful women. Slugger got some great gifts and even gift cards to pick out what she wants But, seriously, the best part was being able to hang out with good friends. I sat at a table with my family and Scott's mom. I haven't hung out with my sister in so long.
[My auntie Linda, my Mom, Scott's grandma, and Scott's mom]
[My niece Lauren and my sis, Cassan]
My niece Lauren and I are very close. Or we used to be very close. She used to stay at our house a lot until I got too pregnant to run after her. I've really missed her. Unfortunately, I'm no longer her favorite. My sister says Lauren now tells everyone that she loves Casey. Casey who she really hasn't ever seen except for videos on my phone. But one morning, Lauren packed a bag and told my sister that they had to come pick up Casey so Casey could sleep over their house. Oh, I can't wait for Slugger to get bigger so she can play with all her cousins.
We did take Casey out for things beside doctor's appointments. It's not for Casey, it's for me. It's rough to quarantine yourself from the world. I love TV and I'm pretty bored with it. Scott's family had to work for Thanksgiving and my family has too many sick toddlers to risk taking Casey around. Scott's job involves a lot of people who don't have families and thus, he usually has gatherings on Thanksgiving Day to give everyone a place to go. So, Scott was going to be at a church Flag Football Game all morning and then at an Ignite Thanksgiving Lunch. I couldn't bear the thought of spending most of the day by myself so I packed up Slugger and took her to the park for the Flag Football Game. We wrapped her stroller with this handy blanket from Aunt Gina to protect her from wind, sun, and yes, people. It was an awesome day. Plus, everyone at the game knows how fragile Slugger is so everyone looked at Slugger but from a distance. I appreciated being able to socialize and not worry. Slugger has so many protective aunts and uncles.
[Casey in her stroller tent]