Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pictures & More Pictures

Nap time with Daddy.  Wonder who's enjoying it more?

The silliest paci keeper ever.  The flower almost hides her whole face.

I call the look in the pink her "game face."  Her headband slipped down so it looks like a sweat band.  Wonder if she's going to play basketball or tennis?  She also seems to like it when Daddy gives her a bath more than when Mommy does.  Look at her smile here!

These pics were taken when the last of the snow was on the ground.  The whole family was hiking at Asylum Lake.  Note the good use of Aunt Katie's gift of the Baby Bjorn.  We are using it alot these days.

There she grows!

Stella has outgrown almost all of her newborn clothing and is into her 0-3 and 3 months clothes! The 3 months are a little big (as in the pic above). She's right around 9 1/2 pounds. More than double her birth weight.

We've also been tracking her development. It's a bit tricky because we look at her as her corrected age, and reference that in the books or on-line. Add to that the fact all those references seem to be less than definitive and I'm not terribly sure just what she's supposed to be able to do right now. They say things like "your baby might" or "most babies are able to" or my favorite, "every baby is an individual." Right now Stella is almost at her actual age in some areas. She will hold her head up on her own almost all of the time. She can also get her head up to a 45-degree angle when in tummy time and pushes up with her hands. She usually favors one side or the other, but will push up with both arms. She can also get most of one side of her body up in the air. Not close enough to flip over, but I can see how it will lead to that. Today she showed me how she will follow an object with her eyes and by moving her head -- both from right to left and up and down. R to L is stronger than the up and down. She loves looking at herself in the mirror and will watch mom and dad very intently. She also recognizes us by looking at us when we talk to her, even if the other is holding her. Where I think she's a bit behind is that she doesn't smile much socially. She'll smile at us when we talk to her, but doesn't smile at other people. Today, however, she surprised herself with a burp and it caused her to break out into a big, real smile. She also isn't vocalizing as much as the books say she should for her corrected age. She will make some aahhh, aahhh sounds and plenty of grunting/groaning/squeaking sounds as well as crying. Occasionally she'll make a gaaah sound from the back of her throat, but she doesn't make many other sounds and hasn't tried any other consonant sounds.

I'm sure it will all come with time . . . like any new parent I'm concerned and her preemieness (new word!) adds another layer to it all.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Getting poked by needles is not fun!

Oops -- thought I had posted this but only saved the draft.  I'm sure all of you out there were dying to know what she weighs and how she handled her shots :-)

Stella had her 2 month doctor's appointment on March 8th. We saw Dr. Gibson (church friend) and Stella passed with flying colors. She weighs 8 lb 11 oz and is 20.5 in long! Almost double her birth weight, and aproximately 50th percentile for her corrected age. (Corrected age = age she would be had she been full term. We should count milestones by her corrected age, not her actual age until she is about 1 year old.) She's not as far along with milestones as a 2 month old baby would be, but she is doing some things more than a 2-3 week old baby would do. We have definitely noticed how much she's filled out, even since we took pictures at Valentine's day (approximately when she would have been due).

She also got her 2 mo. vaccines. 3 shots and one oral. She's really worn out and fussy this afternoon, but daddy is doing a good job of soothing her and helping her be as relaxed as possible.  Lately she's been all over the place with sleeping and awake times as well as the amounts she's eating.  So, anything is possible tonight! 

Monday, March 8, 2010


Stella doing tummy time on floor, Bea getting an up close sniff

Mom and Stella on first outing, walk with Bea and Dad on Portage bike trail.

Stella and Bea

Cousin Steffanie holding Stella.

Stella @ 2 Months

Stella turned 2 months old on March 6th. The semi-self imposed quarantine is now lifted and we can take Stella out in public! We celebrated this weekend by going out to eat 3 times, going to church with her for the first time and having a Kirk family party at our house. Good times we had by all (including the Princess) and Tim and I were ready to crash at 8 pm last night.

Aunt Katie arrived Friday evening so we went out to eat the first time that evening. On Saturday, Katie and I went to our local nail salon. I had a much needed pedicure -- not being able to reach my feet for a few months and the winter had left my tootsies looking quite rough -- and Katie had a mani. Stella went with us and got lots of compliments. The owners of the salon have a preemie of their own. She is 9 months now, and was born 6 weeks early -- just like Stella. It was great to talk to someone who had been through a similar experience and see that her daughter was doing well. They have experienced a few delays in developmental milestones, but they work out to be on time when adjusted for the prematurity. Katie and I took Stella to Noodles and Co. for lunch. It's a big kid lunch place on Saturdays, so we felt like we were in good company. We ate out again Saturday night -- just for the novelty of taking Stella out and being able to eat together without someone at home to watch the baby.

Sunday was Stella's first church service at Chapel Hill. She slept through most of it and liked the music. The only time she really woke up was when the drums started in on a song and startled her. When we went up to take communion, Tim held her and demonstrated his mastery of baby holding by using one arm to hold her and the other to take the bread and dip it in the juice. Everyone was excited to see her and welcome her to the family. We sat with Auntie Joanie and she helped by holding Stella when she was a bit restless.

Then it was on to home and hosting Tim's dad, Uncle Bob, sister Teri and BIL Mike, niece Steffanie, step-sister Sue and BIL Keith and their two boys Nick and Zach. Razzy chicken and cheezy potatoes were enjoyed along with pineapple upside down cake and flour-less chocolate cake for dessert. It was great to see everyone and mom and dad got a break as Stella was passed around from relative to relative. Amazing weekend, but is it any wonder that we were ready to drop by Sunday evening?

Harvey Karp is a genius

. . . and Tim is pretty darn smart too. Stella has been increasingly restless and crying more often. I actually say she is 'yelling' because it's not as much crying as it is vocalizing that she's not happy about something. I wouldn't say she was colicky, yet, but it was getting darn close! In a funny serendipitous turn of events, we had borrowed a DVD of "The Happiest Baby on the Block" by Dr. Harvey Karp the same day my mom (Grandma Mary Lou) called to say she had found this DVD and thought it could really help.

And help it did! Tim and I watched it that same night. Stella was on my lap and was mildly fussy. I followed along with the techniques on the DVD and she hushed exactly like the babies on the TV. Amazing! One of the keys is harsh sounding background/white noise. Our Sleep Sheep doesn't get loud enough. So Tim downloaded a white noise track onto his iPod and put it on repeat. The swaddling, the swinging and the white noise have worked wonders for Stella's sleeping. We also combine these with the swing when she's really fractious and she calms right down. We're working to get Stella to sleep longer during the night and these techniques have really come in handy.

We watched a lot of videos at the hospital in the NICU about caring for your baby -- I really think this one should be added to the list. He's also written a book, so I'm going to request it from the library and see what else he has to say. Take a look at his website if you want to know more: