Monday, April 28, 2008

Sophie - Sad and Happy

Yesterday, we had a nice visit from Heather (from work) and her fiance Pat. Of course, Sophie didn't real nap all day (unless she was in our arms being rocked) so she was totally over-stimulated. After they left, Sophie started to get VERY fussy and was pretty fussy through the rest of the afternoon and evening. Around 8pm, in desperation, Jim and I decided to try and take her for a drive to see if that might calm her (since occassionally she has really liked her car seat lately) so we put her in the car seat and took her out. She hated it and got even more worked up than before. When we got home from our brief drive we just took her up to bed and I nursed her and she did go to sleep eventually. This morning, Sophie woke up a happy girl and we had an early morning appointment to the pediatrician so here she is again but in a much happier state of mind... (Yes, she's in the same outfit, too!)

Sophie Sad (aka Monkey Mind attack)

Sophie Happy (aka early in the am before she gets overstimulated)

Good news from the pediatrician's visit - Sophie weighs 10 lbs, 2 ounces and is now 22 inches long!!! Wowie! What a big girl! And yes, she is indeed growing out of her newborn clothes (and newborn-sized diapers) already. The cute outfit in these photos (given to her by her Uncles Chris and Jim) is actually 3-6 months and it fits her perfectly!

We did talk to the pediatrician about her crying and fussiness and Dr. Soppas agrees that since she's gaining weight and checking out physically fine that it's just Sophie's way of dealing with being outside the womb. Our current theory (after trying two doses of the zantac and a day of Gripe Water) is that she just gets over-stimulated and is seeing and learning so much every day that she can't wind-down on her own because of all the new neural connections being made and all the new things to see and learn. So, essentially it's Sophie's monkey mind causing her grief. We are trying to make sure she gets her naps and knowing it's likely not anything phyical makes us feel much better even if/when she is crying.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Happy 1 Month Birthday, Sophia

Today is Sophie's one month birthday!! She is getting to be such a big girl in so many ways. We can't believe how fast she is growing and changing. Sophie is a beautiful and wonderful miracle but she is also what Dr. Sears has called a "high-needs" baby. She cries alot. I mean, alot. Not just for 20-30 mins here and there but for hours at a time. And, when she cries her face gets all red and she looks so mad at the world (and at us!). Being the new parents that we are, we worry that it's us, that we're doing something wrong. But, we try everything - swaddling, the cuddle cure, rocking, swaying, bouncing, white noise, vacuum cleaners, slings, bouncers, car seats, car drives, stroller rides, massage, pacifiers - you name it - we've tried it. We tried all of our Happiest Baby on the Block tricks. We were so worried about it that we took her into the pediatrician last Monday night to make sure there was nothing physically wrong with her. The pediatrician (not Dr. Soppas) said that she seemed physically fine and that maybe if it was reflux (or GER) we could try giving her Zantac. He wrote us a prescription and we got it filled but did not give it to her until last night. We just felt if we didn't have to start our baby on meds so early, then we wouldn't but last night was another tough Friday night so we broke down and gave it to her. She had her second dose this am and so far it doesn't seem to be doing any good. (Boy was she mad when we gave it to her, though.) I've also just read that in liquid form it usually contains aluminum so we will probably not give it to her again. (I haven't even been wearing deodorant because I don't want Sophie to be exposed to the aluminum if I can help it. Don't worry, I am going to get a natural deodorant soon...)

Sophie actually had quite a week with lots of new developments. Monday was very tough for me being the first day Jim went back to work and my Dad and Kathy were not here. Jim actually came home from work to help me with her (because I begged him to). The other dumb thing about Monday was that I decided to not have any caffeine (because maybe the caffeine was making her colicky) but you know, the last time I went without any caffeine in the morning, I crashed a car in Italy so we should have known it would not go well. We took her to the pediatrician that night and checking out physically fine, we are led to believe that we just have a "high-needs" baby. (Sophia weighed in at 9 lbs. 9 ounces!) Tuesday, Jim was also home because he was not feeling well and he helped with calming her. On Tuesday, we all went to go vote in the morning and I had big plans of having a family photo in front of the voting booths with Sophie wearing an Obama sticker but unfortunately, she had other plans and screamed her head off the entire time in her car seat and leaving the house and driving to the voting place. I was so frazzled that I fed her in the car and then we went into vote. No photo op. No Obama sticker for Sophie. I did take her in with me and she pressed the button for him (well, sort of). After that, and seeing that she was still sort of calm, I bravely drove her to the Philly Area New Parents Meet-Up Members Lunch in Ardmore. We were a half and hour late but there was one other mom and her son who showed up late so we got to meet them and talk and have lunch. It was quite nice actually. I felt really proud of both Sophie and I for making it out and mingling with the other moms and kids. (and the other mom told me about the Dunstan Baby Language so we are trying to listen more intently to her cries to see if we can better respond to them.) On Wednesday, feeling emboldened from our success on Tuesday, I decided to try another outing and go to Target with her (since the last attempt at Target with Dad and Kathy was such a failure). We drove down there and she fell asleep in her car seat so I was feeling really hopeful. We made it into Target and I felt on top of the world. There we were shopping and having fun with the other SAMs (stay at home moms) and their babies in their carseats. BUT THEN, she woke up. And with a vengence. She started her inconsolable screaming and I tried to give her the pacifier (yes, we started trying to give her pacifiers since breast-feeding seems pretty well-established now) but she didn't want it. I took her out of her car seat and held her while I pushed the cart around but that didn't work either. So I finally took her into the family bathroom and nursed her standing up, sweating to death in the Target bathroom. She calmed then, of course. But, as soon as we got out of the bathroom and I put her back in the carseat hoping to finish the shopping she started screaming again. And she screamed the whole time while checking out. I never had a check-out experience go so quickly. The lady sped us through there in no time flat. I got Sophie back out to the car (still screaming) and tried to nurse her again in the car to calm her down (and so I could drive without feeling so upset). She calmed a bit but then started screaming again when we drove off. On our way home, I saw Dee Ree's mail truck and decided to surprise her with a visit from Sophie. I took her out of the car and rocked her while seeing DeeRee and she seemed to calm down. We then went for a visit to Aunt Lisa's house and Aunt Lisa really has a magic touch with Sophie. She calmed her and Sophie slept a bit in her arms. So, it was a big day with a shopping trip and visiting. And, despite the crying, we still made it outside and had an adventure so that is progress. On Thursday, Dee Ree came over and brought lunch and helped march Sophie around the living room to try and calm her. It was a good visit. Then, later in the afternoon when she was crying and I just couldn't bounce her or nurse her anymore, I decided to try and put Sophie in the carseat and take her for a ride. This calmed her and I felt very excited that the whole "put the baby in the carseat to stop her from crying" trick really worked. Unfortunately, it was rush hour so we ended up just sitting in a lot of traffic so after driving around the neighborhood a bit, we got some gas and came home. Fortunately, she was still asleep so I put her in the stoller and took her out for her first successful trip in the stroller. We walked around and around and she was still sleeping so I walked her around some more. She was still sleeping when I came home exhausted from our walking and I thought, great! I can read or something and sit outside with her but of course, as soon as we got home and stopped moving she woke up. Thankfully, Daddy came home shortly thereafter so he could try his hand at calming her.

You know... It's really hard not knowing why she is upset and not being able to soothe her. It's also really hard having her scream, red-faced and mad at the world for hours on end. And, it's hard having to hold her or nurse her or bounce her non-stop for fear that she will wake up and be inconsolable. That said, every day is new progress and new adventures. She is changing and growing so much. She now grabs at my shirt while nursing. She sometimes will smile for us in the morning moments when she is still happy. She is looking around at everything and really alert and attentive. Today, she even went into her peanut shell sling which she had previously hated. She will actually calm down in her car seat sometimes. She went for a stroller ride without crying. Most nights, she sleeps pretty well (wakes up about every 2-3 hours to feed) despite some tough long, nights. So, overall I think it's been a great month. While we're tired and frequently overwhelmed with wanting to help her not be so upset, it's still just an amazing and miraculous time for all of us, despite the crying and despite the "high-needs" intensity. If you know Jim or I, I guess it's not a surprise that our baby would be well, intense... And, as her Aunt Lisa points out, she is an Aries (like aunt Lisa) afterall and apparently Aries like to be the center of attention. Who knows what new adventures and discoveries are around the corner for tomorrow and each new day with our beautiful and perfect girl! All I know at this 1 month milestone is that life with our little Sophie will obviously never be dull...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sophie's Third Week

(Quiet alert time on the boppy.)

(Is Sophie happy or about to cry in this photo?? You be the judge!)

Sophie had a nice visit with her Grandma and Grandpa MacDougall this week. They had to leave on Saturday morning unfortunately but she can't wait to see them again soon. On Saturday afternoon, Sophie went to New Jersey (crossing state lines for the very first time in her life) to visit with her Great Grandmom Coll. Though she screamed the entire way over there in the car (who said all babies love drives) she calmed down once at Grandmom's and then napped the entire rest of the visit and even napped through two stores we took her in (Babies R Us and the new Buy Buy Baby). We got her a new bouncy seat which she seems to tolerate pretty well (as of today). After we were done shopping, she woke up with a vengeance though and I saw tears for the first time from my little girl. She was crying in the car seat and there were real tears streaming out of her right eye. Oh, I was so upset to see that. Poor thing!

As for sleeping, she had another tough night the first night Grandma and Grandpa MacDougall were here (though she only kept us up till about 2am or so as opposed to the 4am of the Friday before). Then, Thursday night she was fussy for several hours but went to sleep around 11pm and slept like a normal night after that. Every day is a new pattern. We're finding now that trying to get her to calm down during mid-day is tough. She seems to want to sleep and nap but usually can't seem to settle down. Sometimes she does settle down and naps for a few hours but usually she seems sort of overwhelmed and has trouble soothing herself into a good nap routine.

This next week will be the first full week at home alone for Mommy and Sophie. Wish us luck!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy 3 Week Birthday!!

Happy 3 Week Birthday, Sophie! Today we actually made it to the Birth Center's Breastfeeding Support group in University City and got to weigh Sophie. What a gift for Mommy to learn that she is 9 lbs, 4 ounces!!! In a mere three weeks, she has grown so much - we are so pleased!!

It's been a great week as Grandma and Grandpa MacDougall are in town and Sophie is enjoying her time with them immensely.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Meeting more family

Yesterday Sophie finally got to meet her Great Grandmom Coll and her Great Aunt Dee and Great Uncle Jer and her Great Cousins Doris Anne and Sarah! And today her Grandma and Grandpa MacDougall are coming to visit - in fact, they are on their way from South Carolina right now!

Sophie is doing really well. We are trying to adjust to her sleeping and wakeful periods. Friday night was very very tough. She was awake and inconsolable until after 4am. We took turns bouncing her in her swaddle to really annoying white noise... Finally, she slept after about 4am. It was a tough night because as new parents it's so hard to tell if something is actually wrong with her or not. We were worried and took turns looking through all our baby books but we could not identify anything wrong with her and thankfully, she slept great the whole rest of the weekend. So, we'll see.. She is certainly keeping us on our toes! She also has starting making a whole new range of vocalizations. She coos, she smiles, Jim even got the beginnings of a laugh from her. At night, she makes all sorts of funny noises while she is sleeping. It's amazing to think that these sounds are likely the beginnings of her verbal lexicon.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Happy Two Week Birthday, Sophia Grace

Happy Two Week Birthday, Sophie!!! Where does the time go?

Today, Jim went back to work. This is, of course, kind of sad that our special bonding time together just the three of us has ended. However, Sophie and I are doing pretty well for our first day without Daddy though we both miss him terribly. We had our first solo outing without Daddy this morning into the big city (we were supposed to go to a breastfeeding support group offered by The Birth Center but apparently, I had the wrong day so when we showed up and nobody else was there, we decided to go into work and have a quick visit there since we were in the city already). We went into Mommy's work and Sophie got to meet lots of nice work people and see her Mommy's office (she even had her first feeding and diaper change in there!). On the downside of this very nice visit, we got a ticket thanks to our now infamous Phila. Parking Authority.

Sophie with Uncle (Grandpa?) Greg in Mommy's office. Doesn't he look happy to meet her? (By the way, NO, I did not do any work while there. Didn't even talk about it. Just showed off Sophie and was on my way... I'm very proud of myself!)

Yesterday, I attempted to take Sophie outside for a little fresh air and sunshine but was convinced it was too bright for her and her sensitive skin might get sunburned so it didn't last long. She did get to sport this incredibly cute sun hat for a few minutes, though...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

It Takes A Village

So many family and friends have been eagerly waiting to meet Sophia these past 9 months! Now that she's finally here she's had many folks come to visit and still there are lots more family and friends yet to meet her. Here are some photos of just some of the many people who love Sophie!! What a great world - so much love waitng for this baby girl!

Dee Ree and Pop Pop Stumpo

Nanny and Poppy Oxenford

Nana Mary

Aunt Pat

Godmother Heather

Godbrother Isaac

Peggy Morscheck (God Grandma?)

Aunt Dina

Aunt Amy

Boyfriend Max

Aunt Leila, Aunt Dina and Tess

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sophie's Second Saturday

Sophie had her first walk outside in Lansdowne today. We took her out on this beautiful sunny Saturday and were so excited to use the stoller to stroll her around the town. Unfortunately, she wasn't too keen on the stroller and immediately started crying which she did until we picked her up and carried her. Once we did that, she enjoyed the walk immensely! We walked to the movie store and the little local coffee shop, Regency Cafe, here in Lansdowne. It was a nice outing for all!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sophia's 1 Week Birthday

Happy Birthday, Sophie!! Today is already her 1 week birthday. We can't believe how much she's grown and how fast the past week has gone. We sang Happy Birthday to her this morning and have been so happy all day to celebrate her first week of life. She is such a big girl and slept really well again last night. Jim got her calmed down after she was really fussy and then she slept from about 12 to 3am and then again from 4:30 or so until about 7:30 am. We are so impressed!

She is doing really well and had her 1 week check-up today. We are so happy and excited that she has already gained back most of her birth weight. She is back up to 7 lbs, 12 ounces already! Dr. Soppas was really pleased and of course so are we. So, she's obviously eating plenty and gaining weight and growing like a champ. Today was also a big day because Sophie had her first shopping outing - after the pediatrician's visit, we took her to Babies R Us to get some additional provisions (namely, more swaddle me blankets).

Finally, we had a videoconference with her Grandpa and Grandma MacDougall in South Carolina. They'll be coming up in mid-April for a nice long visit but we were able to do a videoconference so they could get a sneak preview now.

What a week it's been... Happy 1 Week Birthday Sophia Girl! We love you!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Week of many firsts

I can't believe Sophia is almost one week old tomorrow! She has had quite a week with so many new experiences and firsts it's staggering to try and keep up with them all. Maybe if I go in reverse chronological order, it will be easier to remember amidst the sleep-deprived haze Jim and I are in over here...

Yesterday Sophia's cord fell off to reveal the cutest little belly button in the world! It's nice we don't have to worry about the diaper irritating it anymore. And, it's just so much cuter to see the little innie on our baby girl. Of course, this also means that she's growing up too fast. First she loses her cord, next thing you know she'll be graduating from college... Sigh.

Also a big first was that Sophia got her first bath on Sunday. We were sort of hoping that she might be a water baby and love it but alas she did not. We sort of knew that she wouldn't because she absolutely hates being naked for diaper changes so that was a pretty big tip-off that being naked and wet was not going to be her style (yet). Plus, what did we expect since she's an Aries (not an Aquarius).

On Sunday night, she actually slept in her co-sleeper all night long and either woke up on her own or I had to wake her up about every two hours to feed her. This lasted all night long. We couldn't believe what a big girl she was to sleep in the co-sleeper and not have us up all night already. Granted it didn't last as last night she had a monstrous feeding from about 11:30-5am that felt like it pretty much lasted all night. But, it's still great progress from the previous nights which were spent with Jim and I wandering room to room with her trying to calm her because she didn't like the co-sleeper.

Also on Sunday, Jim made pancakes and bacon and he made a special little Sophie-sized pancake for his little girl. Imagine all the Sunday pancakes to come for this little angel!!

All in all it's been an incredibly happy and wonderful couple of days. Sophia changes by the minute it seems and she is really getting stronger (her grip, her legs, how she holds her neck up already), she is tracking voices with her eyes more and seems to spend a lot more time in the "active alert" state which is so cool to see her just taking in the world.

We're so grateful to our family and friends for all your help and support. We have not had to cook dinner yet since we've all been home because DeeRee and other sweet friends are so kind and keep bringing us dinner! Thank you everyone!!