Juliette: 4 Months Old

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You’re an amazing sleeper! You now sleep 12 hours or more a night! You go to bed when Josie does (7pm) and you sleep the entire night.

We finally have you transitioned to your crib. You always sleep better when daddy is home. I know we all feel a little bit better and sleep a little more sound when he’s home. I know we all feel safer.

You love to talk. You’re trying to express yourself. Sometimes on your own but mostly when we start talking to you, you always talk back.

You still cry a lot. Cry when we walk away from you. You always want to be held but sometimes you don’t want to be held and just cry because you’re so tired.

You don’t nap much like your sister did. You maybe nap for about an hour in the morning after you eat and then in late afternoon for about 15-20 minutes. Otherwise, you’re up most of the day.

You love it when Josie is close to you. You smile at her and start talking. I can’t wait for you two to play together one day.

You’re officially in size 2 diapers and still in 3 month onesies. I’m really bad at dressing you up cute with headbands like I did with your sister. I seem to never have the time. You both keep me busy.

The healing has been different with you compared to Josie. I’m losing weight so much faster and I am now down to 115lbs. I’m hoping to hang on to that and not lose more. But I know that won’t happen. Having celiac disease is tough.

We tried to give you a pacifier to calm you in the times when you’re restless and not able to be soothed by being held or drinking a bottle. But you spit it right out just like Josie did.

You’re still drinking dairy based formula. Although, you have had spots of eczema pop up here and there. On your head, elbows, knees and feet. Even if you weren’t getting the dairy formula mixed with breast milk, you’d still get breast milk and that has dairy in it because I still eat dairy. I do not plan on stopping either, because it’s about the only thing I can eat.

You LOVE the relaxing smell of Gentle Baby Essential Oil and Tranquil. I rub it on your blanket in your crib and put it next to your face. I know it helps you sleep. You are a good sleeper. You two girls both LOVE your sleep (for now).

You’re becoming easier to take out of the house. You would scream and scream while in the car seat but lately it’s been easier.

I got a “mom van” and we are selling our Honda Pilot because there is so much more room in the van and it is much easier for me to put you both in and take you out of. I’m so short so having an high SUV is very difficult for me. Not to mention, Josie kicking the seat with her feet. And the best part: half the car payment! That’s a bonus for sure.

You love playing under your play gym. And you’re doing better with tummy time. You can hold your head up better but still get mad after about a minute.

It’s so hard to keep track of everything. My day is so full of tasks that sometimes I forget to eat. It’s not easy being non-stop every single day but it’s rewarding to be a mom to the best girls on Earth. I love to girls to pieces. No more breath holding spells yet and I hope it continues to stay that way.

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Juliette: 3 Months Old and First Christmas

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Dear Juliette,

I don’t even know where to begin with this blog post. I didn’t want to talk about this on the blog, only because it makes my stomach turn. And I haven’t wanted to sit down and type the words out. I didn’t want to remember. I didn’t want to recount the moments where I almost (or so I thought) lost you. Just like I haven’t wrote about the story of almost losing your big sister to anaphylactic shock back in April. Because it brings back horrible memories, I start shaking just thinking about it and I honestly feel like I’m going to have a panic attack. But here we go…

It was a Friday and everything was as normal. I was giving you a bath around noon. Afterwards I took you to your crib where I would get you dressed and put on a clean diaper. It’s during that time that you usually cry because you hate it. You cry differently, though. It’s a mad cry. But you mad cry a lot. You get mad VERY easily and you’re very temperamental. I was just taking my time because I know that letting you cry isn’t going to “kill you”. At least that’s what I’d always say. But then your cries turned into silence and choking and you stopped breathing. You were stiff as a board and eyes were a steady gaze. Almost like you were having a stroke or a seizure. You wouldn’t flinch when I’d touch them. You were making this God awful grunting sound and starting to turn blue. When seconds felt like minutes, I ran out of the bedroom and into the living room to Facetime your daddy. I was in a panic and screaming “she’s not breathing!” He said “CALL 911!” So I quickly hung up and did so. 911 was awful! It makes me seriously scared of anything ever serious happening again. This woman I was talking to was an absolute idiot. I repeated myself over and over again. My address, my situation, my name. I BEGGED her to tell me how to do CPR on an infant. I’m a registered nurse for God sake, where was my brain? GONE! Everything I knew was gone. I was blank! I was out of body. I was having a panic attack. I couldn’t catch my own breath. Sobbing on the phone to this stranger, begging her to help me! You were not breathing. Time is brain, time is brain, time is brain…that’s all I could think. “HELP ME!” I kept screaming to the 911 lady. “TELL ME HOW TO DO CPR!!!!!” She never answered me. Not once. I started pumping your chest with my fingers, I laid you flat on the ground. I tilted your head back and stuck my finger in your mouth. Were you choking on something? Nothing was there. I was crying, begging you to stay with me. You were turning pale. I was terrified. What seriously felt like hours, was simply seconds turned into minutes. Time was at a stand still. You were starting to turn blue. “BREATHE!” I was pleading to God to please not take you. I’m so sorry I let you cry. I’m so sorry I didn’t pick you up. I’m so sorry, Juliette, I’m so so sorry. I had no idea what was going on. I had no idea what I was doing. Giving you CPR was terrifying. As Josie stood there and watched, all I could remember was her saying “oh no, baby sister!” I heard sirens (finally!) and 10 men ran into our home. They took you out of my arms and hooked you up to an EKG machine. At this point, you were breathing again. Your color was starting to slowly come back and you were so completely and utterly exhausted and fatigued that you could not keep your eyes open. You were pale. Almost lifeless. What the hell just happened? I didn’t know. But you were breathing now. Shallow. You were okay. Thank God! I was devastated, trembling. Josie was crying and hid behind her easel in her playroom. Scared. Scared of these men. The machines, the noises. We were both scared in tears. What just happened? What just happened to my baby? Your daddy took an emergency helicopter home that day. He came home that night about 5 hours after you were taken to the hospital. That’s as quickly as he could make it. And honestly, very fast considering his circumstances. EMS took you to the hospital. Josie and I followed after I packed and pumped my extremely engorged breasts (because I was trying to quit producing so much at the time). When we arrived at the hospital you were fine. Normal. Vital signs stable. As if nothing ever happened. The only thing that changed, leading up to this event, was that I gave you Earth’s Best dairy based baby formula. But you were fine. I had given you that several days before this. It’s the only thing I could think of that may have caused this. The doctor came in when I got there. He was a fantastic doctor. He truly listened. He cared. I told him what happned. But then I also showed him the videos. Thank goodness we have cameras all over the inside and outside of our house. These were life savers at the time. As Bobby was able to watch what was unfolding from hundreds of miles away, it was also recording important information. As I told him what was happening, he was convinced you were having a seizure. But after showing him that actual video and the events that occurred, he later changed his mind.

Diagnosis: Breath holding spell.

WHAT? Why? Babies do this? What do you mean she held her breath?

Yes. As much as that was a relief to hear, it was that much more concerning too. How often will she do this? Why does she do this? What do I do? The doctor says: “you walk away.” WHAT? NO! How do I just walk away when your child isn’t breathing, turning pale, blue and stiff as a board for up to a minute? How does a mom just do something like that?

You.just.do.

“Blow in her face” he says. “She got really, really mad.”

That came as no surprise to me honestly. Because you do get mad at EVERYTHING. You cry over everything.  And it’s never just a simple baby cry. It’s a scream, yell and mad cry.

Oh boy! This is different. This is going to be a challenge. You are going to be a handful, sweet girl. God is really giving me a run for my money this time, isn’t he?

Sometimes I feel like life is all a test. How far can you press me? How far are my limits? Nothing seems easy. Nothing seems like it’s just day to day and I can relax. I’m always uptight. I’m always so aware and my senses are heightened when it comes to my surroundings and my children. Since having children and almost losing both of them, I cling to home. It’s terrifying. And even more so when you’re experiencing these events all alone. With no family around. I should mention though, that I do have a wonderful neighbor. She was there when I needed her and came over to make sure everything was okay even though she was so busy planning her daughters 2nd birthday party. She even came up to the hospital to see us. I am so grateful for her and her friendship. It means a lot to me.

I can’t write anymore than that about that particular situation. Luckily, you haven’t done it again…yet. But I’ve been told you will. Even the pediatrician, that next day, told us you would. She told us to blow in your face, walk away and let you learn to be without me. I can’t though. As much as these moments of anger that you constantly express, I hold you. No matter how stiff your body becomes once you’re mad (which is almost every single cry), I try to bend you and sit you on my lap. I put my face next to yours and say “it’s okay”, “I’m right here, baby.” It’s terrifying.

God always gives me these situations. I know it only makes me stronger but I don’t want another reason to lose sleep. To keep one eye open. To have you stay in our room longer. To feel like I can’t walk away. To be terrified just to let you cry just a little. I jump at every whimper. It’s truly hard. You are so different, Juliette. Nothing like your big sister. It’s fascinating to me how different you both are. She was so easy. You are such a challenge. I’m grateful I’m not working because you take a lot of my energy. Most of it, actually. Some days I feel like I’ve given Josie about 2% of me. Some days come and go and I feel like I haven’t even acknowledged her. You require me in sight at all times. I can’t put you down without a cry and scream. And it’s always a mad scream. If I walk away and am out of sight, you scream. A part of me thinks that you’re a needy baby. But a part of me thinks this is because of that particular event. You are terrified. You don’t want to be left alone. As much as it scared me, it scared you, too. I just don’t know. All I know is that motherhood is tough. I don’t have it easy with you two girls. It’s always something to worry about. You keep me on my toes. Both of you. And at any given moment when things start to seem out of the ordinary with either of you, I jump, shake and start to breathe heavy. I feel like a panic attack is setting in. I’m learning to talk myself down. Learning to breathe and convincing myself to calm down.

Oh a happy note, you’re growing so fast. You are such a chunk! You’re gaining weight so quickly and you eat a ton! You’re a very gassy baby though no matter what you eat. And I am having a hard time getting you out of that Rock n Play. I wish I never would have bought it, honestly. I know it’s the feeling of being cradled that you love.

Your head control is awesome. Much more advanced than Josie’s was at your age. You’re strong! So strong I almost feel like you could get up and walk away when you have your moments of stiffening your legs in a rage.

Your smile is contagious and adorable, though. You do have a sweet side, believe it or not. I didn’t want to sound like you were an awful, terrible baby in this post, because you’re not. You’re a sweetheart. I think you are just trying to figure out this world. Figure me out and figure out how to be independent without my arms holding you 24/7.

I’ve been struggling to get my milk supply down. No matter what I’ve tried or how hard I try, I can’t get it to stop producing SO much! It’s definitely painful and stressful. I’ve dealt with clogged milk ducts, engorgement and lots of pain. I will be happy when it’s decreased.

I don’t have much more to say. Other than I can’t wait for you to grow out of this phase. And I do hope it’s just a phase.

I love you sweet girl. I can’t wait until you start crawling, mommy needs a break from holding you all.the.time. Despite all that has happened and just how much work you are, I truly do try to enjoy these moments because time goes by so quickly. Heck, your sister is potty trained. When did this happen? What happened to my baby Josie?

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Juliette: 1 Month Old

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*She was born jaundice but the day after being home from the hospital, we went to the pediatricians office and her levels were high but not high enough to worry. She just got it all out of her system by breastfeeding. She latched on beautifully and I pretty much kept her there for the first several days or so until I started to see her eyes turning white. She quickly gained weight, too. She did awesome at her 2 week appointment!

*Juliette latched on to my breast immediately. She had no issues what-so-ever. Josie always gnawed at my breast in the first few weeks and I remember that being painfully awful. Juliette was perfect.

*Not long after being 1 month old (by just a few days), she had a hard time breastfeeding. I’ve always produced a ton of milk…almost double of what Josie and Juliette would eat daily. So when either one of them latched on at this point, when my milk came in completely, it basically would drown them. They’d latch, I’d have a let-down and then they’d choke, cry, scream and be gassy. It was a vicious cycle that I had a hard time being patient with. It would upset me and then I’d cry, too. Milk was always everywhere. I was soaking breast pads within hours. This is exactly why I switched to pumping with Josie. And after my husband convinced me to switch to pumping with Juliette, I am now doing both. I am breastfeeding and pumping for now. Eventually, I will let go of breastfeeding and just go to exclusively breast pumping. After several nights of Juliette screaming full of gas from this, Bobby told me that he was not giving me a choice anymore. It was hard on him, too. That if she woke up crying to eat, then he was giving her a bottle since I already have a ton of frozen milk in the deep freezer. It was bothering him how much she was suffering and I was suffering. It was extremely frustrated and draining. I feel like I was drowning our baby girl. Now that I’ve switched to both pumping and breastfeeding (mostly before bedtime), things are better. But not great. I will get into that later. Ultimately, the important thing was that Juliette just gets the breast milk.

*Juliette doesn’t spit up like babies usually do. Neither did Josie. So far Juliette’s skin looks great. No skin issues like Josie did (eczema). But she does have baby acne on her chin and cheeks. Not a big deal because I know this will pass.

*After about 5 weeks old she was fitting into size 1 diapers.

*At 5 weeks old she slept the longest through the night for about 7 hours for several days straight.

*She prefers to sleep in the Rock n Play. I’m having a hard time transitioning her to being flat in the bassinet at night or the crib in our room.

*In the morning, around 3-4am when I decide to get up for the day, Juliette likes to sleep in the crib for several hours in the morning with the light on.

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*Breastfeeding and pumping has been easier this time around. Much more controlled and I know what to expect. It hasn’t been an uncontrollable mess of milk like it was with Josie. My milk came in a few days after being home. Whereas, with Josie, my milk came in several hours after her birth, in the hospital.

*Juliette moves her head to follow anyone in front of her.

*She smiles at you if you move in close enough for her to see you.

*She doesn’t coo much, like Josie did at this age, but she makes noises and grunts a lot, especially when she has to poop.

*She does NOT like the swing yet.

*She is almost out of size newborn onesies.

*She has beautiful blue eyes and blonde hair. Her eyebrows are blonde. She is so different than Josie was. Josie was jet black hair and blue eyes. Josie had a TON of hair.

*Juliette has big feet. Much bigger when I compare Josie and Juliette’s foot prints from the hospital. It’s pretty neat to see the differences.

*As for who Juliette looks like? She looks like mom. She’s starting to look more and more like daddy as she’s getting bigger.

*Josie loves her sister. She wakes up each morning and runs to her and kisses her and says “good morning, baby sister!” It’s absolutely adorable. She’s gentle, she’s kind and she loves to hug and kiss her. It’s a beautiful thing!

*Juliette is VERY strong. I almost believe she’d be ready to walk way before Josie did.

*She has excellent head control from birth!

*Her arms and legs are so strong she barely lets me dress her.

*She always has her fists clenched except for when she’s in a deep, deep sleep.

*The first two weeks home, she would take up to 30 minutes to poop and lay there and grunt and groan until it happened. It was funny.

*She loves to lay on the couch and stare up at the ceiling fan.

*She always calms down when Josie comes close to her, talks to her and kisses her. Then Juliette will look up at Josie and smile and look as though she’s communicating with her. It’s so cool! I love that bond already.