Wednesday, February 29, 2012


The girls had their three month doctor's appointment today!  Since we have been adding a teaspoon of formula powder into Sophia's milk, we wanted to see how much weight she was gaining and make sure she was "curving" well.  Here are their new stats!

10lb 1oz
22.5 in
38.4 Head Circumference

9lb 11.5oz!
22 3/8 in
38.2 Head Circumference

Dr. Kiley was very pleased with their progress and told us to keep doing exactly what we are doing!  She reiterated how important it is that they have the hip braces to prevent any major discomfort later on... even if it does seem like over treatment, it is better to be safe that sorry.  I was a little bit worried about their head control and whether or not they were developing on track.  She watched them both do tummy time and gave us permission to take Sophia's brace off for about 30 minutes of tummy time a day thinking it would be beneficial for her.  She said she thinks they are doing just fine, though, and had no concerns.

These perfect little girls continue to amaze all of us!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

3 Month Letter

Annabellers and Sopher Gopher,

You are three months old today!

That blows my mind.  How could it be that three months and one day ago I had never met you? It doesn’t seem possible that I could have fallen so in love with you so quickly!  You are everything I always dreamed you would be and so much more.  When I was still pregnant, I would lie in bed, open my eyes, and imagine what it would be like to have one of you sleeping in your co-sleeper next to me.  Now, I get to lie in bed and put my hand on your little heads, and I no longer have to imagine—it is now my perfect reality!  I love every second with you both, and I love being a mom…your mom.


This has been a very eventful month for all of us.  You have had a lot of visitors, met a lot of new people and been a lot of places.  You are really starting to develop your own personalities, and that is so much fun!  Instead of sleeping all the time, you are starting to wake up more and spend more time interacting with me, dad, and all the other people who love you.

Both of you have really started smiling this month.  That’s not to say that you didn’t smile before, but it wasn’t nearly as often or easy.  Now, we are greeted each morning with great big smiles, especially from my Annie.  My little Sophie, you are a little bit harder to get smiles out of, but when you do start smiling, you go on and on for many minutes.  You are my more serious baby, and Annabel, you are my happy go-lucky smile at everything baby.  Both of you have the most hilarious pouty faces that I’ve ever seen.  It is the perfect warning that you are unhappy about something and that you are about to start whining or crying.  Your daddy says that you get that from me, but I have no idea what he is talking about. ;-)

 Along with the smiling, both of you have also started talking.  Okay, so maybe you’re not saying actual words, but you are trying to say something.  When you are talked to, you have started to respond with the cutest “ooohh” and “ahhh” noises.  Annabel, you always make these funny noises right after you sneeze, so I actually look forward to your little sneezes because they are always followed by a cute “ahh.”  Sophia, almost every night, you and daddy have quite the conversation.  You love to talk to him and stare at him (and everybody else), soaking in every feature of his face.  You don’t coo when you sneeze, but you make a LOT of sweet little noises, especially when you eat or sleep.  We think you are so taken with your dad because he would talk to you so much in the NICU.  One time while I was feeding Annabel in the NICU, daddy told you the story of “us” and it made me cry.  I’ll always remember that moment.

You have both started tracking toys and will occasionally grab at them and swat them, although you don’t hold onto toys yet (but you still grab my hair and necklaces).  You reach out to whoever is taking care of you (changing your diaper, talking to you, etc.).  When I’m nursing or feeding either of you, you will paw at me until you find a piece of hair, a piece of clothing, or a hand to hold on to.  Both of you love to move your arms and legs, and that has actually made it hard to get pictures of you both because you are always moving!  Neither of you like tummy time AT. ALL.  We have been trying really hard to get you some good tummy time in, but you just really hate it.  We have also started the Bumbo seat, but that’s another thing you don’t really enjoy yet.  You much prefer to do tummy time on our chests.

The only thing that’s slowing you down is the diagnosis of mild Hip Dysplasia for both of you.  You had hip ultrasounds, and you were so well behaved for them!  You sat there and let the techs do exactly what they needed to do.  Then, you saw another doctor who said you needed to have hip braces to make sure that you don’t have hip pain when you are older.  I had a really hard time with this because I worried that I wouldn’t be able to hold you like I wanted to, and I was so afraid that you would be uncomfortable.  You were uncomfortable for the first few days, but luckily dad was able to take some time off of work to help me while you adjusted.  You get held a ton because I never want you to be uncomfortable.  The braces are called “Rhino” braces, and that kind of makes me giggle.  You have definitely gotten used to them now, and we know the best ways to hold you and snuggle you so that you are comfortable.  Because of the braces, you can no longer be swaddled at night, which really worried me because you loved that.  We found a good solution, though, and swaddle your upper body and Grandma Sherry made you modified sleep sacks that accommodate your braces.  Daddy wraps a blanket around the bottom of your legs so that they aren’t flying in midair. 

We started a bedtime routine this month that I think you love (and daddy and I definitely love it).  About an hour before your 7 or 8pm bottle, we either bathe you are give you a little lotion rub down.  We have special nighttime lotion that we use everynight to give you a little clue that it’s time for “night-night.”  We bathe you every other day, and you just love it!  You are always wide awake and kicking around and smile.  You still don’t love getting out of the bath, but we have started putting your towels and sleepers in the dryer before we start your bath so it is nice and warm coming out, and that seems to have helped.  Annabel, you had a really funny habit for a few weeks this month… every time we would take you out of the bathtub, you would pee on us!  It cracked us up everytime.  (Mandy and Carlton also join us when we give you baths) After your bath, dad and I get into our bed, turn on quiet lullabies, and give you your bottles.  Then, we swaddle you up and one of us reads to you.  First, we read cute children’s books.  Then I told daddy that it was his turn to pick out books for you, and he came out with The Hobbit!  So, he has been reading The Hobbit out loud to you for the last week or so.  You (and I) usually fall asleep while he’s reading, then we put you in your co-sleeper.  We usually do a “dream feed” at 10 or 11.  We don’t wake you up or change you, but we do give you each a bottle.  Then, you usually sleep until 5:30-6:30.  It’s pretty impressive, girls, and we are very thankful for it!

Reading with dad

By the time you learn to read this, I’m sure you will know that dad is a silly guy.  Well, he loves to interact with both of you.  Recently he has started introducing you to new foods! Of course you are much too young to eat the food, so he always has you smell it.  Annie, you really liked the smell of M&Ms, and even opened your mouth like you wanted to eat it!  Speaking of food, last night I was making some “Knock you Naked Brownies” and peeling all of the wrappers off the caramels for the filling… daddy was helping me unwrap them, and he was stuffing all the wrappers into your brace, Sophie!  When I woke up the next morning and was snuggling you, I couldn’t figure out why on earth you smelled like caramels… then I realized!

Speaking of silly daddy, he has come up with two new nicknames for each of you.  Annabel, your new nickname is “Hell’s Bells.”  He calls you “Bell” a lot, but sometimes you can get pretty riled up and scream, so sometimes he calls you Hell’s Bells.  It makes me laugh!  Sophia, your nickname is funny, but it makes me a little bit sad.  This month you have really struggled with reflux, and you spit up after almost every feeding.  One day after a particularly bad bought of spit up, he declared you  to be “Mount Saint Sophia.” Tehehe.  Poor baby bear.

Annabel at HuHot
You went to a lot of new places this month!  We have become more active with you, and you are starting to enjoy going out more and more.  We took your first mall trip just yesterday, and you quite enjoyed it!  You got new winter hats and coats for next winter—you will quickly learn what a bargain shopper your mom is, and when it comes to the two of you, there are no exceptions!  We also went to Hobby Lobby, REI, Bed Bath and Beyond, Kohls, and Costco.  You have eaten with us at Old Chicago, Colorado Mountain Brewery, HuHot, and Mimis.    We still get a lot of comments about you when we go out.  My favorites are the ones when people say “God blessed you” or “God bless those babies.”

You have had a lot of visitors this month!  You met Uncle John and Aunt Amy for the first time, as well as your papa.  They all loved you so much and enjoyed spending time with you.  Grandma Betty came to visit you for a couple days, and so did Grandma Sherry (You also spend a lot of time Skyping with Grandma Sherry).  You also went to your first party—the annual neighborhood Mardi Grad party. 

Mardi Gras!

On February 14, you had your first Valentine’s Day!  You wore your cute outfits all day long, then before dinner, you changed into your beautiful Valentine’s dresses.  It was on that day that I realized that I really, truly am a mom.  You were dressed beautifully in formal dresses while I scarfed down PF Changs take out while wearing mismatched pajamas.  Yep, I really am a mom! (And I love it).

Another huge milestone for me was that you no longer fit into your newborn clothes!  It was bittersweet for me, but I’ve had a great time collecting 0-3 outfits for you and putting you in them.  You seem to like them, too!  You also had to get bigger pads for your cloth diapers, but we really only use them for bed.

I know I say it every month, but I love you so incredibly much.  I could hold you and kiss you and snuggle you every single moment of every day.  I love you!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 2

I titled this "day 2" because , in so many ways, in feels as if we've started over.  Now that I've had more time to process, emotionally, what is happening, and the girls have had a day to adjust physically, I'm feeling marginally better about everything.

The girls slept okay last night.  To give some perspective, the night before, they had slept from 8-430 (with a "dream feeding" at 11 before we went to bed).  Last night, they finally went to sleep around 11:30 and both woke up, with a vengeance, around 2.  Both of them screamed when they woke up and realized they were still in their braces.  I held Sophia while David changed Annabel and both of them calmed down with their bottle.  Getting them back to sleep was much more challenging than usual--we normally just swaddle them up and put them in their beds.  Now we can only swaddle the top of their body, and instead of tucking them into their blanket at the bottom, we are using the blanket to support their legs so that they aren't suspended in air by the brace.  I have never been more thankful for our co-sleepers as I was last night.  Annabel was on my side, and she definitely had the hardest time adjusting.  She was really upset going back to sleep, so I was able to lay in bed and lean over and rub her head and stroke her face which soothed her.  Then, as she periodically woke up throughout the night, I was able to replace her paci and calm her down again.  At about 4:30, she woke up screaming again and I wasn't able to soothe her just by replacing her pacifier and rubbing her, so I pulled her into bed with us, and she slept very soundly on me until about 6, when Sophia also woke up for a feeding. Sophia did much, much better, and aside from waking up around 2 very upset, she slept pretty much the rest of the night and was much more sleepy today than normal.  I think she may be going through a growth spurt, but she is being such a champ considering she is in her brace all the time.

Annabel is gradually adjusting today.  We couldn't get the doctor to tell us how many hours a day they wanted her on her brace--only "naps and nighttime."  They are 10 weeks old, only 5 weeks adjusted, so they still sleep A LOT.  So, I tried to get him to tell me a number of hours a day to shoot for in the brace, and he wouldn't.  So we decided that, since they feed every 3 hours during the day, we would take it off and leave it off every other feeding.

One thing I was most concerned about was still being able to hold and cuddle the girls.  They can still sleep on our chests and just wrap their legs around our waists and we can hold them sitting up, too.  Needless to say, with the exception of a few short naps here and there, they have been held and cuddled all day.  Sophia is currently cuddled up sleeping on my chest, and Annabel is playing games with her dad.  There is laundry to be folded, but right now, I don't really care.

I know my post last night was a real downer, and it was all still very raw for me.  I know it will just keep getting better, and I know that they will adjust soon.   I also know in my heart that this is the right thing to do for them, as hard as it may be.

I always count on David to keep me in good spirits, and even in these crappy circumstances, he comes through.  Kung Fu Sophie!


Today has been a really, really hard day.

We got a call last Thursday from our wonderful pediatrician that both girls would need to see a pediatric orthopedist to evaluate their hip situation (this, after reviewing the results of the ultrasounds).  She was pretty reassuring, telling me that oftentimes they will have parents double diaper babies to see if the dislocation heals on its own.  She told me that Annabel's issue was VERY minor and was really only present when pressure was applied to the hip, but Sophia's was a little bit more pronounced.  She gave us the referral to the specialist and told me to make sure they got us in within a week--if they didn't, call her back and she would pull some strings.  In hindsight, that should have been my first warning that it wasn't quite as minor as she was leading on.  My second warning should have been when I called to make the appointment and they tried to schedule it over a month out.  I told her that my doctor said it needed to be within a week.  I was on hold for 15 minutes while they figured out a way to fit us in.  Anyway, we had our appointment with the Physician's Assistant this morning.  (I want to be sure to note that aside from all the sadness of today, it was a big day for was the first time I got all three of us--me, Annabel, and Sophia--out the door, into the car, out of the car, and into the doctor's office by myself.  David had to meet us there and didn't get there until about 10 minutes after we did. I will admit, as I sat in the waiting room filling out paperwork while my sweet girls snoozed away in their carseats and people cooed over them, I kind of felt like supermom.  But, I digress.)

The PA was very nice.  He looked at the girls' X-Rays before he came in to see us, and he never mixed the two, or their histories, up.  Honestly, I don't remember all the detailed specifics of their condition.  It is commonly known as Hip Dysplasia, but I think the more accurate term they use now is DDH (Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip).  Both of them have it, and Sophia's is significantly more....significant...than Annabel.  Neither of them is severe, but they are both bad enough that they had to get braces that correct it.  The PA did present the braces as an option.  If we don't do them, they will likely have hip pain throughout their lives only correctable by surgery.  I flat out said to the doctor: "It would be irresponsible of us not to do it, right?" and his response was "yes."

Sophia has to wear hers 23 hours a day, only taking it off for bath and diapers.  Annabel has to wear hers for naps and nighttime.  They wanted us to start treatment today, so we immediately went and go them fitted.  Annabel screamed and screamed when the practitioner put it on her.  It was the first time in her life that picking her up and holding her didn't stop her from crying.  Sophia was super sleepy today (I think they are both going through a growth spurt), and she slept right through her fitting.  She really has been a champ about the whole thing, like always.

I know it may not seem like a big deal to most people, but this news has been really, really hard for me to digest.  It's not even the fact that they have DDH that upsets me, but it's the fact that they have to wear these braces.  We were just settling in to our normal...they had the oxygen off, they were sleeping so peacefully at night, and they were happy, happy babies.  Now this has thrown a kink in all of that.  Now they have braces that immobilize their legs...just as they were starting to wiggle around more, kick at toys, etc. Now they have braces that have a huge piece of plastic that goes behind their back. Now they have braces that lift their legs 2-3 inches off their bed when they sleep on their backs.  Now they have braces that prevent them from being swaddled, their favorite thing.  And now they have braces that prevent them from being properly snuggled by their mom and dad. And that's what absolutely breaks my heart.  I can really only snuggle and hug them from their chest up.  When they have the braces on, I can't hold them close to me like I did before, and worst of all, I can't comfort them with the simple act of picking them up anymore.

I feel like our girls have been through so much already, and they don't deserve this. No baby does.  At this point, they will be wearing them for 4 months, minimum.  We go back in 2 months to reevaluate, and at that point, we hope that Annabel will only have to wear it at night and Sophia can go down to wearing it only at naps and night.  I did ask the doctor what the next step was if this didn't work, and he said he has never seen it not work in a case like this, so we can look at the bright side and thank God that it's a mild case.

The PA told us that the girls will get used to it within the next few days.  He also told us that we, as parents, will never get used to it.  David will be staying home with us for the next two days to help with the adjustment period.

Please say a prayer for our little girls that this quickly becomes their new normal (in their minds), and that in the meantime, they don't feel much discomfort.  I know this is what is best, and I know that the time is going to fly by and be a little blip in the long run, and I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hip Ultrasounds

Yesterday the four of us packed into the car and headed off to yet another doctor's appointment!  Last week we had a checkup at the pediatrician, where the girls continue to do well, and we also had Annabel's follow up appointment with the pediatric cardiologist to check on her Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD).  It's considered a congenital heart defect, and apparently it happens in the very early weeks of pregnancy.  The good news is that it is the most common heart defect, and most often it closes up on its own and won't cause any problems.  They did an EKG on her (she was a champ!) and that was it.  We will go back to him in two months to get another echocardiogram to get a better look at the little hole.

Yesterday's appointment was for both girls to get ultrasounds of their hips.  Since they were both breech the majority of my pregnancy, it was a precautionary appointment.  At our appointment with our pediatrician, she said she was not at all worried about them having any issues.  Annabel got her ultrasound done first, and the tech said it looked great (but that the final ruling is up to the radiologist and the pediatrician), which we were really excited about since she was born breech.  Sophia was getting the ultrasound done just to be on the safe side, since she was actually head down at birth (she flipped at some point in the week before they were born).  However, the ultrasound tech said her hips are still looking a little bit underdeveloped and showing possible signs of hip dysplasia.  The protocol for kids who have hip dysplasia is to put them in these big braces that keeps their legs separated.  The tech said that they may wait a little bit longer before putting her in the brace and see if it corrects on its own, though, so that's what we are hoping for.  I'm pretty upset about this because poor Sophia has already been through so much. She is still tiny and struggling to gain weight, and I just feel like this is one more little set back.  The good thing, though, is that I know she is up for it.  She is a feisty little girl!  We won't know more until we hear from our pediatrician in the next few days.

Until then, here's a picture of me and my girls hanging out tonight!