Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm 5 months old and growing!

Sweet Elizabeth Rose is 5 months old and she has finally started to grow!!  She has weighed about 10 and 1/2 lbs. since she was 2 months old and yesterday we got the good news that she has finally made it to 11 lbs.! 
So here are her stats:
Weight:  11 lbs.  (less than 5% - not officially on the growth chart yet)
Height:  24 1/4"  (10-15%)
Head:  15 3/4"  (less than 5%)

Ella's doctor at UNC took some other body measurements yesterday and determined that she is proportionately small which is a good sign!  She has made some improvements developmentally as well.  A couple of days before Christmas she started reaching for things and holding them.  By Christmas Eve, she was helping to open her own presents and even playing with toys!  On Dec. 28th, her 5 month birthday, she rolled from her tummy to her back.  She is also trying to sit up and pick up her head more.   These are all great signs that she is building back the muscle mass that she lost and gaining new strength.  We have two more appointments scheduled this month to monitor Ella's growth, but it seems she is really doing well!
We had to redo one test yesterday so we are still waiting for some results, but the rest of her recent tests have come back within normal ranges so that is good news as well.
Since I have been force feeding Ella a little bit to help her gain weight, her reflux has been really bad.  She is constantly spitting up lately.  We started a new medication today so hopefully that will make a difference.  I have been breastfeeding her exclusively, but this week we are going to try some cereal and within the month we are going to try some sweet potatoes. 

Ella also got her first tooth!  Her bottom left front tooth broke through Christmas Eve morning.  Note the drool dripping from her chin in the picture below :).  Her bottom right front tooth and her two top front teeth will not be far behind!  So now I will be wiping up gallons of drool along with spit up...how fun!   

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

We spent Christmas at home this year.  We went to my parents house on Christmas Eve and ate lots of yummy food and sweets and opened lots of presents.  On Christmas Day Clint and I and the girls had a quiet morning at home.  We exchanged a few more gifts to each other and started some new family traditions.  We missed seeing Clint's family in Arkansas, but we are planning a trip there in the spring.  Here are some pics...

I know...very silly.  The hat was for Ella, but she was busy nursing at the time so Clint thought I should wear it :)
Papa handing out gifts
Aunt Allie and her boyfriend, Raimel, opening a present from Sophie :)

Our tree on Christmas morning

Sophie really wanted make up this year...what a big girl!!!

Look at my new toy!
Playing is hard work...I need to relax now (look at how she crosses her legs...too funny)!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

May all the seasons of your lives be filled with His
peace, love, joy, and hope!

Much love, 
Kristen, Clint, Sophie Grace, and Elizabeth Rose

"For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not die, but have everlasting life!" - John 3:16

Friday, December 19, 2008

Weighing In...

We have had a couple of frustrating months with our little baby girl.  Ella has gone through many tests and doctor's office and hospital visits and has seen more specialists than I have in my lifetime!  The awesome news is that we have ruled out some pretty serious causes for her failure to thrive and she is at least maintaining a weight of 10 lbs. and 9 oz.   At this point, the most likely cause of her lack of weight gain is a severe case of gastroesophageal reflux and an underdeveloped/weak lower esophageal sphincter muscle.  This muscle is supposed to keep my breastmilk down in her tummy, but it is not doing a very good job so instead my breastmilk ends up all over me in the form of vomit most of the time :).  Since Ella is experiencing some major heartburn on a regular basis she is limiting her milk intake.  My lactation consultant told me that we have a very smart baby and she knows when to stop eating so she doesn't experience the heartburn from reflux.  I guess she would rather feel hungry than have heartburn.  I know how she feels!  In the last few months of my pregnancy with her, my heartburn was so bad that I dreaded eating. Even water caused me pain.  I just hate that she is feeling pain :(.  It is so sad to see it in her face.

We are hoping to find a safe and effective regimen of medication that will reduce the heartburn and vomiting and make Ella feel comfortable enough to take in the milk she needs to grow.  She has lost some muscle mass and is behind developmentally.  We love having a little peanut to snuggle with, but we want her to grow and be healthy!  She is currently the size of an average 2 month old baby.  Next week she will be 5 months old.

Even though Ella is not quite out of the woods just yet, I am confident that she will be soon! We trust the Lord and His healing hands!

Friday, November 28, 2008

4 months old

Miss Elizabeth Rose is 4 months old today!  I love her sweet smiles.  She began to giggle a couple of weeks ago and she is trying to use her voice more every day.  Baby Ella is still our little peanut. She weighs 10 lbs. and 8 oz. just 4 oz. more than last month which is not great, but it is a small victory for her!  She also grew 1  1/2" taller!  3 of my friends at church recommended a new practitioner for us to try.  Suzie is a family nurse practitioner who specializes in pediatrics.  We went in to meet with her recently and found out that she is a major advocate for breastfeeding and she supports our desire to seek natural treatments for Ella's reflux.  She was concerned about Ella's slow weight gain and she suggested that we do some blood work to try to find some answers.  We did learn that Ella is anemic so we are giving her an iron supplement.  We go back on Friday, Dec. 5th for a weight check and Ella's 4 month exam so hopefully we will get some good news!  

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Two very special reasons why I am thankful

"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; his love endures forever!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Snuggle Bunny

Both of my girls have a special snuggle friend and they are both affectionately known as "snuggle bunny".  Sophie got her snuggle bunny when she was 15 months old and they have been inseparable ever since.  To this day, Sophie can not go to sleep at night without snuggle bunny in her arms.  Here are some pics of Sophie and snuggle bunny:


At 15 months old...

Sophie had eye surgery to correct an eye muscle imbalance and snuggle bunny was her new friend from nana and papa to help her get through the surgery and recovery.  

Recently, Ella has taken a liking to her very own snuggle bunny as well and it is so sweet.  She loves to hold snuggle bunny up to her face and give her a squeeze.  

This photo was not posed... she loves to hold her snuggle bunny.  Clint, the engineer, designed the binky holder from a rolled up blanket that you see above so her binky wouldn't keep popping out of her mouth.  He's so funny :).  Sweet dreams baby!  

Decision '08

Well, Decision '08 in our home may not have been as important as the presidential election; however, we did have a family vote of our own and the results are in: Elizabeth has a nickname. Actually, she has several names if you include babsies, babykins, sweet baby, sweet pea, peanut, pooper-stink (Clint's words of endearment), and little sissy.  We still call her Elizabeth when we call her by name, but we will be calling her Ella.  I remember with Sophie it just happened naturally one day.  I called her Sophia when she was first born, but over time she just became Sophie.  Thanks to those who helped us decide :)  

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So far so good!

I am happy to write that Elizabeth has gone without medication for 5 days and she is doing really well.  I am not sure what she weighs today because I don't have a scale at home yet, but I have been nursing her every two hours during the day and every 4-5 hours at night. Miraculously, she has not vomited a large quantity since Saturday!  She is still spitting up, but all babies spit up some :).  Her fussiness has also decreased drastically.  My mom was over yesterday and she noticed the difference as well.

I never should have doubted my breastmilk.  God designed it to be the perfect nourishment for our babies!  I have always been an advocate for breastfeeding and its benefits which go far beyond nutrition, but it is hard to be confident when people and doctors are questioning your ability to produce enough milk for your baby.  Fortunately, I have some good friends that reminded me and encouraged me to just continue nursing as frequently as possible and it has really helped!  The extra feedings have taken the place of medication and the breastmilk is proving to have a far greater healing effect for Elizabeth.

I never should have doubted the Lord either.  Sometimes my fears get in the way of my faith, but God has gently reminded me that I can trust Him to provide exactly what we need.  

Friday, October 31, 2008

Scary Night

Yes, Halloween is a scary holiday, but this year was especially scary.  Clint was out of town on a business trip and Sophie spent the weekend with her dad so Elizabeth and I went to a friend's house to hang out.  I started Elizabeth on one of her new medications.  She was supposed to start two new meds, but I decided just to give her one at a time.  After her 4th dose of the medication on Friday, Elizabeth began having seizures.  It was very scary because she was unresponsive during them. I tried to reach our pediatrician on call, but could not.  I called the pharmacist and he said it sounded like she was having an adverse reaction to the new meds or potentially an overdose.  My friend called 911.  EMS came and by then, she was stable and her vitals looked good so they said we could stay at the house and monitor her.  The EMT thought that Elizabeth's pediatrician prescribed too high of a dosage for her weight and on top of that, the pharmacist advised me to administer the drug in too frequent of intervals.  Elizabeth continued to vomit through the night, but was much better by the morning.  

When we went to see the pediatrician the next morning, she thought the seizures were unrelated to the new medication which was the wrong dosage and wanted us to get a CT scan and EEG done. Unrelated?  We think someone was trying to cover her behind. Anyway, Elizabeth is doing fine now and we have decided to take the medical doctors and the medication out of the picture for now.  We have not really seen any improvement in her condition yet and the new medication actually put her in a potentially life threatening situation.

Elizabeth has not had any medication since Friday.  I have been nursing her around the clock and she is doing well.  We are researching some natural remedies for reflux to help relieve her discomfort, but mostly we are praying and believing that her Creator knows her best and will heal her body. 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fall Fun

We went to Hill Ridge Farms - the best place for fall festivities!  They have a bouncy house, a couple of kid friendly mazes, a giant slide, a corn house (like the ball pits, but with dry corn kernels...so cute and fun), animals, pony rides, gem panning, train rides, and of course, hay rides to the pumpkin patch.  I forgot the camera (bummer), but a friend took these two pics for me.  

at home carving the BIG pumpkin...


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

3 month photos

Here are some more pics of Elizabeth Rose at 3 months old...

"Mommy, stop taking my picture and pick me up!"

Gotta love that fussy face :)  

Crying again...

...but my pacifier makes it all better :)

"Hey, bath time is not so bad when big sissy plays with me!"

  She is my little snuggle buddy after those baths.  I love that snuggle time :)