Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Newsletter: Month 4

Dear Lilly:

Today you turned 4 months old! The last couple weeks of October we managed to squeeze in a lot of fun, but November is not anyone's favorite month around here, so we have been spending more time indoors. You learned a lot of things this month! You are babbling like crazy, learning to play with toys, sit in your Bumbo seat and exersaucer, and have started to spit out your binkie just to get a hand to hug.

We had one week this month that felt like it was spent entirely in the pediatrics lab at Mercy. We saw a GI specialist about your weight, and you had to have several time consuming lab tests, two of which had to be redone. Mercy feels like a second home now! They have a nice play area in the lab, the staff is nice, and I like the chocolate Elvis smoothie from the coffee shop. I don't wish you to spend anymore time there, but for routine lab work it's not an unpleasant place, and you were really a trooper for such a little baby. We even spent naptime by a waterfall outside the lab one day, just because you fell asleep when I stopped to check my email. It seems all you needed was some more calories, and we are back on track now!

On the fun side, we had our first family trip to the zoo and went to Owlfest at Treehouse Wildlife where your owl hat was a huge hit. Sometimes we go out and do things just because you love to look at faces other than mom and dad, and your delight stops people in their tracks. I hope you spread that kind of joy your whole life!


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A festival of birds at Treehouse Wildlife

If there's one thing I love to photograph, it's animals. I like the challenge of capturing wildlife reacting in their natural state. There's no posing or ego to animals, just their own movement in their surroundings.

Which is why Owl Fest at the Treehouse Wildlife Center, nestled on the Mississippi River bluffs between Grafton and Alton was a perfect chance to grab some shots of owls, hawks and other birds of prey being showcased.

Treehouse Wildlife has been in operation since 1979 and combines both wildlife rehabilitation and public education. They rely on public donation and volunteers rather than government funding, and their yearly Owl Fest not only gives you a chance to meet the birds, but also enjoy music, local vendors and great food.

Even if you missed Owl Fest this year, it's still a great place to visit. The Fall colors are in full effect and there are precious few days left to enjoy the Great River Road before winter. If you get a chance, get out there soon.

Most Bird sanctuaries take in animals who are injured and would not survive the wild, like this bald eagle missing a wing

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fightin' Weight

For the last six weeks or so I have been slaving to get Lilly's weight up. I started to type out everything we've been doing, but as with most things involving parenting and the internet, I had to go back and say, "Is this boring? Yes." If you have a 3 month old baby who just won't gain and you need some ideas, feel free to comment. For the purposes of today's blog, let's just say that my baby was sleeping through the night and then I had to go back to a newborn schedule, which is pretty much akin to torture. As I have mentioned before, though, hormones are a bitch and once you start the breastfeeding, your brain becomes convinced that there is no other way. Also, formula is EXPENSIVE. So I pumped.

After 6 weeks of weekly weight checks where she was gaining 1-2 oz a week when she should be gaining 5-7, the pediatrician sent us to a GI specialist, who started in with the "failure to thrive" and "we'll have to hospitalize her" talk. It's amazing that I did not cry. Lab work was ordered, including a sweat test for cystic fibrosis that was not explained at all, and I was turned away from the lab that day because they don't start the sweat test after 1pm. Then the next day, I was there for five hours because the bag for urine collection kept leaking, and then the third day it took two tries AGAIN. This week has been hellish.

BUT. But. The thing the GI doctor prescribed in the interim was just to add formula to the milk I am pumping. 1 scoop per ounce of breastmilk that I pump, and I pump about 6 oz a day. The rest of the time she breastfeeds. And do you know, according to our home scale, this baby has packed on 12 oz in 5 days? How is that even possible from a grand total of 30 oz of breastmilk with formula in it?? It seems impossible, but you can see it. She is fatter. I can't wait to hear how they explain this.