Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happy 5-month birthday, T & E!!

Tamsie on left and Evie on right. This is the happiest I could get Tamsie during our photo session! Once again, they are with their bear who is in their NICU pictures so we can see how big they are now.
Dear Tamsie and Evangelyn,

It's hard to believe how quickly you're growing these days! Your dad and I finally broke down and got a baby scale so we can weigh you whenever we'd like, and last night Tamsie, you were 10 lbs 3 oz and Evie, you were 9 lbs 15 oz! You're getting to be big girls, and you are trying so hard to catch up to where you should be! Even though you're five months, you should only be acting like two-and-a-half month olds, based on your due date, and I do believe you're quite a bit farther along than that.
Evie and bear. There's a reason why Tamsie's feet are all that she contributed to this pic!
Of course, when we go out in public you continue to steal all the attention. And when people ask how old you are and I tell them that you're 5 months, they're still shocked. In fact, one of the most frequent things we hear from people who see you when we're out is "Congratulations!" because they think you must be brand-new. But you have come such a long way, and we are so grateful!
You can tell their tactile development is really coming along. Tamsie is loving the way her soft swing feels!
My favorite part of where you're at this month developmentally has been watching you smile and laugh more and more. I also love hearing you talk! The highlight of my day is having little conversations with you! :) You're also holding your heads up better. I can't wait until you can sit up on your own!

By far, the biggest challenge this month has been feeding you. Both of you struggle with reflux, but Tamsie especially. Last week it got to the point where Tamsie would not take a meal without screaming horribly and refusing to take any more. Honestly, we're amazed that you gained any weight at all during this period! After going to the doctor on Monday and ruling out any kind of sickness, we went back on Friday to figure out what was wrong after trying everything else we could think of. The doctor, who is AMAZING by the way and has twins of his own (one of whom struggled with reflux too), watched us feed you to see how you would react, and he concluded that all your problems can be traced right back to some major reflux. Now you've been on Prevacid for quite a while, but now we're adding rice cereal to your food and switching to Zantac, since you've never tried that before. So far, feeding you has been much more pleasant... although not always easy. We're still experimenting with the amount of rice cereal to add to make it just the right thickness.

Evie all swaddled up at meal time
Another new issue at meal time involves your new discovery of your hands. You want to hold onto all parts of the bottle during your feeds, and sometimes you get so excited you wind up pushing the bottle away - which you don't mean to do - and then you start crying. The solution has been to swaddle you when it gets really bad, as Evie is demonstrating above. You don't particularly like it, but it makes meal time easier. And thankfully, you don't really fall asleep much at all compared to how you used to.

Tamsie was one tired duck when I attempted this photo shoot!
You're still eating an alternating rotation of milk and NeoSure formula for preemies, now with the addition of rice cereal since Friday. You're still on vitamins with iron, and Tamsie is still on amoxicillin to prevent UTIs. You're typically taking about 4 ounces per feed, sometimes more, sometimes less. You've recently moved out of your newborn clothes and up to 3-month sizes and size 2 diapers.

Tamsie was having none of it. Meanwhile Evie could not quit sucking on her hand.
During your activity time, you've started grabbing onto things and sometimes pulling them toward your mouths. You've rolled over this month. You're also paying close attention to sounds you hear and really focusing on where they're coming from. Patterns continue to intrigue you, and during bath times you will stare at the shower curtain pattern. You love to laugh when you realize something is funny, and you smile all the time. Both of you are generally happy babies, unless you're dealing with something like sleepiness or reflux... and then you can (understandably) get VERY worked up!

Oh, the intensity of it all! She was happy until I sat her down for picture time, and then she unleashed her fury! This is how she feels about not being held.
You love your toys, but mainly you love being talked to and held.

Evie and bear
Praise the Lord, you are both sleeping through the nights now! I don't even know when it happened since my nights are such a blur, but it's been going on for quite a while now. We're still not allowed to let you go past six hours without eating, so we wake you up (not always an easy thing to do) about 2:30 am or so to feed you, and then you go straight back to sleep. You are both amazing sleepers, and we are so very thankful for that. During the days, you also take nice, long naps... which is how I get things like blogging accomplished! I've also managed to get you on a fairly predictable schedule, which is very nice.
Things you love: swinging, bouncing, cuddling, playing, bath time, baby massage time after your baths (unless you're too cold to properly enjoy it), taggies, Sophie, pacifiers (Soothie for Evie and Gumdrop for Tamsie), your dolls and stuffed animals, mobiles, ceiling fans, music, American Idol, trying to talk, having your little baby heads rubbed and hair brushed, your hands in general and bringing them together
"OK, Mom, you can pick me up now."
Things you don't love: tummy time, being put down after you've been held for a while, being swaddled, eating if you're having reflux issues, going into your car seats, being taken out of your bath, being moved out from under your mobile, dropping your pacifiers

I really wanted a nice picture of just Tamsie, since I got so many cute ones of Evie. This is the best I could get. (That means that there are some out there on my computer that are even worse than this!!)
One surprising issue we're dealing with lately is how to keep you from getting too hot overnight! Sometimes when we wake you up, you're extremely warm. This is so strange, since we're used to having to work hard to keep your preemie selves from freezing all the time!
After our photo shoot, I changed Tamsie into her PJs, and she immediately calmed down.

What tantrum?

This was my attempt at a photo shoot at their bedtime last night. I wanted a picture of them on their actual 5-month birthday, but we had been in the car all day and this was pretty much the only chance I had to get it. Once again, Tamsie was not pleased!

You don't want to be on Tamsie's bad side, that's for sure!
Your ability to interact and to be alert to the world around you just keeps increasing all the time, and it is so fun to see! I am so thankful to be your mom, and I can't wait to see what this next month has in store for you. I know that God's plans for you are amazing, and I am so thrilled to watch them unfold. 

I love you more than you'll ever know.


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