Two Months of Caroline Claire

I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.  It feels like just yesterday that I sat down to write Caroline’s one month post and here we are again.  Caroline continues to amaze me every day with her continued growth.  She has DOUBLED in size from four and a half pounds at birth to nearly nine pounds at two months old (8lbs15oz to be exact).  We don’t know her exact length but it does seem as though she’s tall for her size.  She always seems to outgrow her footed pajamas in length well before they’re snug.

Honestly, the world feels like an entirely new and different place than it did a month ago.  I had heard of coronavirus or COVID-19 all the way back in January when I heard doctors talking about it at the hospital when Caroline was in the NICU.  I had been keeping an eye on things from afar and then a few weeks ago things started to get serious here in the US.  Much of the country is on lockdown and people are being encouraged to stay at home in order to slow the spread of the disease.

Given that Caroline was premature, we were on self-imposed quarantine before all of this began and had hoped and planned to be able to start taking her into public settings mid-April.  She only had a couple visitors because of this and now we’re not sure when we’ll be able to be around family and friends again.  I’m really sad that she’s missing out on time with family right now, but I’m comforted that she doesn’t understand what’s going on.

It’s a bit of a scary time in the world, but like almost everyone,  I’m doing everything I can to protect my and community by staying home.  I hope you and yours are feeling safe and healthy.

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Photos by Kacy Cierley Photography

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Caroline Claire’s Second Month

We’ve had a lot of fun this month really getting to know our girl.  Her little personality is really starting to shine through and we’re loving it.  She still LOVES giving kisses and has now started to enjoy looking in the mirror too.  We read a LOT of books but we hate tummy time.

Caroline has always struggled with her eating a bit – getting choked up and taking in a lot of air.  We switched bottles this month to Dr. Brown and we also switched to a sensitive formula.  That combination in addition to the gas drops and gripe water we were already doing seem to have helped tremendously.

How We’re Doing

We’re doing really well overall.  Kevin and I have both adjusted to our new lifestyle and I truly get excited every time I see her again after stepping away.  Even with a bit of sleep deprivation, I get excited to wake up and hang out with her.  We’ve both been at home and it’s been really nice to have so much time together.  Kevin went back to work (remotely) last week and unfortunately, that coincided with when we completely had to eliminate visitors so we had to cancel the limited childcare help we had planned to use and family wasn’t able to come to help out either.  It was a challenge to adjust to doing most everything myself without any help that first week but I knew it was temporary and that we’d find our groove.  Week two of dad back at work was much smoother and I’m more relaxed.

For the past couple of weeks, sleep has been a real struggle.  We seem to have regressed a bit (which I understand is normal for 6-8 weeks).  She isn’t sleeping as long at night between feeds and is napping less during the day too.  Every night around 7:30 she gets really fussy and is hard to soothe.  I’ve discovered that dance parties to Justin Timberlake seem to distract her so I get in my exercise each night dancing around the kitchen while holding her, doing squats, etc. to keep her moving.  Dance party time has quickly turned into my favorite part of the day.

Month Two Summary

A few of my favorite memories from month two:

  • Caroline’s due date came on 3/2!  She was already seven weeks old at that point.  We did our first family photos on 3/3, the day she should have been one day old.
  • I finished Caroline’s nursery and it’s now my absolute favorite room in the house.  It’s a girly take on a travel and adventure theme. I’ll be doing a full nursery reveal soon!
  • Dance parties during her evening crying spells to calm her down.  I’m amazed by how much Justin Timberlake soothes her. Haha.
  • We started working loosely on sleep training once Caroline was big enough and she is doing great with it.  We are getting longer stretches of sleep which is great!  Most nights we get at least 4.5 – 5 hours and she’s slept even longer than that some nights.
  • My last time nursing Caroline happened this month.  I’m really glad that in the moment I didn’t REALIZE it would be my last time because I would have been so sad.  I absolutely adored that bond but it just wasn’t in the cards for us to continue. I so badly wanted to make it work.
  • I recorded a podcast episode with Jen McClellan of Plus Mommy.  I was able to tell the whole story about my fertility struggles, the loss of our son Cole, and Caroline’s birth.  It was definitely vulnerable, but I know that hearing others’ stories has helped me tremendously and I wanted to do the same.  You can listen to the episode here.  
  • Bath Time has actually become FUN for all of us – no more screams and cries.

A Letter To My Girl

Dear Caroline,

Being born at the beginning of a global pandemic isn’t exactly how I pictured things going for you, but you bring so much light to the world during this uncertain time.  So many people are dealing with so many big things, and we are so lucky to be spending our days snuggling with you.

I can’t help but think about how our little family is SO fortunate in so many ways.  I’m so grateful that we are able to be with you all day, every day.  I’m so grateful that we have a cozy home, all of the supplies we need, and technology to stay connected to our loved ones from afar.

There are SO many people who love you dearly.  They all wish they could be cuddling you today like I am, and trust me… you’ll have no lack of hugs and kisses coming your way once this is all over. In the meantime, I steal all of those hugs and kisses for myself although I do try to give dad a turn here and there.

I love you so much and am SO glad you’re my girl.

Love,

Mama

A Few Of Our Favorite Things

I know many of my mom and mom-to-be friends are looking for product recommendations. As I continue figuring things out and finding more faves, I’ll update my list each month.

  • Owlet Smart Sock:  In the hospital, we were always watching the monitors to check her heart rate and oxygen levels.  Especially during her feeds, she’d sometimes have issues and before we were able to read HER queues, we watched the monitors closely.  Now, we can tell when she’s dropping just by looking at her but we feel SO much more comfortable having a monitor on her to be safe. We have this version but there’s also this version that comes with a video monitor as well.  Much less expensive than getting a separate/different video monitor.
  • Water Wipes Apparently preemie babies have extra sensitive skin.  At the hospital, they used dry little cloths and ran warm water over them during diaper changes since any chemicals could be harsh for her.  The closest, most natural wipe I could find are these water wipes that are made with 99% water and the only other ingredient is fruit extracts.
  • Aquaphor Diaper Ointment At the hospital, we used a medical-grade diaper cream that I LOVED.  It didn’t cause any irritation for Caroline and it had no smell and was clear.  I HATE regular diaper rash cream that is pasty white and gets everywhere – and I also hate the way it smells.  You can find the medical-grade cream here on Amazon, but I also found that this Aquaphor version is pretty similar and less expensive. It’s what we’ve been using nonstop.  We also love that it can be used on dry spots too or even little scratches on her face.
  • Halo Bassinet:  We ended up with several different sleep options for Caroline… a crib, a pack & play, and a bassinet.  So far, I haven’t been super impressed with the pack and play (we tried two different options) because it just isn’t that sturdy and seems to sag in the middle. Until she goes into her crib, I feel MUCH more secure with her in the Halo.
  • Halo Sleep Sacks:  NOBODY has time to be swaddling babies in the middle of the night with a regular swaddle.  Halo Sleep Sacks have been so awesome – easy to secure and they keep the baby snug and warm.  I love both this style and this style.
  • Zipper PajamasSO many moms told me before that we wouldn’t want to deal with snaps or buttons in the middle of the night and they were SO RIGHT!  Now that we’re home and not dealing with wires attached to her, I love her zipper PJs!  I like these – affordable and cute!
  • Dr. Brown Bottles:  Of course, these were the ONLY BRAND of bottles I was adamant I would not use.  I had always heard good things about them but was completely turned off by the extra parts that come with them that take longer to wash. After a few days of lots of crying and gas, I gave them a shot and I am mad at myself for not using them sooner.  I’ll gladly spend a few extra minutes washing bottle parts if it means my girl is happier.  I can’t stand it when she cries.
  • Hatch Sound Machine: These sound machines were on almost every baby “must-have” list I read.  As we began to work on sleep training, I read again that white noise would be super helpful for us and I whipped mine out.  We LOVE it.  Honestly, I think it even helps ME sleep better… not just the baby.
  • Ubbi Diaper Pail:  We have two different diaper pails… one for upstairs and one for downstairs.  The Ubbi is definitely my favorite.  I LOVE that it uses regular trash bags instead of expensive “special” ones, and I’ve never once noticed a foul smell when opening it.
  • aden + anais swaddles:  These are my absolute favorites!  I use them for pretty much everything, not just as swaddles.
  • Skip Hop Play Mat:  So many baby products are just SO visually unappealing to me.  I found the color scheme of this playmat to be the most soothing and least chaotic.  Caroline LOVES it, especially the music and the mirror. We also have this activity center that looks similar and is made by the same brand… she is still too small to use it though so I can’t say how well it works.

By the way… this monthly post series was inspired by Jenna Kutcher.  I LOVE following her and she’s been sharing monthly posts the first year of her daughter’s life.  I’ll likely do the same because I LOVE reading them each month.

Read other Caroline posts here.
XOXO,
Miranda

 

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