Caring for Stella

I've thought about sharing my {short version} story of Stella for some time. Maybe it will help those going through a similar thing (a disabled child is a lot harder to take care of than I ever thought it would be...). Maybe it will help others have more understanding of what others go through. Maybe I just needed to write some of my experiences down.

A little over 4 years ago I had a 20 week ultrasound for my third child. I'm always excited but a little nervous for these ultrasounds.  You never know what you'll find. Good or bad. When I saw the tech remeasure and look at an area multiple times over I started to get nervous. I've seen a lot of ultrasounds done working as an RN in a hospital, but I am still pretty clueless about them. They don't make much more sense to me than the average person. I took a few deep breaths and told myself not to worry.

And then the tech said my midwife needed to meet with me.

I was pretty nervous waiting in the room for the midwife to come. No one wants to be told something is wrong with their child. It's on most parents' worst top three list. I was by myself. I wish I'd organized better to try to get my husband there.

To Dreamfeed or Not to Dreamfeed

I've talked a lot about the dreamfeed over the years. It's a hot topic-- because who doesn't want to get an extra couple hours of sleep with a new baby early on? That's at the top of many people's to-do list with a newborn. It's certainly at the top of my list!

With all this chit chat about the dreamfeed, many people are surprised to find out that I didn't dreamfeed all my children. Honestly, I was surprised to find myself not dream feeding all my children. I sat around talking about how amazing it was all the time and then I decided I was going to ditch it with my second child. And my third and my fourth.

Daylight Savings - Time to Jump Back!

It's that time of year again. You know, the time you loved pre-kids because you got to sleep in. And the time you couldn't stand post-kids because getting kids to sleep in later is, well, about as fun as eating a mud pie (and sometimes just as difficult!)

OK. Take a deep breath. I didn't mean to scare you. It'll be ok. You won't be waking up pre-dawn forever, and if you're proactive and

Parents Need Sleep, Too.

Sleep is important for parents, too! From

I'm not sure what it is.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older. Or maybe it's that fourth child thrown into the mix of things.

Whatever the case, I've been noticing some things more about myself lately. I've noticed that exercising regularly keeps my spirits up and that if I don't have enough adventure in life I start to get restless.

And I've also noticed that I get pretty cranky when I don't get enough sleep.

This isn't exactly rocket science, you might be thinking. Everyone knows that when someone doesn't get enough sleep they get cranky. I mean, isn't that what I keep saying about babies all the time? Isn't this what your mom told you when you were a child?

Nora 2 months old

nora sleep and eating at two months

Nora is 2 months old! This post goes over the last month of her life (from 1 month old up until she turns 2 months old).

OK. So she isn't actually 2 months old right now. But she used to be. I have this tendency to finish posts 98% of the way and then not post them. One day I will get to these mostly finished posts. With life as busy as it is, I'm proud of myself for getting this one up!

Eat/Wake/Sleep Routine
Nora pretty much always goes 3 hours between feeds in the day. Rarely she'll wake up sooner and I'll feed her. She wakes up right around the 3 hour mark some of the time, and the rest of the time I'll wake her (give or take a few minutes). She goes back and forth each week with waking more on her own for feeds during the day, and needing me to wake her for feeds.

Putting an End to Bedtime Battles

Putting an end to your child's bedtime battles

Bedtime can be a very stressful time.

There's lots to do, everyone is tired, and did I mention that everyone is tired? Fatigue can put everyone at their worst. Add in a little baby fussiness, toddler tantrums, and of course whining and resisting, and you've got a scene right out of a horror film.

But it doesn't have to be like this. Really, it doesn't.

Nora 1 month old

Eat/Wake/Sleep Routine
I didn't work much on teaching Nora to sleep on her own the first few weeks. This is the norm for me and my new babies. I am mainly just getting the e/w/s pattern down, enjoying snuggling with my baby, and trying to rest. I also can't emotionally handle any possible crying from baby at this point. I have found that helping babies take long naps is really beneficial, even if they are taking them in your arms (the same goes for night sleep). It helps get them into a pattern of spread out eating and sleeping.

Nora was pretty sleepy the first 2-3 weeks. She fell asleep pretty easily in my arms, with or without a pacifier. If I set her down, she almost always stayed asleep for a couple hours. This was amazing! None of my children have done this. I know to very thankful for this, and the fact that she fell asleep easily. Jacob, my 6 year old, literally didn't have a single sleepy day in his life and he never ever fell asleep easily, no matter how may sleep props you used.

After about 2-3 weeks Nora started to have a harder time falling asleep in my arms. She usually had 1-2 sleepy periods a day where she'd fall asleep somewhat easily, and the rest of the time it started to take her up to 45 minutes. She'd be restful and start to fall asleep, but then keep waking up. I decided that it was time to work on having her sleep in her own room since she was obviously starting to get too stimulated by her surroundings to fall asleep in them. Books usually say that babies have to be older to not sleep well wherever, but that has never been the case for my children.