So, this has been the week of milestones. On February 8 we celebrated one year of having Juliana home from the hospital. On February 10 we celebrated the anniversary of her due date. I pointed out to my students in class: remember when we had Juliana’s birthday? Back in October? Feels like a long time ago, right? Well, this is when she SHOULD have been born. So, the difference between those two dates is how much longer she was supposed to stay in her warm, snug little womb-home. But, instead, she arrived too early, and many challenges entered her life as a result. (Which seems so unfair, because we ALL have challenges in life, but she had to start out with so many more than most.) But, over the last 15 1/2 months, Juliana has been conquering challenges. She is not just surviving, she is thriving.
Juliana’s days are spent playing with her gazillion toys, reading books, talking walks and playing with Baby Isaac Herr, destroying Mommy’s laptop keys, wishing for her own iPhone, chasing after (and sometimes catching) Sophie, crawling everywhere and getting ready to walk. She isn’t super interested in food at the moment, although she really wants to bite into an apple, and she loves flavored puff cereal. She is on the verge of saying her first words, and she has been working diligently to try to say “kitty-cat.” This will probably be her first word, as we seem to be hearing a cute little whispered “key-ca” coming from her. However, whenever Sophie runs by, Juliana is generally too excited to talk. She also says a lot of dadadadada, but we’re not yet sure if she is associating the word with Jason. She will point to the light or fan when we say the name, and her favorite thing is her mobile, specially made by Alban and Evan. She points at it as we rock in her chair or change her diaper.
At her most recent doctor visit she weighed 16 lb, 11 oz and was 28 inches long. To put this in perspective, most babies are expected to triple their birth weight by their first birthday. Juliana tripled her birth weight before she even left the hospital. She is now (at 15 1/2 months) 12 times her birth weight. She is still extremely small, but her physical therapists and neonatologists are happy with her development. She is following her developmental age really well, and she seems to be advanced in a few areas. For example, she loves to turn the pages in her books, which she has been doing for 3-4 months now and is an advanced skill.
She has been teething off and on for months, and she now has two bottom teeth and a side top tooth. There is no sign of where the next one will come in, but we are rooting for top front. Her teething also makes her rather grumpy at times. But in general, she is the sweetest, happiest baby.
We are working on sleeping through the night. She is currently waking up 2-4 times a night, but we’ve been trying some tips that might be working. Our main obstacle is that we do not want to let her cry, so the “cry it out” technique doesn’t work for us. The other techniques seem to take longer, but we are willing to wait. In the meantime, she goes to bed at 7:30 and (if we’re lucky) sleeps in until 7:30 with a few interludes.
As Jason posted on his Facebook page, this has been the best year of our lives. Every day we wake up to hear her precious little voice and clapping hands and we know that no matter what else goes on, we are blessed.
Thank you Daddy for the roses and ribbons for Eden and Zoe’s trees. It was a nice remembrance. And thank you to the Bauer family for the beautiful roses to commemorate Juliana’s milestone. Thank you all for keeping Juliana in your prayers.
Juliana is 13 months old! She is crawling! She has a tooth coming through. She is such a big girl! 🙂 We are thinking that she is about 16.5 lbs now. She desperately wants to walk and loves pulling Sophie’s fur. She loves to visit with baby Isaac Herr, and she loves her special mobile from Alban and Evan Howe. Her favorite foods so far: squash, sweet potatoes, bananas, pears, plums. Foods she dislikes: peas, asparagus, apples, and carrots. Favorite toys: her piano and her books, especially her musical book, but most of all–Mommy’s laptop. She is still not sleeping through the night. We are usually up 3-4 times every night. That is something we will be working on in the new year, but she still is really only 10 months old developmentally.
Juliana is one year old today. She was born at 4:22 p.m. at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Her sisters were born at 4:23 and 4:24. All four of our lives were in extreme danger that day, and the danger continued for the precious babies. Although much tragedy ensued in the following days, Juliana showed her amazing strength and ability to fight for her life. She has survived to be a beautiful, healthy, determined, opinionated, smart, music-loving, book-reading, active, happy little baby. Every second of every day is better because she is in the world. She is our pride and constant joy.
She is starting to eat more solid foods, really enjoying her squash today. She is on the verge of either crawling or walking, or both. Her days are filled with reading books, playing with toys, going for walks, trying to chase the kitty, smiles, drools, and saying “ba-ba” for nothing in particular. She loves animals, playing the piano, looking at herself in the mirror, walking in the Baby Bjorn, and most of all: her mommy and daddy.
We got settled in our new house just in time to host some friends and family to celebrate her birthday on Sabbath. We will post pictures shortly.
This day will always be bittersweet for us. But the sweet grows sweeter every day that we spend with Juliana. God has given us such a gift in the blessing that is her life. We will never take that for granted. Juliana, we love you.
We saw the helmet specialist this week, and she re-measured the asymmetry of Juliana’s head. It has dramatically improved in the 6 weeks that she has had her helmet. When we first started, her head was 12% asymmetrical. Now, it is only 5.5%. They generally do not recommend a helmet for any baby who is under 6%, so if we had just come to them now, Juliana wouldn’t need the helmet! We are, however, going to finish our course, since it has done so much good so far. Juliana tolerates it well and will only need it for a few more weeks.
We also went for another NICU follow-up appointment recently. At that visit, Juliana weighed 13 lbs, 11 oz, and was nearly 25 inches long. She passed all of the developmental tests for a 7 month baby, and her physical therapists agree that she is doing very well.
She has started sitting on her own for a few minutes at a time, and her back is so strong and straight! Babies have such perfect posture! She still loves to stand, although she won’t be walking for awhile yet.
Her little laugh is so sweet. We’ll try to capture it on video soon since she has finally started actually making a laughing sound.
Also, we video chat regularly with her Nana and her aunties. Juliana has become so used to this, that when she hears the “dialing” sound on the computer, she starts laughing and lunging at the screen.
She also loves to look at herself in the mirror and look at pictures of herself and other babies. These are all normal developmental phases for a 7-10 month old and so cute!
Her separation anxiety has grown lately, and she doesn’t like me to put her down or to walk away (like to the bathroom or to get some food). So, that has made packing for our upcoming move extreeeeemly difficult, and Jason has had to bear the brunt of all the work involved in this move. He has been awesome, while Juliana and I rock in the chair and give orders. haha.
We will be posting before and after pictures of our new house fairly soon. The big move is on Sunday. Yikes! You know, we have lived in this house longer than anywhere I have lived in my entire life! We’ve lived here for 10 years, and I have lived on the HVA campus for 14 years! Almost half my life! So, even though we are moving only 3.9 miles away, it will still be a bit weird for awhile. I have loved living in the Mt. Aetna community. But, one of our new neighbors came by and introduced herself today, and she seems very friendly. I know there will be lots of good things about living in our new house, and I’m so excited to share the photos with you all!
In the meantime, here are some more photos of Juliana.