03/23/10 Cutie Pie

Juliana has started grinning at us, in obvious response to our smiles and talking. She is so precious! Her hemangioma seems to be healing. The specialist at Johns Hopkins prescribed an antibiotic ointment and predicts that it will resolve itself in a few weeks. That’s great news! She weighs over 8 lbs now and is starting to sleep for 4 hour stretches occasionally.

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We’ve had a good week. Juliana enjoyed snuggling with her Grandpa and Grandma Minner, who visited last weekend. Then, the nurse who came to visit on Monday was not actually the physical therapist I expected, who will eventually evaluate Juliana’s development and put together a plan for her activities and exercises. Instead, it was just the case manager with a lot of paperwork to get us started. She was very nice, and she will be bringing the therapist back during the first week of April to do a thorough assessment of Juliana’s progress. So, stay tuned for updates in that area.

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In other news, our weather has been gorgeous this week, and Juliana took her first walk! We didn’t have our stroller yet, so we just carried her around the neighborhood. She mostly slept.

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Also, I have finally finished working on the nursery. My original design idea hinged on the concept of a “family tree” decal on the wall. Babies see the contrast of black and white better than colors, at least at first. So, I wanted to put up some black and white photos of her family’s faces, so that she can start to recognize people. Her grandparents, aunts, and uncles are on the family tree, and I put some more photos of Jason and me over her changing area. After much delay from orders gone awry, our tree finally arrived. Jason helped me put it up, and everything has come together. So many people have been helpful in assembling this room. My ideas have been carried out by my mom who made the beautiful curtains and crib skirt, my sister Katie who created and made a gorgeous quilt, my sister Megan and Jennifer Calhoun who spent hours helping me organize the many gifts from all of you lovely folks, and Ansley who helped me arrange photos. Mark and Jen Cook gave us their crib, which is beautiful and perfect for Juliana. A special thanks also to Sheri Tydings (and HVA) for the bookcase and for picking up our chair from the store and hauling it back to Hagerstown. Juliana is truly lucky to have so many people who care about her. She is enjoying being at home and snuggling with us in her rocking chair.

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03/08/10 Growth

We had another visit to the pediatrician today. Juliana weighs 7 lb 6 oz today and is 18.5 inches long. A surprising fact: she is now registering on the growth chart! Her length is still too short to be on the chart yet, but judging from her weight, she is now in the 11th percentile for her “real” age of 4 months. Yay! She’s likely to be on the small side for most of her life, but she has never been on the chart up until now!

The Maryland Infants and Toddlers program developmental lady is coming tomorrow to evaluate Juliana and start her on her physical therapy course, which is a free resource in our state. We’ll see how she does!

03/05/10 Update

There aren’t many things to report these days. Juliana is doing great in her new environment–home! She hit the 7 lb. mark on Thursday of this week, and she continues to love eating. We are slowly fazing out the Preemie clothing. It’s amazing to see her arms, legs, and (as many of you have already commented) cheeks getting chubby. It was hard to imagine her reaching this point, but she is starting to maintain actual baby fat!

I’m not sure if we’ve mentioned this on the blog before, but Juliana was born with a hemangioma underneath her left ear. This is a buildup of abnormal blood vessel growth that is quite common (occurring in approximately 10 percent of Caucasians) and often resolves itself. Apparently they are more common in premature babies and also in identical twins (which she is) than in other babies. Hers is between a nickel and a quarter in size. I was actually born with one in my eyelid which was surgically removed when I was 5 years old. The doctors believe that Juliana’s will go away on its own, but it has been giving us some problems recently. It is in an awkward location for the placement of her car seat strap, and it rubs on her clothes as well. As a result, it has broken open and bled a couple of times. She is currently taking antibiotics to keep it from becoming infected, and we have been referred to the pediatric dermatologist at Johns Hopkins, who is apparently the best.

Apart from this minor issue, Juliana is thriving and very happy. She likes to keep us up at night, particularly between midnight and 3 am, but she is generally a very sweet, content baby. It is wonderful to be home, and we are so blessed!

Grandpa and Grandma Minner are visiting this weekend, and they are enjoying snuggling with her as well. We hope you all are doing well. Thanks for your continued encouraging words and support.