Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dear Zoe,

Today you are five months and one day old. You are currently stretched across my lap and sleeping. You’re out cold and obviously exhausted. But I don’t blame you. This has been a very busy month for our family. I think if I had to choose one word to sum up the past month, I would choose change. We (especially you) saw a lot of change this month.

You started the month off with a new pediatrician. The old pediatrician was very, um, old. She was obviously very experienced and came recommended and praised, but she was not a good fit for us. I felt like I needed you to have a different doctor and so we took you to see the same doc Ellie sees.

The first order of business at your appointments is to strip you down to your diaper and measure and weigh you. I nearly burst into tears when I saw the scale. In the two months since your previous appointment, you’d only gained 4 ounces. You were four months old and only weighed 12 pounds 7 ounces where other baby’s your age were weighing in at 18 or 20 pounds. Your doc asked a lot of questions and suggested we make some changes to your eating. First thing was to let you have an all you can eat smorgasbord whenever you wanted. Your other doc had suggested I feed you for only ten minutes on each breast to reduce your spitting up. The new doc said that by doing this, you were not getting any hind (fatty) milk. We were told to get some Phenugreek to increase my milk supply and to come back in two weeks for a weigh in.

Those two weeks were fabulous. You ate to your hearts content. We gave you rice cereal for the first time and you sort of liked it. When I took you back to get weighed, I was sure that you’d have packed on like, 5 pounds with all the eating you’d done. But you hadn’t. The doctor came in to talk to us. He suggested that the mini pill I’m taking had lowered the fat content of my milk. He told me to start giving you a special formula that would help with the spitting up and get you all the nutrients you need. He could not believe how little you weighed, so we took you out to the scale to double check for errors. No mistake. Even though you look chubby, your weight is low. I joked later that no girl wants to look fatter than she actually is, but I was genuinely scared and blamed myself.

The doc wanted to be as aggressive as he could about finding out what the deal was without being too invasive. He ordered a urinalysis. You were not fazed when they inserted the catheter, but I was freaking out. Your dad came to meet me and we took you to go get blood drawn. You smiled and flirted with the phlebotomists and only cried a little. The next day we took you for an upper GI. Again, you were awesome… just going with the flow. You drank the barium quickly and did not fuss during the x-rays. Your dad and I each held your hands the entire time. The radiologist said everything was looking good and that you did not have reflux or anything visibly wrong. We were relieved.

You love your formula. So much so, that I felt a little sad that I was not your food source anymore. Breastfeeding had been a pain, but having the doc tell me to take a break so that we could see if the formula would help your weight gain was difficult for me. I realized that it is a bond between us and I liked it. So you and I made a compromise. I feed you in the morning when you wake up and at night before you go to sleep, and in between you are formula fed. This has been working out very well and as of last week you are 13 pounds. Already I can see more rolls on your little body and your chubby cheeks are even chubbier. This makes your dad and me very happy and relieved. The idea of you being sick or undernourished terrified us more than we let on, I think. We want so much for you to always be healthy and happy… for as long as we can control that.

So along with our mini drama, we were also busy packing up and moving to a new house. The new place is fabulous. We now have more space and sunlight. You now have more room for your toys and to crawl, because I know that’s going to happen any day now. You’re very inquisitive and you often lean forward to look all around. You go from lying on your back to sitting up (with some assistance) to laying back on your tummy and inching forward like a little worm. Our little wiggle worm is what you are! Toys became interesting to you overnight and you adore Max and Bailey. My favorite thing though, I think, is your laugh. You have a strong belly laugh that is so infectious; it makes it difficult to care about anything but making you laugh more.

I am happy to report that with the new house, you have gone from sleeping in your portable crib in our bedroom to your fancy crib in your own room. Hallelujah, kiddo! I was beginning to think we were going to need to get a king sized bed and that you were never going to sleep alone. A tiny part of me missed having you right there with us, but after four nights with a wall between us, I’ve got to say it’s nice to have a wall between us. Someday far (FAR!) in the future, you will understand.

With that, I’m going to wrap up this letter. I had more that I was going to tell you, little one but now you are up from your nap and need stimulation. I think we might venture out in your stroller and give you a tour of the new neighborhood. I love you infinitely and feel so blessed to get to share the world with you.

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