Friday, January 3, 2014

My Elly Bean

Elly is two months old now. Today, sick with a stomach bug, the two of us snuggled on the bed, moving in and out of sleep. It amazes me how babies know their mothers. If she is put down, and even sometimes if she's held by other people, she will be restless and awake. When I take her and lay her on my arm with me by her side, she is asleep in seconds.

I am in awe of her, of her feather soft cheeks, downy dark hair, and the eyelashes that are growing in. She has enormous blue eyes that I thought were going to go brown but seem to be staying blue. Isaac's side of the family has decided she has the eyes of my my Dad and my sister Michelle.

She's different than Judah in some ways. Judah was a fantastic eater, and due to the cleft palate, Elly isn't. Because there's no seal between her mouth and nasal cavity, she can't create good suction. So, she can't eat from me and eats slowly. Lots of people comment that it seems like she's eating all the time, and she is. It's worth it to me, though, because with all of that pumping and constant feeding, she's average weight for her age. Despite being average weight she still looks like a little bitty thing, very petite. Judah had amazingly rolly thighs as a baby, Elly has skinny little legs and carries her rolls in her arms.

She sleeps even better than Judah did. She often (but not always) sleeps through the night. Like Judah, she often sleeps with me in bed, though we never start her there. I don't have her on a schedule at all, I just let her sleep and eat when she wants to. We keep her in her bouncer or the car seat most of the time, because when she's upright she's less likely to spit up. The spit up is another cleft palate thing. She may have more reflux than the average baby but it feels like a TON because it all washes back and forth between her mouth and nose, and comes out her nose often, creating milk boogers. So, we go through a lot more clothes and have a big stash of burp clothes, which we never did with Judah.

She started smiling a week ago, and I work so hard for those smiles, and I die when I get them. So stinkin' sweet. She loves to have her hair stroked and I wear her more than Judah did, in the Ergo or a sling I picked up at a thrift store. From the hospital she's had a strong neck and has wanted to push up and look around. Now in her awake hours she wants to push up on her feet and semi-stand and look around. She's a very curious baby who is always observing everything intently when she's awake.

I call her Elly Bean or Elly Belly (jelly bean, jelly belly), Little Bean, Little Bit, and some other things. I thought she'd be "peanut", but it just never stuck.

She has surgery on her cleft palate scheduled for a month from now, and it's a pretty basic surgery that should be fine, but still it's scary to put a newborn under anesthesia for a plastic surgery that majorly affects her. I get nervous when I think about it. I also know that it's really likely that she'll need another surgery later on, which is fine, but I worry if she'll need more, and how this will affect her speech, and how much she'll feel the affects of the cleft palate life-long. We will see.

I simply know to love her, care for her, and soak her up.

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