suff i wish i’d known before i had a baby

i am getting ready o start writing “ella funt” #2, which will cover all the excitement of being diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, being put on hospital bed rest, being induced, having a premature baby in the NICU, etc. it’s making me think a lot about all the stuff i wish i would have known before all that stuff happened. despite having gone to midwifery school & read like every book about pregnancy EVER, there was a lot of stuff i simply didn’t know. i had never even been in a hospital labor & delivery ward. i had a tour/pre-registration appointment scheduled…but ramona was born too early. when i called to cancel, they were like, “okay, do you need to reschedule?” & i was like, “um, no, my baby is already born.”

#1: i wish i had known that not every hospital can handle any degree of prematurity. obviously i didn’t even think about this when i was pregnant because i wasn’t planning to have a premature baby. especially not one that was so premature, she required advanced neonatal care. i had hoped to give birth at lawrence memorial hospital, five minutes from my house, with all kinds of amenities like birth tubs. my biggest concern was that LMH partners with this weird disney-owned company that tries to sell new parents expensive newborn portrait packages. but it turns out, their NICU can’t handle babies born before 34 weeks, & ramona was born at 32 weeks (technically–see #2). so i had to give birth at overland park regional medical center in suburban kansas city–40 minutes away.

#2: only completed weeks count toward gestational age. to be precise, ramona’s gestational age when she was born was 32 weeks, 6 days, 23 hours, & 37 minutes. surely we could fudge that 23 minutes, right? & say she was born at 33 weeks? especially because she was probably conceived a few days earlier than what’s typical? (they counted her conception as 14 days after my last period, but i know for a fact that she was conceived at 11 or 12 days after because i was obsessively tracking ovulation.) but no: because i hadn’t technically completed that last week, she was marked as a 32-week-old preemie. & when it comes to premature babies, a single week makes a big difference. i know someone who gave birth to premature twins two weeks before ramona was born…but she was 35 weeks pregnant when they were born. they were in the NICU for less than a week. ramona, on the other hand, was in the NICU for 24 days–& she was super-healthy from the get-go. her apgars were 8 & 9. she was only one a ventilator for one day, & she never had any spells of low oxygen saturation or bradycardia. doesn’t matter. she was a 32-week preemie.

#3: if you are diagnosed with pre-eclampsia at 28 weeks, prepare yourself. you will almost certainly be having a premature baby. i was completely in denial about this. i kept hearing stories about women with pre-e giving birth at 37 weeks, 38 weeks, even 41 weeks! nice healthy full-term numbers with nice healthy full-term babies. i clung to those stories, not accounting for the fact that those women were diagnosed with pre-e at like 36 weeks…37 weeks…40 weeks. they didn’t get sick until their babies were already mostly cooked. i got sick kind of way early by pre-eclampsia standards. i never had a prayer of making it to term, but ramona was several months old before i finally accepted that fact.

#4: a cesarean scar will continue to twinge for months. i had no clue about this. obviously i knew that a cesarean was major surgery, & i was in no hurry to have one. but induction was taking forever & i couldn’t do it with my magnesium headache (see #5). i thought i would be in a lot of pain for a while & eventually it would go away & i would have a scar, the end. but this is some harry potter shit. whoever heard of a scar that hurts? & maybe i’m crazy, but i feel like it’s extra twinge-y when i am anxious or sad. or when voldemort is near me. apparently this is all normal though.

#5: magnesium is the worst stuff in the world. i had never even heard of a magnesium drip before i was put on one. it’s not a normal part of the birth experience. it’s reserved for those of us lucky enough to be pre-eclamptic (because it helps prevent stroke) &/or giving birth to premature babies (because it can help prevent the baby from having a brain bleed).

a lot of moms i’ve talked to have never even heard of this. one openly scoffed at me when i mentioned the horrors of the magnesium drip. the nurses warned me, “sometimes the magnesium can cause a headache,” but i was in no way prepared. it caused the worst headache i have ever had in my life. & i was fortunate enough to be put on magnesium THREE SEPARATE TIMES. once on the night i was transferred, because they though i was going to give birth that night & they wanted to prevent a brain bleed, especially because i hadn’t had time to process he steroid shots yet. once two days later, when they actually scheduled the OR for a cesarean because my labs looked so bad. & then once again when they finally induced me. & the best part is that they wouldn’t give me anything for the headache when i was in labor because “we don’t know if it’s the magnesium causing he headache or the high blood pressure & we don’t want to mask symptoms that could be signs of stroke.” it wasn’t until i was crying & vomiting from pain (headache pain only–labor was like being licked by kittens in comparison, i’m not even kidding) that they gave me a fioricet, but by that point, it was too late & i was literally begging for a cesarean. ugh.

#6: a pink baby is a good thing, but a hot pink baby might have jaundice. i didn’t know! i thought jaundice turned the baby’s skin sallow. in retrospect, ramona was literally as red as a lobster fresh out of the pot, & i was like, “oh, she’s so pink & healthy!” yeah, because she had jaundice. luckily, she only needed phototherapy for three days. she recovered much more quickly than they had anticipated.

#7: when you’re first starting out making milk, even a few drops is a huge achievement. people freak out because they aren’t gushing like geysers an hour after giving birth. at five days post-partum, i delivered a vial containing ten milliliters of milk to the NICU & all the lactation consultants lost their shit. “you’re making enough milk to feed triplets!” they said. & i have indeed gone on to pump about fifty ounces of milk a day–about twice as much as ramona needs. there’s a woman just outside kansas city that has been taking all my extra milk, so i actually am feeding more than one baby. from humble beginnings…i didn’t know what to expect with milk production. if someone had asked, i probably would have said hat i expected to be able to pump at least an ounce (thirty milliliters) within 24 hours of giving birth. had the lactation consultants not set me straight with their effusive praise, i probably would have been really concerned & anxious, which actually could have affected my supply.

#8: newborns are noisy. all their grunting & snuffling doesn’t necessarily mean anything. they’ll cry when they need you. granted, i figured this one out fairly quickly, but it would have been nice to know in advance.

#9: just because a baby LIKES a pacifier doesn’t mean it NEEDS a pacifier. & not letting it have a pacifier means you don’t have to wean it off the paci later. ’nuff said. i stopped giving ramona a pacifier pretty quickly (they started her on it in the NICU without consulting us, & i didn’t think to object) because she had poor mouth strength (like all newborns) & it was more trouble than it was worth stuffing the thing back in every time it fell out. now she simply has no interest. she’d rather chew on her burp cloth, which is fine with me!

#10: all those post-birth painkillers they give you can really fuck you up. i remember almost nothing about ramona’s first few weeks because i was stoned out of my gourd on morphine & percocet. i mean, it was kind of cool, but i also really fucked with my emotional equilibrium. one of the worst parts about it was that i didn’t really have the energy to speak at a normal volume, so i just went around muttering all the time, & people would be like, “what? i didn’t hear you,” & i never had the energy to repeat myself.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

22 thoughts on “suff i wish i’d known before i had a baby

  1. I like your advice. My little one wasn’t early, in fact I was induced because she was just chillin’ in my middle for too long – but induction to surprise c-section – my scar has only recently become uncomfortable. I was so utterly terrified of having an incision, I missed the pain part of recovery (srs panic attacks when thinking about the incision…). And i agree about the percocet. I only took a few & switched to t3 because they befuddled me so much… What a trip!! Early parenthood/late pregnancy is nutty! Can’t wait for round 2…*Shakes head. Kicks dirt*

    Baby demanding attention. Write more! What else am I supposed to do with my mat leave!! I’m a neurotic blog-checker. Guess I should buy your zine….;)

    1. huh. wordpress ate my comment.

      you should order my zine! it has your name in the title!

      the nurses at my hospital were all like, “don’t try to be a hero when it comes to the painkillers,” & i wasn’t. ramona was in the NICU & i was only seeing her for a few hours a day anyway…& most of the time, we weren’t even allowed to hold her, let alone take care of her in any way. so i took my percocets every four hours as prescribed. why the hell not? the less i remembered about the NICU, the happier i was.

      i was less scared of the incision than the epidural. i didn’t wan anyone sticking needles into my spine. but when the time actually came, i didn’t give a fuck. i just wanted it all to be over.

      1. I would totally have been more scared of an epi – lucky me, though, and had to be under general… My partner watched it – pretty sure if I have to have another c-section, I will want to be knocked out… Though really, after 11 hrs of pit contractions flat on my back (bb’s heart rate was fucky when I moved) and no pain meds, I was pretty happy to get the show on the road…(thank maude i didn’t have to have magnesium – you are one tough cookie!!). I may or may not have attempted to high five the surgeon before the anaesthetic…

        Our bb was in the NICU for about 35 minutes – moStly because of a stupid pedi who didn’t know her shit- and that was really stressful (on my partner’s bday to boot..).

        I can’t imagine trying to recover from a c-section, having your little in NICU and not being able to hold her…just the thought makes me feel panicky. I really dig that you’re very open about
        your experiences – I’m sure it will help lots of other folks cope with less than ideal birth experiences… It sure helped me 🙂

        I’ll try to figure out paypal soon for your ‘zine!!

        1. i was induced with cytoec & spent twelve hours in labor prior to the cesarean. stuck in bed the whole time due to being on a fetal monitor, continuous blood pressure monitoring, the magnseium drip, & IV fluids with antibiotics. honestly, compared to all that, the contractions didn’t bother me at all. they took my breath away a little, but i wouldn’t say they hurt. that may have changed if we’d actually continued course, who knows?

          one of the worst parts about having ramona in the NICU was having to leave her behind when i was discharged. i cried all the way home. i still sometimes feel a little shaky when i imagine her crying all alone in her isolette in the middle of the night in the hospital. the fact that her breathing tube & the drugs she was on made it impossible for her to cry doesn’t really make me feel better.

  2. Yup, we found out just in time that the hospital where I had been going (Newton-Wellesley, of all places) didn’t have a NICU. They didn’t have to, because they “partnered” with the eight other hospitals in Boston that DID have specialized NICU-type care. Thank god we pressed the issue, because while they were quick to say that MOST babies didn’t NEED a NICU, they also freely admitted – as if it were not going to really be an issue – that if I did have my twins early enough for them to need to be in one (duh. they’re twins.), and I did deliver at N-W, that’s where I would be (post-unwanted-but-seemingly-inevitable-c-section), and that my babies would be transported to which ever Boston hospital had room and would best meet their needs… and not necessarily the same one! So I would be in one hospital (unable to drive), and each premature infant could be in a different hospital somewhere in the greater Boston area, for however long, at least 45 minutes away from me, and potentially from each other. Can you imagine!? With my partner back to work after a week?! That was the indicator that it was definitely time to switch doctors from the near-my-work hospital, to the near-my-house-with-NICU hospital!! Which (sigh of relief) turned out to be amazing. But seriously. (btw – mine were 34 wks, in for 9 days, but we did have it easy – they kept me admitted for 4 days, and let me sleep in my kids room the rest of the time, so I never had to leave the hospital, and had the nurses there to teach me how to take care of them, and take over if I wanted to sleep through the 4:30 AM feeding! we knew just by looking around that we had it easy breezy.)

    1. ugh, wordpress erased my comment! funny how this only happens after i spent like ten minutes writing a really long comment.

      i was in denial about needing a NICU & i had like no forewarning that we would need one, so i didn’t have a chance to make an informed decision. they gave me a choice of three hospitals: two in kansas city & one in topeka. i chose overland park regional medical center because a) i prefer kansas city to topeka (like i was going to be sightseeing? i don’t know why i though that mattered) & b) it’s not a teaching hospital so i ridiculously thought i would have more privacy. as if here is such a thing in any hospital. i had one nurse when i was in the recovery unit who NEVER shut my door. i had to call the nurse’s station like twice an hour to request someone to close my door. i couldn’t do it myself because, hello, i’d just had surgery & couldn’t get out of bed, plus i was attached to the mechanical compression boots & a catheter & an oxygen tank & an IV set-up.

      i don’t know if a different hospital would have been a better choice. i mean, clearly overland park released ramona all alive & healthy, which is the ultimate goal. but there was only one real chair in her room, which meant tha only one of us could sit down when both jared & i were visiting (which was always, because luckily he’s on fellowship this year & was able to spend all day every day at the hospital–in fact, he was more devoted to going than i was, since i was all drugged up & recovering from surgery & dealing with some post-partum depression). the parent room was this depressing little room overlooking the parking lot, socked with a desktop computer from the mid-90s & like 500 cans of instant cream of mushroom soup. the hospital cafeteria closed at 6pm & we had to leave the hospital altogether if we wanted decent coffee.

  3. Yeah… We were lucky with the NICU. It sounds like our hospital was amazing compared to that. I was hyper-neurotic about having everything set by the time I was 30 weeks bc I knew I would essentially be on my own once they came. My partner got six days off + 2 for Thanksgiving, and then after that covered from 4:30 AM – 6 AM before work. That hour and a half was the longest consecutive sleep I got for 4 1/2 months, when they came off the every-three-hours feeding schedule… both babies were IUGR in the womb as well as preemies, & both had terrible reflux that resulted in some serious projectile vomiting of meals, plus all the screaming and arching and refusing to eat (one was REALLY bad, but all it takes is one). So every 3 hours it was. You were so lucky to have J around so much, and a baby that ate when she needed food!!! It’s always something though, right? Just another reason why we are so hard wired to find these squirming, screaming, poop-covered beings irresistible, as we wonder how long that vomit has been in our hair, and what that stain is on the rug.

    1. was the IUGR related to pre-e or twin-ness or just totally unexplained? ramona, thankfully, was gigantic. she weighed over ten pounds on her due date, so you can imagine how big she would have been had i actually still been pregnant then. i think being so big really helped her breathe. she was off the vent within a day or two.

      how were the girls feeding? bottles or what? they had ramona on a feeding tube until the day before she was released. they did allow her to experiment with breastfeeding, but we could only be there/she only had energy to do it once or maaaaybe twice a day. she took to bottles well, thank goodness–that’s what helped her get released so fast (well…comparably–i think she was still older than yours were when they were let go).

      i am lucky that jared was able to be there so much. i don’t know what i would have done if i’d been on my own. the NICU was an awful experience. i read about these women who totally bond with their NICU nurses & actually become friends with them & i am like….whaaaaat? we had a couple of decent nurses, but we also had some HORRIBLE ones, including one who swore up & down that ramona was doing awful & wouldn’t be released until february at the earliest (!!! she came home on xmas eve, for reference; my due date was january 19). we had another that wouldn’t let us hold her because she didn’t want ramona to “get cold”.

      1. Unexplained IUGR. I was delivered within 8 hours of the pre-e diagnosis, and most of that time was just waiting for the OR to open up.

        Mine ate breast milk/formula from bottles. Ellie nursed a bit, but the whole failure to breastfeed story is a long one. They are still on bm/formula, and I’m down to pumping 5x a day, for sanity’s sake more than anything.

        1. they were on bottles from the start?!? WOW. ramona wasn’t even allowed food at first. she was fed a weird mix of medicine/elecrolytes/carbohydrates through a central line into her belly. it was maybe ten days before they let her try anything by mouth, & three weeks before she was allowed to consistently have her feedings that way (& even then, they still left the nose tube in case mouth feedings didn’t go well).

          i too am down to pumping five times a day. sometimes i think about the months i spent pumping EIGHT times a day. i got nothing else done. why, it’s 4am & i’m pumping right now! *sigh* i had so wanted to breastfeed & do child-led weaning, but i’m getting so tired of pumping, i will probably phase out milk by the time she’s a year old. really bums me out, but come on. between pumping, organizing the stored milk, washing pump parts, washing bottles, etc, i spend almost three hours a day attending to it all. i can’t wait to have that time back. some asshole said to me recently, “you know, breastfeeding is free!” she almost learned that a knuckle sandwich is also free. like i wouldn’t be breastfeeding if it were an option? ugh. though exclusive pumping is what enables jared to care for ramona alone for a few hours everyday. he doesn’t have to bring her to me for feedings. i don’t even have to be home when he has her. that’s nice.

    2. I think WordPress is essentially giving us the “don’t you have email?” version of “get a room”. There is no “reply” option to the last comments. Yeah, pumping takes up a ridiculous amount of time. I did the 8x/day thing too until they came off the every 3 hr feeds… Well… Maybe 7 by the end. I held onto sleeping through that 4:30AM meal like it was the only thing that kept me out of the looney bin (which it probably was). I never made enough milk for both babies either, but I did try (lots of pumping, power pumping for hours, regular 30-45 minute sessions, water, oatmeal, flaxseed, fenugreek, blessed thistle, mothers milk – even Domperidone for 8 weeks). Again, in the interest of my sanity, I eventually bought a car adapter for my pump so I could actually leave the house for more than 30 minutes, and gave up on EP.

      My babies had an IV for the first 12 hours or so (I think they put it in automatically as a precaution) and Joey eventually had an 8 hour evening under the billiruben lights one night, but other than that they were in the clear as far as interventions were concerned. Bottles/nursing/no “spells”… They were just feeders/growers. I’m pretty sure we held them a few hours after they were born, but the first 8 hours were a complete blur. Once they held those two bloody babies up over my head and I heard them cry, I went to sleep, and don’t remember anything until I woke woke up in a room several hours later.

      1. hearing all of this is kind of staggering. i was only like a week or two behind you when ramona was born but it sounds like she had so many more interventions. she wasn’t allowed to wear clothes for the first week or so because she was on the central line. she was on heavy sedatives for the first few days because of the ventilator. she was on some form of breathing support until just a few days before she went home. she was on phototherapy for three or four days, & we could only hold her for an hour total those days. i didn’ hold ramona until she was like 26 hours old because i didn’t react to surgery very well & was in recovery for extra time. even when they finally did let me go o the NICU to see her, i had to stay in a wheelchair because i was on oxygen. i didn’t wake up post-surgery for over 12 hours. i think that’s all probably because of the magnesium, & because my blood pressure got so high during labor (it spiked at one point to 210/180).

        i think that all kind of makes up for the fact that i’ve never had supply problems! though i wonder if it’s the pump i use. i rent a hospital-grade pump (a symphony medela) from lawrence memorial. it’s extremely efficient. it’s a bit of an expense ($60 a month), but it’s nice no to have to supplement at all. we were supposed to give ramona two formula feedings a day for “extra calories” but she has consistently gained half a pound every week since she was born, so we quit doing that.

      2. No, your supply is awesome. I rent the same pump, and only make enough for 1 and a half babies, tops. Ramona was also big enough that you could feed her on demand when she got home, which is phenomenal. I did luck out though. As much as I was hoping for a natural birth (hot tub labor, special birthing room, etc.), what I got was probably second best – I never went into labor, my water never broke, I never had a contraction, never even had my cervix checked. They just magically removed my babies around midnight, there’s pics of me holding them probably around 3, and by 8 I was fine and visiting them for real…and by that afternoon, I was pushing my IV and magnesium drip down the hall and pushing my stuff in the wheelchair they left for me. Magnesium came out after 24 hours, and I was pretty much good to go. Still in the hospital, not really sleeping, trying to figure out pumping and feeding babies, but not all messed up. Super lucky on that end… I drove myself and everyone home from the hospital bc I was off meds by then, and hadn’t had mobility issues since about day 3.

        1. so the magnesium didn’t really mess you up? it totally fucked me up. i mean, i did twelve hours of labor before my surgery, but…it wasn’t that bad. the contractions were interesting, but not really painful. having my cervix checked was a million times worse.

          i was so fucked up after the birth that i wouldn’t have occurred to me to try to pump if a lactation consultant hadn’t showed up at my bedside. i was still moving gingerly & taking painkillers weeks later. i didn’t start driving again until six weeks. i mean, maybe i would have HAD to get my act together if i hadn’t had jared there to help me, i guess we’ll never know.

          i think that if i had two babies eating as much as ramona does now, i wouldn’t quite be able to keep up. i pump forty ounces a day & she eats like thirty, i think? today i went to start refilling my deep freeze & discovered an old bag of milk that was inadvertently left in there the last time i emptied it & unplugged it. um…disgusting. far & away the grossest part of motherhood so far.

      3. Ewww… I found a bottle that had rolled under the couch once (and stayed way, way too long). Yuck. That sounds really traumatic… I really thought I was in a 5 star hotel at the hospital. Which may just be an indicator of the qualiy of actual hotels I have stayed at in the past, but still. Yeah, the first 4 1/2 months with these two were RIDONKULOUS, but now they are pretty easy. They are complete opposites, Ellie is so easy going, and Jo has such strong opinions about EVERYTHING. But they are eating okay (and I started them on avocado/breast milk puree, but only when I have avocados, and primarily for my own amusement), they sleep okay ( but still wake up to eat once a lot of the time), and they’re obsessed with the CD from this music class I take them to to get out of the house. Joey is all over the place, and up on all fours rocking and trying to crawl, and Ellie just lays, sits or rolls, but mostly rolls when I’m trying to change her diaper. It is what it is. Peek a boo, coffee, and long walks in the woods with friends. I have the opposite milk issue – mine eat around 50 oz combined, and I pump around 30, but I had to get over the EP mission, and their formula is 80% covered by insurance, so it is what it is. I have no real plan to either quit pumping, or make it past 6 months adjusted, so I guess we’ll just see. I bet by the time they meet, they’ll be old enough to play (or at least steal toys from each other and cry about it 🙂 hope you three make it back this way soon!

        1. are they both sitting up on their own? ramona isn’t even close. though i guess she could surprise us at any moment. she’s still really inconsistent with rolling over. she likes to roll over when she’s getting dressed or having a diaper change (back to belly), but she can’t seem to figure out that she needs to lift her head. so she’ll be laying there belly down, with her head tipped sideways on one arm. i have yet to witness her roll from belly to back without getting a little assistance first (though jared has seen it a few times).

          i’ve decided i’m not giving her solids until she can sit up unsupported, due to the choking risk. plus she just doesn’t seem interested yet, & i still make plenty of milk for her. & had she been born on her due date, she’d still only be four months & one & a half weeks. i think that’s really too young for solids. i don’t know if she’d even be able to digest them properly. but i know your girls are older, gestationally & in reality. it’s crazy what a difference just a few weeks can make at this age.

          we will definitely be in boston for christmas, if not sooner. probably not sooner, really. by then they should definitely be old enough to hang out together!

          gotta go, ramona is flipping out about something. i hate this time of day. she is starting to resist her afternoon nap & then she gets really grumpy.

      4. Lol… They sit up on their own, but they don’t GET there on their own (like from laying down). But then they are okay, especially Ellie. Joey likes to go go go. They are older than Ramona though, 6 1/2 months/5 adjusted. I don’t mind letting them play with avocado/breastmilk now…I might try sweet potato too, but I know its early… In contrast, the pediatrician wants them on cereal + “stage one” foods twice a day (nope).

        1. can they sit unsupported or do they have to be propped or holding on to something? ramona is happy to sit as long as she is propped or holding on to my hands. but if i tried to just plunk her down in a seated position with no support, she would topple right over. same goes with standing. she likes to practice it, but only by holding on to me.

          i’m glad my pediatrician isn’t pushing solids. though she hasn’t had her six-month check-up yet…who knows what will happen there. i really don’t want to start her on solids until she’s six months adjusted, she can sit unsupported, & she is showing interest. she just recently started really looking at food & making chomping motions with her mouth when jared & i eat. (as cute as it sounds.) but she’s not grabbing for it, so i think she’s just mimicking our faces.

          i too plan for her first food to be some kind of pureed something. fuck cereal. i really don’t get why that is the first food for so many babies.

          1. Yeah… I get having to do cereal if you start at 4 months (when their intestines are still sort of porous), but there doesn’t seem to be any real need for that. To each their own though. I was kind of fascinated by “baby led weaning” (in regards to starting solids, as opposed to actually weaning from the breast. I don’t know why they call it that, but its the one where they eat whatever you’re eating/chew on your corn cob, etc.), and the other one I liked was wholesome baby food, either .com, or the book by Maggie mead. I picked avocado bc my kids need all the fat&calories they can get, and it seemed easy to digest, was easy to “make”, and I had one. I’m sure a LOT of “first food” choices that aren’t baby cereal end with “and I had one”. But they aren’t eating every day yet, half bc they are still young, and half bc they stopped eating enough oz of milk last week when they cut teeth, and I’m worried that if I fill them w/ food puree then they REALLY won’t eat their bottles. It’s a constant crap shoot. They *can* stay sitting up unassisted, but now that they can, they don’t want to. Jo will if you put enough stuff in front of her to play with until she sees something else she wants and rolls off to try to get it. Ellie will sit there and rock back and forth for a while. Both still think that flinging themselves backwards is a good way to get out of the sitting position when they feel done. That’s awesome Ramona is standing though. She’s so darn cute.

            1. i saw that picture you posted, with jo (? i keep forgetting which one is which–jo is the balder one & ellie is the one with the big big eyes, right?) sitting up, just like a real baby! very impressive. it’s so cute when babies do that. ramona JUST started getting really good at rolling over & now will do it every time she is laying down. on the one hand, it’s awesome that she’s developing this skill. on the other hand, that means it’s really hard to keep her on the table when we are having dinner or whatever. the other night, she kept rolling over into jared’s plate. but she’s not quite big enough for her high chair yet. she kind of slumps over in it because she can’t really sit yet & then she makes whiny noises.

              i really don’t read anything about babies/parenting. i’m familiar with the phrase & the gist of baby-led weaning, but i haven’t actually read up on it. but that’s probably more or less what we will do.

              how big are your girls now? i forget if i shared this story, but when ramona went in for her four-month check-up, they had booked us into the wrong pediatrician. he was an okay guy, but not someone we’d seen before. so ramona gets all weighed & measured & everything, & then he comes in & is like, “so. for four months, she’s in the 7th percentile for weight. so the good news is that she IS growing. but i think we should talk about supplementation to help her gain some weight.” i was like, “you know she was born two months early, right?” & he was like, “OH! no. hold on,” & he recalculated based on her gestational age. then he was like, “okay, for her gestational age, she’s in the 98th percentile. so you need to stop using food as a pacifier.” *sigh* i don’t think i do use food as a pacifier. i just feed her when she seems hungry. there are PLENTY of times when she rejects the bottle. i figure that if she’s in the 98th percentile for her gestational age, then a) that’s right on target with how she was growing while i was still pregnant–she was always in the upper limits of the growth chart, & b) she’s just working on closing the gap between her gestational age & her real age. good for her. whatever, uninformed doctor guy who didn’t look at her chart.

  4. Ramona has always been so big and strong. I would have to look it up based on their adjusted age, but I’m pretty sure my Ped does the %tiles off of their actual age. Ellie was the sitting/balder/bigger baby in the picture. She was 15.2lbs two weeks ago. Jo is still little – 10th %tile for everything (but, to be fair, she has been right around that since about 28 weeks gestation), and she was 13.14 two weeks ago. Joey could sit, but she only wants to be on all fours trying to crawl. Ever. It’s adorable, unless she is in her crib and is supposed to be asleep. Ellie probably rolls less than Ramona. She seems to think it all is a lot of unnecessary effort, but she has started doing the “worm” dance move to try to get stuff… Funny to watch, but less than effective for her. I ended up deciding as much of a pain in the ass as it is, Joey isn’t ready for solids, but Ellie really is. They are (obviously) two individuals, it’s just clearly easier when they are doing at least roughly the same thing (if nothing else, those things that require buying/cooking/freezing/serving/clean up/immediate bathing)….lol… Maybe it is easier to do one at a time! I bet Ramona will love food when she’s ready for it. She’s always been such a good eater it seems (or at least a good grower!)

    1. ramona has always been pretty big. i have no idea how much she weighs at this point, but she was thirteen pounds, six ounces at four months. which was technically two months, if we’re going by gestational age. she’s definitely bigger now–starting to grow out of more & more clothes everyday. she has her six-month check-up on wednesday & then we’ll have numbers. i don’t especially care if she’s big, small, or medium, but it’s always interesting to find out.

      she’s a good little eater too. if i hold her bottle out to her now, she grabs it with both hands & tries to jam it into her mouth. she doesn’t understand the part about how it has to be tipped up. it’s really cute to see her get so excited for it, but she also has her moments when she screams & stiffens up & won’t eat. that is happening more & more. i don’t know if she just isn’t hungry or what. sometimes she’ll scream & refuse the bottle if i’m sitting with her in one chair, but if i sit in a different one, she’ll take it. it’s obvious that she’s taking in more of her surroundings now–maybe sometimes she just gets too overwhelmed to eat?

      it’ll be so interesting to get all these babies together in a room together!

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