Tuesday, December 25, 2007

First Christmas

Checking out the tree...
And her stocking...
And her presents...
Opening them up...
Playing with her new toys...
The aftermath...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Roly Poly

Forget about crawling, Claire has discovered that rolling is much more efficient...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More Pictures

Our prize for the cutest baby contest was a gift certificate to Portrait Innovations, so I took Claire there today for her 6-month/Christmas pictures...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Visiting Santa

Claire went to visit Santa this afternoon...

Here are some more pictures.

Monday, December 10, 2007

6-Month Checkup

Claire saw her new pediatrician today for her 6-month checkup. She weighs 13 lbs 10 oz (10th percentile) and is 25 inches long. She showed off her new skills -- chewing on her toes, rolling over onto her tummy and holding up her head. She was fascinated by the baby in the mirror on the wall next to the examination table.

She still has a stuffy nose from the cold she has had this week. The doctor looked in her ears and listened to her lungs really well and said everything is okay (Whew!). She also gave us the all clear to start feeding her veggies and fruits. Claire loves rice cereal and eats really well from a spoon, so I think she will enjoy getting to try some other foods. We are going to start with sweet potatoes since we know she is not allergic to them after sampling some at Thanksgiving.

Claire was all smiles for the nurse until she started giving her shots. December is going to be a rough month because she had to have an RSV shot last week, three vaccination shots today, and she is getting a flu shot this weekend. January won't be much better because she has to get two RSV shots and a follow-up flu shot. Poor Claire bear.

Friday, December 7, 2007

6 Months Old

Claire is six months old today! This fall my friend's little girl asked me how many years old Claire was. I told her zero, and she thought that was just terrible. Now I can tell her that Claire is half a year old.

Claire caught her first cold this week. She has had a really stuffy nose, but so far her lungs seem to be okay. We are going to the pediatrician on Monday for her six month check-up and I'm going to make sure they check her over really well.

She doesn't have any teeth yet. Last week I was convinced that she was about to get one, but then the symptoms went away and no tooth appeared.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CDH Awareness Day

I belong to a support group for parents of CDH children called Breath of Hope. They have a campaign underway to get March 31, 2008 proclaimed as Congenital Diaphragmatic Awareness Day in all fifty states. This fall a few other Alabama moms and I wrote to the governor requesting that he proclaim this day. I just received a signed proclamation from him that declares the entire month of March as Congenital Diaphragmatic Awareness Month! I'm going to frame the proclamation and show it to Claire when she is older.

I believe that thirteen states have proclaimed the day so far. I asked my friend who lives in Maine to write to her governor and he proclaimed the day, and I asked my sister-in-law in Georgia to write her governor and he proclaimed the day as well. I am still working on Arkansas (where my brother lives) and Tennessee (where I now live).

Several events are being planned by CDH parents all over the country to promote awareness on March 31, including rallies, candlelight ceremonies, blood drives, and wearing turquoise. I told Claire's surgeon about it the last time we saw her and she got really excited and agreed to spread the word and pass out turquoise ribbons around the hospital.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Solid Food

Claire has been eyeing our plates at dinnertime for the past week, so on Thanksgiving we gave her a bite of sweet potato. That was the first solid food she has ever had -- up until now she has only had milk. She wasn't sure what to do with it at first, but eventually swallowed it and seemed to like it. Today I fed her some rice cereal and she gobbled it up. After each bite she would give me a big smile. When I held out the spoon for another bite she opened her mouth and was ready for it.

I think she might be teething. Her bottom gums are puffy and she has been drooling and gnawing on everything in sight (including her feet). She has also been a bit cranky. Hopefully that tooth will break through soon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lifting Up My Head

Claire has finally figured out how to lift up her head when on her tummy! Now that she can raise up she is able to flop over onto her back. She hasn't mastered this all the way yet, but is getting stuck less often. The girl is rolling all over the place and chattering! She has been taking lots of naps during the day because she wears herself out playing so hard.

We got settled into our apartment and are learning our way around Nashville. We found Target and Wal-mart so we are set. We have been looking at houses and are meeting with a realtor this weekend to go inside some of them. (Hopefully our house in Birmingham will sell soon.) We are also going to start visiting churches to find one we fit in at. I'm anxious to make some friends up here. Although Claire is a budding conversationalist, it is lonely being in the apartment all day while James is at work.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Follow-Up Appointments

Claire turned 5 months old yesterday! We saw her surgeon and pulmonary doctor today at Children's Hospital in Birmingham. She weighs 12 lbs 12 oz and is 25 inches long. When I took her diaper off and laid her on the scale she peed everywhere and we had to start over again :-)

Everything on her chest x-ray looked good and her lungs are growing well. Her sat level was 98. She showed off by smiling and babbling to the doctors and nurses. They told me to continue giving her Zantac for reflux and increased her dosage since she weighs more now. They also want her to get a flu shot next month when she is 6 months old (oh no, not MORE shots!). The pulmonary doctor told her to not get sick this winter, and hopefully she will listen to him.

I told the surgeon we were moving to Nashville and asked if we should transfer to Vanderbilt for follow-ups. She thought it best if Claire keeps coming to Birmingham to see her until she is at least one year old. That is fine with me because I feel comfortable with her since she did Claire's surgery and has been involved with her case since before she was born. So we will come back down for follow-ups every three months until Claire turns one, then every six months until she turns two, then once a year after that. But if there ever was an emergency (reherniation, etc.) she said we would be in excellent hands at Vanderbilt.

James started his new job in Nashville on Wednesday and so far he really likes it. We rented an apartment up here until our house sells. I'm taking Claire back to Children's tomorrow for a hearing re-evaluation, then we are heading up there to check out our new digs.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Cutest Baby

My stepdad entered Claire's picture into the Redstone Arsenal's cutest baby contest at his work. She won the cutest girl category and raised $136 for CFC. We got a gift certificate to Portrait Innovations and she will be listed in Redstone's next newspaper. I also entered the chick picture into Breath of Hope's Halloween Costume contest. The winner will be selected next week and wins a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com. Maybe JonBenét's mom was on to something -- just kidding!

This weekend Claire enjoyed watching football while we packed. She was particularly vocal during the Alabama vs LSU game...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Claire is all set for her first Halloween. She is going to be a chick/duck, which we decided was the perfect costume since she loves bathtime and her rubber ducky toy. It took a few attempts before she would tolerate the hat part of the costume -- she HATES for anything to be on her head. On Wednesday evening we are going to take her "trick-or-treating" around our cul-de-sac and then over to her grandparents' house.

On Monday a nurse is coming to our house to give Claire her first Synagis shot to help protect her from RSV. She will get one shot per month through April.

Claire is getting really good at rolling from her back to her belly, but she can't roll the other way so I have to come "rescue" her when she gets stuck. She is also able to lift her head a little bit when she is on her tummy. Her legs are super strong and she can propel herself forward somewhat, but she hasn't figured out what to do with her arms yet (James says she is like a wheelbarrow without a front wheel). She grabs at everything now, including my hair, and is able to pass a toy from one hand to the other.

We have big news -- we are moving to Nashville! James accepted a job there and starts on November 7th. Claire and I are going to stay behind for a few days so that I can take her to her follow-up appointments at Children's Hospital, then we will drive up that weekend. I'm going to talk to her surgeon to see if we should continue to come to Birmingham for follow-ups or if we can transfer to Vanderbilt. Once we get to Nashville I am going to have to find her a pediatrician quickly so that she can get scheduled for her next Synagis shot.

Monday, October 15, 2007

4-Month Checkup

We took Claire in for her 4-month checkup with the pediatrician today. She weighs 11 lbs 15 oz (10th percentile) and is 24 inches long (25th percentile). He listened to her lungs and heard good breath sounds all around. She breathes a little faster than the average baby, but he said that's normal for her. He wasn't concerned that she isn't able to lift her head up yet when lying on her tummy. He was very pleased that she hasn't been sick so far and said we need to try to keep it that way this winter. She got lots of shots today, but I gave her Tylenol before we went and she didn't cry as hard this time, so I was relieved.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Baby Dedication

Claire was in the baby dedication ceremony at church today. She fell asleep beforehand, and by the time we got up on stage she was completely zonked and as limp as a ragdoll. Everybody laughed, and the pastor told James she must have gotten that from him because it's how James looks during his sermons :-)

Baby Dedication Ceremony

Once all the babies' names had been called the audience clapped, and Claire woke up with a "where am I?" expression. Afterward we went outside and had our picture taken.

Baby Dedication Ceremony

Claire also discovered her tongue this week. She sticks it out all the time and tries to grab it with her fingers. She also figured out how to roll from her back to her stomach. Friday night I laid her on her back in her crib and a few hours later woke up to find her on her tummy and sucking her thumb. I guess I no longer have to enforce "tummy time".

Thursday, October 4, 2007

4 Months Old

Claire is almost four months old! She is getting so big. When I weighed her this morning she was 12 lbs. She seems to have gotten heavier all at once and is outgrowing her summer clothes. She has been smiling and "talking" a LOT lately...

We have an appointment with her pediatrician next week, which I am dreading because she is due to get several vaccinations. She will also start getting a Synagis shot once a month throughout cold/flu season to help protect her from RSV. So far she has never been sick (knock on wood) and I'm hoping to keep it that way for as long as possible. I may have to get one of these signs for her.

Other than getting all those shots, I think October will be a fun month. The weather is finally getting cooler so we have been taking Claire outside more (she likes riding in her stroller). In a few weeks she is going to participate in the baby dedication ceremony at church (a friend gave her a gorgeous dress to wear). And I can't wait for Halloween because I got her the CUTEST costume.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tummy Time

Claire slept so good for four nights in a row, but then regressed to waking up every two or three hours and has been doing that for the past several nights. Oh well, I got my hopes up for a little while. She is growing like a weed. Her size 1 diapers are getting too small and when I weighed her this morning she was close to 11 lbs.

She hates being put onto her tummy. I didn't lay her that way very much when we got home from the hospital because she'd just had surgery and I was worried about her being sore or having a hard time breathing. Now whenever I put her on her tummy she gets MAD, I think because she can't lift her head yet. She managed to flip herself over onto her back the other day. I told her she would never learn to crawl if she didn't lay on her stomach first. I guess she will have to scoot around on her bottom instead, or skip crawling altogether and just start walking :-)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Finally Sleeping

All summer long Claire has been waking up every two or three hours at night to eat. But for the past two nights she has slept from 8 pm until 2 am (six whole hours!), woke up to eat, and then went back to sleep until 5 or 6 am. Oh happy day! Several people told me she should be able to sleep longer once she reached 10 lbs, which is what she was when I weighed her this week. She has also started sucking her thumb when she is sleepy, which helps her to soothe herself back to sleep on her own. We may have a hard time breaking this habit later down the road, but at this point I'm all for it.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

3 Months Old

Claire turned three months old on Friday. We took her to Portrait Innovations today to get some pictures made. I was worried that she would be fussy when it came time to take her picture, but she was happy and had a great time. She is used to having her picture taken since I take about a million a day of her :-) The photographer today did a wonderful job.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

At The Beach

We are at the beach this week -- Claire's first vacation. We rented a house with a porch that looks out at the gulf. Claire has enjoyed sitting on the porch in her bouncy seat, and also going for walks with us along the beach in the evenings. The sound of the waves crashing puts her to sleep. Here are some more photos from our trip.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Daddy's Clone

Below is a picture of James when he was a baby compared to a picture of Claire. She definitely took after her daddy!

We hooked her to the oximeter all night on Thursday and her sats were 99 and 100 even when she was sleeping deeply. They downloaded the data on Friday to give to the doctor, so hopefully this week we will get a call saying they are coming to pick up all the oxygen equipment.

Claire has discovered her hand. She stares at it in amazement and then bops herself in the forehead with it. It has become her favorite daily activity. She has also started batting at her toys, whereas before she would just stare at them and get mad when they didn't move by themselves.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

War Eagle!

Claire is getting pumped about the upcoming football season...

She slept four continuous hours last night, which is the longest she's ever gone. She must have been dreaming about touchdowns. Hopefully she will do so again tonight so that mommy can get some rest!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Follow-Up Appointments

Claire had follow-up appointments at Children's Hospital today. She weighs 8 lbs 14 oz and is 22 inches long. The surgeon was very impressed with how well Claire is looking. She is fattening up and her incisions are completely healed. The pulmonary specialist said Claire's chest x-ray looks better than the one they took last month and that her lungs are aerating very well. Her right lung is normal-sized, and her left lung is about half-sized and is getting bigger. Her sat reading was 100 (when they took it in the office last month it was only 92). They are going to have us hook her to the oximeter for one night and record the readings so that they will have them documented, then they will come pick up the oxygen equipment from our house and she will be "officially" off it. She has been unofficially off it for a month now. The pulmonary doctor said very few of his CDH patients come off the oxygen so quickly. Both doctors want to see Claire back in about three months. She will need to get Synagis injections this fall to help protect her from RSV.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Claire and her daddy, dancing the night away...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Claire is two months old today! She wanted to say "hey" to everybody...

Friday, August 3, 2007

Goodbye Bottles

It took eight weeks and a LOT of perseverance, but Claire is finally breastfeeding. She hasn't been fed from a bottle for over 24 hours now, and judging by the number of diapers I've changed she is getting plenty of food. This makes life easier on me because now I can just feed her without also having to pump and wash bottles. This is especially more convenient in the middle of the night!

I'm not sure exactly how much Claire weighs now, but I know it is over 8 lbs. She is getting chubby cheeks and her arms and legs are starting to get little fat rolls. She has outgrown all of her newborn-sized clothes and is now wearing size 0-3 months. We go back to Children's on the 16th for follow-up appointments with the surgeon and pulmonary doctor, and they will x-ray her chest and weigh her. I bet she will be over 9 lbs by then. The pulmonary doctor said that her gaining weight is a good indicator of lung growth.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


This morning we dressed Claire up in a pink smocked dress and frilly socks and took her to church. She slept in her carseat/carrier most of the time, except for when she woke up during Sunday School to drink a bottle. We enjoyed getting to show her off to everyone.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

2-Month Checkup

I took Claire to the pediatrician today. She weighs 7 lbs 11 oz and is 20.5 inches long (she was 19 inches long when she was born). He listened to her lungs and said they sounded good. They increased her Zantac dosage again since she had gained weight, so hopefully that will help her not to spit up so much. I've been feeding her less milk more often today, and so far she has kept it all down.

The docs at UAB didn't do her newborn screening correctly when she was born -- I guess they were in a hurry since they were worried about whether or not she was breathing. So they had to prick her heel today and redo it.

They also went ahead and did her 2-month vaccinations. She had to drink some stuff to protect her against the Rotavirus, and then she got four shots -- two in each thigh. The needles they used looked long enough to go through her little leg, and I've never seen her cry that hard. She stopped breathing for several seconds and turned beet red. It took me a long time to calm her down, and then she slept for several hours afterwards.

When we got home I gave her some Children's Tylenol for the pain. She is calm now, and has Snoopy band-aids stuck all over her body.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Six Weeks Old

Claire is six weeks old today! She has an appointment with the pediatrician tomorrow and they will weigh her. I think she is going through a growth spurt because she has been very hungry all the time lately and is eating well. But she has also been throwing up a LOT this week. (We are talking projectile, make Mama and Claire have to change ALL their clothes vomiting.) They increased her Zantac dosage last week to help with the reflux.

She has been off the oxygen for nearly a week. Every time we check her sats they are above 97.

She has started making cooing and "talking" sounds. Her neck is also getting stronger. She can turn her head and can almost lift her head when lying on her tummy.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sats Staying High

We have had Claire off the oxygen all weekend and have been watching her sats. They are staying in the high 90's now even when she is asleep!

Claire's cousin bought her some cute onesies with sayings on them, so I've been entertaining myself by taking funny pictures of her modeling them...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Follow-Up Appointments

Claire is five weeks old today. We took her to Children's Hospital this morning for follow-up visits with the pediatric surgeon and the pulmonary specialist. She weighs 7 lbs 4 oz! They did a chest x-ray and said her heart is starting to shift more towards the center, which gives her right lung more space. Her left lung is growing. They said we can start taking her off the oxygen some and watching her sats to make sure she stays above 94. Pretty soon she will probably only need the oxygen when she sleeps, because that's the only time her sats dip down that low. Both doctors want to see her again in a month.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Back On Oxygen

I called Claire's doctor this morning and told her about our trial run. She said we could leave Claire off the oxygen as long as her sats stay above 94. They have been staying above that most of the time, but dip down to 91 when she is sleeping so I put her back on. (When she's on oxygen her sats go up to 100.) At least she is getting closer -- she did a lot better without it this week than last week.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Trial Run Off Oxygen

Claire has been tugging endlessly on her oxygen cannula for the past several days. She keeps yanking the tape off her face and then crying because it hurts. Her poor little cheeks are red and blistered, and the inside of her nose is irritated.

So today we decided to try taking the cannula out of her nose for a little while to see how she did. They tried this twice at the hospital and she did good for a few hours but then her sats dipped down into the 80's. She has been off the oxygen today for six hours and her sats have stayed in the high 90's the entire time! We are going to put her back on it tonight when she goes to bed, but it's good to know that she was able to keep her sats up that long. We have follow-up appointments with the surgeon and pulmonary specialist on Thursday, and hopefully they will decide to take her off the oxygen permanently.

Friday, July 6, 2007

First Tub Bath

Claire had her first tub bath today. Actually it was done in the bathroom sink at her Granny's house. I've only been giving her spongebaths up until now because I was afraid I would drown her, but my mom showed me how to wash her hair and bathe her in the sink. She smells so good now and her hair is very soft. I think she enjoyed getting her head scrubbed, but was unsure about being sat down in the water.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Visiting Grandparents

Claire is four weeks old today! This afternoon we took her to James' parents' house to celebrate his grandmother's 98th birthday. We enjoyed getting to show her off to everyone. It was also nice to get out of the house for a while. Claire spent most of the afternoon snoozing on her grandpa Bobby.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

We were homebodies today. James made BBQ pork chops and stuffed tomatoes for dinner and Claire "supervised".

This evening we took Claire walking around the neighborhood in her stroller. She was awake the whole time and seemed to enjoy the ride.