Phew! This has been a tough month for us. Honestly probably one of the toughest months that Alex and I have had as parents so far. There were lots of moments of joy and excitement (Nora belly laughing, Nora rolling, life with our silly and sweet toddler) but there were also lots of moments of great fear, anxiety, and lots of sleepless nights.
This past month we had our first real “scare” as parents. Jameson has been a textbook kid from the beginning (no major injuries or sicknesses or any big surprises) but Nora, by no fault of her own, really gave us a run for our money a few weeks ago. One Tuesday night she was laying between my legs and looking up at me, giggling and smiling and cooing like normal, when suddenly she started squeezing her eyes shut tight in a really agitated way and kind of brought her hand up to her nose as if she was going to rub it. It almost looked like she was about to sneeze but she couldn’t open her eyes again. Knowing something was very wrong, I immediately picked her up and held her in front of me and started shouting her name. Slowly she started fading into unconsciousness, like she was falling asleep. Her little body went limp in my arms and she was unresponsive to our shouts and any movement. My mother-in-law happened to be over (which I can only describe as the grace of God since she never comes over on Tuesday nights) and she instinctively grabbed Nora, flipped her over, and started pounding on her back. Finally Nora did a little cough and started screaming and crying, which was actually the most relieving sound in the world. I was shaking so terribly and crying my eyes out and hugging my little girl saying, “It’s okay, it’s okay, you’re okay” over and over in her ear. The whole thing lasted maybe 20-30 seconds but it felt like an eternity.
I don’t know if I can accurately describe the horror of seeing your infant lose all signs of life before your eyes. It’s a kind of sickening terror that you never ever want to feel again. We immediately rushed her over to the nearest hospital (me sitting in the back with Nora and trying/failing to keep myself together). She was totally normal by the time we arrived, even smiling at me on the way over. They ran some tests which all came back clear and transferred us to Cardon Children’s Hospital for an overnight stay and some further observation. Everything was 100% normal (except for me and Alex who jumped up every time Nora moved during the night) and the neurology team in the morning was convinced that it was not a seizure, which is what we initially thought it might be. All signs pointed to it being a choking incident since Nora was laying on her back at the time and was pretty congested and drooly. Another possibility is that she started choking or got agitated for some other reason, panicked, and then held her breath as an instinctive response which is actually fairly common in kids. Whatever the case, we were warned that it could happen again. Sometimes it never does, but we’ll need to watch her carefully (no problem there, I’ve been a total helicopter mom since she came home). Even now I feel panic welling up inside of me anytime she squeezes her eyes shut or rubs her nose or does something else weird, which is kind of a problem because four month olds do weird things all the time.
All of this was a huge test of how well I put my trust in the Lord. I’d like to say I handled it all gracefully but there were a lot of moments of doubt and questioning and sinful fear. In the days after we got home from the hospital I lived in terror that it would happen again and that it would be worse. The only way I was able to kill those thoughts was through almost constant prayer, through the prayers of others for me, and by meditating on the promises of the Lord. I had post-it notes with verses written on them all over the place and any time I felt that fear creeping in, I recited the verses again and focused on all the things I was thankful for in the moment instead of all the things I was afraid might happen. With some time now God has given me a better handle on things and this whole experience has really changed so much in my life…from the things I’m thankful for to the way I value life to the way I pray for others. I hope nothing like this ever happens again but I can see how the Lord used it to challenge me and sanctify certain areas of my life.
Needless to say…it was a difficult month for this sweet little girl. Getting past the hospital stay was a relief, but then the poor baby was sick for several weeks after that with an ear infection and a nasty cold she couldn’t kick. It kept her up coughing at night, made it almost impossible for her to breathe, and stressed us all out to no end because we were still reeling from the fainting episode. Praise God she’s as good as new now and she hasn’t fainted again. We have seen her do that squinty-eyed stressed out thing (which is how the episode started) but I’ve been able to snap her out of it and she hasn’t passed out again. We’re continuing to pray for her protection and watching her closely at all times. And this week (at my request) her pediatrician put in a referral for us to get a full evaluation with the Phoenix Children’s neurology department within the next couple of weeks, just to put our minds at ease.
Anyway. I know this was a long intro and probably could have been (should have been) a separate post…but it’s relevant to Nora’s fourth month and I wanted to include it. This month was hard. But God is good and there were a LOT of good things that happened this month too. So let’s leave all this crappy stuff behind and be thankful for all the wonderful, blissfully normal things we got to experience with Nora too. 🙂
Weight & Length: At her four month appointment this week she was 12 lbs, 12 oz (18th percentile) and I forget how tall they said she is but she’s in the 70th percentile for height. Tall and skinny! She’s trailing almost three whole pounds behind where Jameson was at four months, which is kind of crazy to me. But Jameson did have some deliciously chubby thighs so I’m guessing that’s where those extra three pounds were hiding haha. Her head circumference was in the 30th percentile, so we’re right on track there!
Clothing: She’s in 3-6 month stuff for the most part, although some 6 month outfits fit her if the brand runs a little small. They’re usually kind of baggy on her but she’s so tall that she needs the extra length! Diapers are size 2 now.
Hair & Eyes: Her eyes are still that gorgeous blue, but her hair has been changing a bit! She’s lost a lot of it since she was born and the hair growing in underneath is like…golden blonde with some reddish tints here and there. Kind of like how Jameson’s hair was when he was a baby. So I’m thinking it might go strawberry blonde like her big brother’s, which would be super cute. 🙂
Sleep: We hit a rough patch this month with her nighttime sleep because of the hospital stay and how sick she was afterwards. There was one horrible night during the thick of it where she would not stay asleep unless she was being constantly bounced up and down on the yoga ball. So from around 6pm to 3:30am Alex and I had to switch off who was bouncing her continually. That was baaaaad. But now (fingers crossed) she’s back to her normal self, sleeping in 8 hour stretches at night and only waking up once or twice to eat. Her naps are still…meh. Usually in 40 minute increments, or longer if she’s in the baby wrap or the swing. We’ll work on it. For now I’m thankful for good sleep at night!
Eating: Nursing every three-ish hours, or whenever she’s hungry. I’m not strict about it because she’s so particular about when she’ll eat. If she shows any signs at all of wanting to nurse I’m immediately shoving it in her face hahah. She will straight up scream and cry if I try to feed her before she decides she’s ready. Drama queen. She’s getting super distractible during meals now, which is an added issue haha. If she hears something while she’s eating, she has to whip her head around and check what’s going on.
Also she really likes to eat my water bottle.
Milestones: This month, she laughed! She’d been doing these silly little giggles for a while, but a few weeks ago she gave us a real, honest-to-goodness belly laugh while I was playing peekaboo with her. I loooove her laugh! So tiny and squeaky and adorable. I’m obsessed. I can usually get her laugh at least once a day now, with a silly noise or peekaboo or tickling her or kissing her cheeks. She also started rolling from belly to back this month and she’s gotten really good at it. It kind of makes tummy time a pain in the neck because if she doesn’t want to do it, she’ll just roll herself right on over no matter how many times I flip her back. She’s getting close to rolling the other way too (back to belly). She can get up on her side and then does a little side crunch thing, but she can’t quite get over her shoulder yet. I bet it’ll happen this month! She’s also getting good with her fine motor skills and can hold toys, bring them to her mouth, and put them back down on her own. She’s a terrible judge of distance, though, and will try and grab anything that’s in her line of sight even if it’s literally across the room. My favorite is when I’m changing her diaper and she’s looking up at me intensely and then slowly, slowly her hands will come together in front of her as she tries to grab my face from a foot beneath me haha.
Loves: Jameson, when Alex plays guitar, her Minnie Mouse toy, Sophie Giraffe, when I read books, playing peekaboo, “singing” loudly, and whenever I kiss her cheeks or talk to her or even just look in her general direction haha.
Hates: She’s not a fan of the car seat or getting dressed (really just her arms going in sleeves) or too many new things all at once (especially people…homegirl’s already got some stranger danger instincts). She’s also starting to dislike being carried around in the baby wrap (which makes me so sad) but she’s very content to face outward in the Ergo. I think she just likes to be able to see everything that’s going on.
She also kind of hates when I make this one really high pitched sound with my tongue hahah.
Communication: She loooves cooing at us and trying to “sing” (screaming loudly and happily, usually along to music but also just whenever she wants to hear her own voice). She laughs and smiles all the time and she’s getting to be so much fun to “chat” with because of all her new sounds.
Things I want to remember: The way you try to grab everything in sight, even when it’s in another room, the way you laugh when Jameson does something funny, your surprised little giggle shrieks when I tickle you, your big gummy smile when Jameson and I sing “Baby Beluga” to you during bath time, how incredibly jolly you are in the morning right after you wake up (nothing can spoil your mood!), that excited kicky thing you do with your eyes all wide and mouth in a little “o” when you see a cool toy you want to have, how your eyes lock on me no matter where I am, and how you regularly check around to make sure I’m still in sight.
Oh Nora, we just love you so much. We’re so thankful you’re ours and so thankful for every moment we get to have with you. You are adored and cherished and loved beyond what I can say. Praise God for every wonderful day, every normal day, and every difficult day. They are all so worth it. Happy four months, NoJo girl.