I haven't told you much about Genevieve, but trust me, I haven't been doing much else either. I also missed out on some things that I think are CRUCIAL for trying to capture the magical times that were my tiny baby's newborn days, but BY GOD, did I try my damnedest.
For example, I really wanted to take week-by-week pictures and month-by-month pictures. However, I forgot to take one of Genevieve in the weekly pose when we first got home from the hospital, so the youngest we have is the one-week picture, but she was the same weight then anyway, so I am trying to forgive myself.
PLUS, I knew that I wanted G to be sitting in a chair with a stuffed animal for her monthly pictures so you had two very concrete things that stayed the same size so you could watch her grow around them. However, the chair that will be sitting in our living room as she grows was in storage, as we still didn't have a house. I could have put her in a chair at my parents' house with a random stuffed animal, but what good would that have done, right? So, we started with one month. I did my best.
Firstly, she struggled with some jaundice. Let me stop you right here -- if you are feeling the urge to say "Oh, my kid had jaundice and it was no big deal!" ... PLEASE DON'T. I am sure that was the case for you, and it is the case for many, but it wasn't for Genevieve. Her jaundice kept getting worse and worse, and the more jaundiced she was, the weaker she got, which made it harder for her to eat, which made her weigh less and become weaker, and therefore allowed the bilirubin to build up even more, making the jaundice worse, and over and over again. At two weeks old, she was way below her birth weight and barely eating. It was terrifying. She ended up on a billy blanket (light therapy to break down the bilirubin), stuck a million times to check her levels, and we had to supplement her feeds with formula (since it is easier than nursing) to get her stronger and wash the bad stuff out.
THEN she started having some disturbing hives appear multiple times a day. I took some horrific pictures of her little face just swallowed in hives, but I'll spare you the torture of looking at it. She had been getting these hives since the day she was born, but now I finally had to admit that they were coming regularly, and they were coming every time she ate. The doctors thought she might be reacting to -- yup, you guessed it -- milk protein.
I wasn't convinced it had anything to do with milk protein, mostly because the doctors had assumed that was what was wrong with Josephine and it clearly wasn't, but this time we had some hard evidence. The hives showed up when she ate.
So, just like with Josephine, I stopped breastfeeding and tried all these super-special formulas that no kid can be allergic to. The hives kept coming, but now she also fluctuated between constipation and diarrhea and she kept spitting everything up. It was a nightmare.
Eventually -- and this is REALLY embarrassing for me to admit -- I figured out that she not only had a rocking heat rash from me dressing her too warmly combined with the super-sensitive skin she inherited from me, but it turns out she is ALSO the type of person who, when riled up, gets hives. You see, she would go from laying there, being totally calm and asleep and adorable to screaming bloody murder when it was time to eat, no build-up, nothing (!), so by the time I started feeding her, hives were all over her face, not from eating, but from screaming like a mad person.
I'm obviously upset that I couldn't figure this out sooner and she had to go through the formula nonsense and then we had to RE-re-introduce her to nursing, which was also a slow road, but I'm pretty upset that I was dressing her too warmly. With Josephine, I realized right away that the kid was a hot box and needed to be dressed accordingly. I let "helpful" people's scoldings roll off my back (as much as possible), because I was trusting my instincts. This time, there was a cold snap not long after Genevieve was born, and combined with the fact that she was losing weight instead of gaining, I felt like I didn't know what I was doing, and started bundling her up. I really, really wish I could have trusted my instincts. I feel miserable about it.
HOWEVER, what we have on our hands today is a gal who is still not so hot with the nursing and still has a bit of a crummy tummy, but is about the sweetest little thing I have ever set my eyes upon. She smiles SO MUCH, she laughs, she loves to look at everyone, and aside from reacting to some gas that would make anyone cry, she is very content.
She's still so tiny and squishy and sweet, so it's hard to believe that she is growing up so quickly. These days are hard. Some of the hardest I've had. But I know I'm going to look back and miss them so much -- those days when I held my snuggly little baby all day because she wanted me to, so what could I do? It makes it hard to do everything else, including caring for my precocious little two-year-old, but man ... she just wants me to hold her all day! I'll never have that again! Never! One day she'll be running around like Josie and it'll be hard to even catch her. I'm glad I have her snuggled into me right now, even if it means giving up showers, cleaning, and a good deal of my sanity.
It's all good because I've got her.