Friday, March 31, 2006


On April 23rd, Andrew, Aerin, and I will be participating in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica, with the goal of raising $2,500.00. The March of Dimes is a wonderful organization dedicated to preventing premature birth, birth defects, and infant mortality. We truly believe that our daughter wouldn't be here today without the good work that they do. Please check out our Marx Family WalkAmerica page.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I didn't realize how exhausted I was until I got the chance to recharge, thanks to Aerin's Grandma Rita. She watched Aerin while I did some necessary shopping and even got to have a pedicure. Of course I fell asleep in the middle of it, but it was awesome nonetheless. I also got to take pressure-free showers and take a little break from the intensive day-to-day work that I usually do. And it was so nice to see Aerin getting to know her grandmother. We cannot wait until her next visit.

Aerin is up to 12.5 pounds and my back and shoulders are really starting to feel it. She can have a string of very fussy days and then a string of fuss-free days. She has figured out how she rolled over and now tries to do it in her bassinet. She can't because I have her in a sleep positioner, but I'm worried that she'll knock the bassinet over trying to get onto her back. It looks like we're going to have to get a crib 2.5 months ahead of schedule. I'm surprisingly emotional about it - my tiny baby is big enough for a crib.

Aerin is beginning to imitate sounds. She and I have long "conversations" and she just loves it. She is also very smiley, although I haven't been able to capture any on camera. She loves to stare at people and has a very intent gaze.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

What a Difference 3 Months Makes

So Aerin is about 6.5 months old now, chronologically, and 3.25 months old, adjusted. Obviously, her appearance reflects her adjusted age. It's not often that you can tell a lady she looks half her age and really mean it!

Another unsettling thought: Aerin's now been living (in the outside world) longer than she had been gestating.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Very Long Night

Aerin got off her schedule yesterday and we had a very long night. She went to sleep in the early evening and woke up around 2:00 a.m. This is my fault, as I have a very hard time waking her up to eat. This is a legacy from the NICU, where they drill it into you that sleep = growth = health. Also, Aerin hates being woken up. She won't just eat and then go back to sleep - if I wake her up, it's pretty much a guarantee that she'll be up for the next 4 hours. Unfortunately, she woke up during the time when I do the work that I can't do when she's awake and I was right in the middle of an involved project that I couldn't just leave. So after about 3.5 hours of fussing and pacing and rocking and singing and eating, Aerin went back to sleep and I finished my project.

I have to say that the fussiness can be frustrating. Aerin has a very loud voice (she's definitely going to be a singer) and no relieable preference for soothing techniques. We had a week-long period where all I had to do was sit in the rocker with her and she'd stop fussing and drift off to sleep. Now she'll only do that if she's in the right mood. I'm starting to get a little desperate here - we have 3 baby carriers (a Maya Wrap from my friend Jenna and a hip hugger and Baby Bjorn from my friend Amy), two swings, and a massaging bouncy chair. We can really only count on them for 20 minute periods when her mood is right. I don't want to give the impression that I mind holding her - I don't, I love it. I'm just a little tired from staying up all night cleaning (I'm a bit of a neat freak) and from carrying a 12-pound wiggling baby around all day and from the huge volume of laundry that comes with a refluxing baby.

Aerin has recently started imitating sounds and we have "conversations" where she'll imitate my tone of voice. It is the most amazing and precious thing in the world and Aerin just loves it - she smiles and laughs the entire time. Until she suddenly starts to scream. She holds onto her bottle during feedings and will hold her WubbaNub in her mouth. We're going to have to move her to a crib very soon - she's trying to turn over in her bassinet and there just isn't the room. She really is an athletic baby, if there is such a thing.

We're very excited to see Grandma Rita tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Aerin Rolled Over!

I put her down for a nap in the Pack N Play. I put her on her stomach and she went right to sleep (we have special permission from our pediatrician and respiratory therapist because Aerin has an apnea monitor). I heard her crying and went in to her and she was on her back! It took me a few seconds to register what had happened and I started screaming and shouting, "Oh my gosh!" Poor Andrew heard me and raced downstairs - I scared the heck out of him. We put her back on her tummy to see if she would do it again, but she wasn't in the mood to perform for us.

I am shocked - this is a five-month developmental milestone!

Pictures to come.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Fuss, Fuss, Fuss

It has been a tiring week in the Marx household. Aerin now refuses to be put down almost the entire time she is awake. She will go in her swing, but no more than about 30 minutes per day. She only goes in her Maya Wrap for 20 minute clips. She screams like a banshee when you put her down, which I do for a total of 5 minutes each day (non-consecutive). Her napping has grown more erratic as well. I could usually count on a 3-hour nap during the day, but it as become a sleep-10-minutes, cry-30-seconds, be-patted-and-rocked-by-Momma-for-5-minutes, go-back-to-sleep-for-another-10-minutes cycle. This can go on and on. During the 10 sleep minutes, I try to get things done as fast as I can.

Aerin also spits up more than I thought humanly possible. I have no clean clothes left and I wash an astounding number of bibs every week. She doesn't mind spitting up at all - you don't hear a peep out of her when she does it. In fact, she does stealth spit-ups, where I'll be holding her and doing something and suddenly be covered in spit up. She's eating well and gaining weight, so Dr. Al-Mateen isn't worried and, surprisingly, neither am I. Babies who spit up virtually never get failure to thrive and Aerin is well within the normal weight for her adjusted age.

Aerin has reached the stage in her development where she is realizing that she and I are separate people. This is usually when stranger anxiety and separation anxiety start. I don't think Aerin will have any stranger anxiety - she loves to look at people and will let anyone hold her. I'm not so sure about the separation anxiety. She watches me closely if I'm in the room with her and will start to fuss if she can't see me for more than 5 minutes. Aerin's Grandma Rita is coming to visit this weekend and I plan to do some errands, so we'll see how she does.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

3 Months Old (Adjusted)

It's been a very exciting week for us. As of Saturday, the 18th, Aerin is 3 months old adjusted (from her due date). She's hitting or surpassing all the developmental milestones, which is wonderful. We went to the pediatrician for Aerin's monthly Synagis shot and she also got her polio vaccine. We love everyone at our pediatrician's office so much that visits are something we really look forward to. Every single question we have is answered in-depth, no matter how minor it may be.

Aerin and I also went back to the NICU! I had a doctor's appointment and Andrew had class, so I took Aerin. There are medical offices in Henrico Doctors' Hospital and that is where most of our doctors are. I got permission from Dr. Al-Mateen and Nurse Tammy to take Aerin both to my appointment and to visit the NICU. We all agreed that it was best that we not visit the PCN or the Perinatal Special Care Unit. I do plan to visit those places when RSV season is over. Being in the NICU with Aerin was extremely surreal and very emotional for me. We couldn't go into the unit because they don't allow children under 3. We waited in the entry room while Aerin 's nurses came out. They had to come out one at a time - they have babies to look after. We got to see Chris, Natalie, and Michelle, all of whom took care of Aerin a lot. They were so thrilled to see her and they could not get over how big and gorgeous she is. Just as we were fixing to leave, Dr. Sequira came in with a 36-weeker. He just had to stop when he saw Aerin, though. Delighted doesn't begin to describe his reaction to her. Then she smiled at him and he was tickled to death. Dr. Sequira was at Aerin's birth, so it was especially special to see him.

NICU parents and personnel have such a different perspective on pregnancy and babies. Aerin's nurse, Michelle, is 21 weeks pregnant. As she was telling me, she added, "Only 3 more weeks to go." Twenty-four weeks is the "official" date for viability (the earliest point where a baby can live outside his mother's womb). It didn't strike me as odd until much later, but 24 weeks is a magic number for us and doesn't mean the same thing to non-NICU folk.

I also brought over some of Aerin's preemie clothes to donate. There just isn't money in the NICU budget for clothes (preemie clothing is much more expensive than regular baby clothing) and it is a huge micropreemie milestone to see your baby in clothes for the first time. I want other parents to be able to experience that.

Andrew tells me that Aerin has now been home for longer than she was in the hospital. She is gaining more control over her hands every day and will rub her eyes when she's sleepy. It's so adorable that you just want to pick her up and kiss her, but she really dislikes being disturbed as she's drifting off to sleep (just like her mother).

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Happy Purim!

Today was Aerin's first Purim. She isn't ready to go to shul, but we did dress her up a little (pictures forthcoming).

Aerin is doing this new thing where she stuffs her fist in her mouth when she's hungry. She also makes hungry noises that are not unlike the Cookie Monster. It's very funny, but it's hard to pry her fist away so that I can give her the bottle. She is a confirmed music lover and always settles down when I put a CD on. Right now she's listening to the debut album of the Peasall Sisters, Home to You. Andrew and I love it, too. Some of Aerin's other favorites are the Beethoven Lives Upstairs series from Classic Kids. It is by far the best children's classical series - much better than another aggressively marketed series that shall remain nameless. Aerin seems to prefer Beethoven to Mozart and she really loves Bach. It's funny - those were her preferences when I was pregnant, too. We also got OyBaby2, which is every bit as good as the first one.

We had a mini-crisis here last night and today. It was an equipment failure - I stepped on one of Aerin's leads as I was standing up with her and it broke off. Of course it was after business hours and of course it was on the day we received a letter that our equipment contract had been switched from one company to another, so I didn't have the number of our new respiratory therapist. I stayed awake all night, watching Aerin to make sure she was breathing. I also kept her on her back, just in case I did end up nodding off. She hates sleeping on her back and we both had a miserable night. I got hold of our new company in the morning and they couldn't have been nicer. Andrew went down to their office and they gave us a new kit and 2 back-ups. I love the apnea monitor and I don't see myself parting with it until Aerin is at least 1.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Six Months Old!

Aerin is six months old today (chronological - from her birth date) . Even as I type this, I find it hard to comprehend. I went through her photo album and those first weeks seem almost like a dream. Almost, but not quite - I remember the sheer agony of not knowing if she would survive and not knowing if she would have major disabilites. I also remember the overwhelming love and joy I felt at her birth.

Aerin is doing better than anyone could have predicted. She's 12 pounds! As of her last doctor's visit, she's in the 58th percentile for weight. She's only in the 25 percentile for length, which is surprising because she has tall genes. Of course, her length now does not predict what her adult height will be. Looking at her, you would never guess that she was anything other than a normal, exceptionally adorable and smart, healthy baby. The lasting effects of her prematurity are her hemangioma, her reflux, and the tract of soft tissue in her back. She'll be having an MRI sometime between June and August. It cannot be done until she is between 6 and 9 month adjusted (chronological - from her due date) because she'll have to be sedated. It is very unlikely that there will be any need for surgery - it isn't affecting her neurological development at all.

I am very happy to report that Aerin sleeps through the night every night. My quality of life has vastly improved. She still won't go in her swing for very long, but we've started putting the toy tray on and she loves to look at it. She smiles all the time now and even laughs. She has 2 laughs - a chortle and a diabolical cackle. Both are hilarious and make me laugh every time.