March 29, 2008 - The latest on Emily

Hello all,

I'm sorry it has been so long since we last talked, but I have been a little busy. We are on a schedule and I only really get two hours of free time on any given day. During this time I have to run errands and check email and apply for jobs and everything else that needs to get done.

My daily routine starts at 7:00 am (Earlier if Emily has a 3:00 a.m. screaming fit). I have my quiet time (prayer and Bible study) for an hour and try to take a shower before getting Emily up at 8:30. I change her, play with her for a little while and then get started on working on her oral therapy. We have been introducing tastes to her by dipping her pacifiers in her formula and some peaches. It seems hard to imagine, but she doesn't usually get to taste her formula, seeing it goes directly into her stomach.

At 10:00 it is feeding time and this can usually take up to an hour, depending on how she is feeling. At 11:00 she gets to go to bed and I have my two hours of free time.

At 1:00 the feeding starts again. I let her digest for about an hour before starting her physical therapy exercises. We practice sitting, rolling, lying on her stomach and on her side. We try to stretch her arms and legs and tickle her all over.

By 4:00 it is time to eat...again! Then before you know it its nap time again and I get to start making dinner. Dawn and I have about an hour to ourselves and then another hour or two as a family. Then it is time for bed...9:00 for Emily and around 10:00 for us. Then we get to do it all over again...

Since the last time we talked (or I emailed) Emily has been to the Plastic Surgeon, the Optometrist and the Neurosurgeon. She saw the Plastic Surgeon for the crease in her skull and the birthmark on her shoulder. He didn't want to comment on her skull and sent us to a neurosurgeon to get a better answer, but told us not to worry about her birthmark unless it keeps getting bigger. He plans on removing it when she reaches a year old, but he will do it sooner if it continues to grow. The concern was that it was interfering with the motion of her head and he concluded that she would be fine if we left it alone for now.

The neurosurgeon's appointment was a month later and by the time we went to see him, her skull was healing fine. He actually looked at me strange when I told him why I was there. I thought it was better to be safe than sorry.

The optometrist was interesting. I think to myself, what is he really going to do? She can't tell him if she can see clearly or not. However, I guess he can tell many things by the shape of her eyeballs. He said she is doing fine right now, but if she was a sophomore in high school, she would need glasses. Well, she is not a sophomore in high school, so I got out of that expense for now.

In general, Emily is doing very well health wise. We are having some issues with her feeding again because we had to increase the amount we were giving her. For the past week we have been playing with different amounts and trying to see what works best for her. In the process, she has had some miserable days! The night-time screaming fits have started again and this time they are worse. She will literally scream at the top of her lungs for an hour until she passes the gas. We try everything from patting her back to rubbing her stomach, but nothing really works...we just have to wait it out.

Last night our church hosted a Parents Night Out. It was a fund raising event for the youth and part of our church's effort to build strong families. The youth and some mature adults provided baby-sitting for 4 hours while Dawn and I got to enjoy some freedom! It was open to all parents in the church and the nursery was like a zoo. We feared the worst, but all went well and Emily enjoyed her stay there while we went out for dinner and a trip to the local arcade. I am expecting that in 40 weeks our church is going to experience a baby boom...only time will tell.

All in all, life is good! It isn't easy by any means, but it is good. We serve an awesome God who has been providing for us in many ways. Our Easter Sunday was spent serving the local college kids dinner at the church. In the past (at seminary) I would invite all the people in our building who were not going home to visit family for Easter to our apartment for dinner. This year I decided to carry on the tradition for all the college students in our church. There were even a few families that participated and we had more than 25 people there. If you know me, you know I live for this kind of stuff. I got it from my mom who is always hosting family reunions and throwing large parties.

Next month is filled with a large number of Drs. appointments, but for the next few weeks I can relax a little. Emily is doing great physically and although she is a little behind developmentally, she is starting to make sounds and trying to move around a little more. She has a habit of moving her body into the corner of the crib so that her head is against the bars and she can't get away. She will cry until we come in and move her. I devised a method of tying her to the bed so she can move, but she can't reach the edge of the crib. It sounds mean, but I simply put a string in the end of her sleep sack and only give her a few inches to move. It works and we all can sleep a little longer because of it, so I see it as a good thing.

Well, that's all I've got for now. There is nothing major to report and Emily is doing good. Thank you all again for your prayers and support and I will talk to you all again in about a month. Can you believe Emily is almost 6 months old already...boy, time flies!

We love you all,


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