Thursday, March 15, 2018

Stella is One Month Old!

Dear Sweet Stella,

I cannot believe you are one month old.  In some ways this month has zoomed by and in other ways (sickness and the hospital stay) it has crept along.

Your Name
We named you Stella Jolee Janzen and some might say it took us a while to name you . . . and they wouldn't be entirely incorrect.  You see, we thought you were a boy.  I was pretty much 100% sure you were because your pregnancy was SO different than your sister's.  I was miserably sick and throwing up daily for weeks and then I had round ligament pain and I carried you all out front instead of on my sides.  There were just so many differences.  As soon as I put you on my chest and asked what you were and they told your dad to look and he said "girl" we were in disbelief.  We checked 5-10 more times because we just couldn't believe it.
1 Week Old
3 Weeks old (The day you came home from the hospital the second time.)
We were pretty sure we would name you Stella if you were a girl but here is the kicker, our spreadsheet (yes, we had a spreadsheet for name ideas) was completely blank in the girl middle name column.  We didn't write a single thing down.  We had two first name choices: Ella and Stella.  Linnea was actually going to be named Ella until week 37 of my pregnancy when our niece Avery said we should name her Ella because then she would know five Ellas and that was the end of that, at least for your Dad.  We didn't want a super popular name and we didn't realize how popular Ella was until then.  We still liked it this time around and then we thought about Stella and liked it even more.  It was spunky yet easy to spell and we liked the pronunciation of it in both English and Swedish (things I never considered as a child that I'd have to think about while naming my kids).

When we were figuring out if we liked the name Stella your dad was holding you and he said, "If you think we should call you Stella raise your hand." Your hand shot up and you waved it around.  I wouldn't have believed it either except I saw it and your dad and I started laughing so hard.  It was pretty much a done deal after that.

As for your middle name, we wanted it to be meaningful instead of just a 'pretty' middle name that didn't have a meaning.  We really wanted to honor our dads (since Linnea honored our moms) but couldn't figure out how to do that without giving you a boys middle name (which we almost did) and then I came up with Jolee for (Larry) Jo(nes)  + (Kenneth) Lee.  We love it!

I am planning on writing your birth story down because I love reading them and I want to remember the day we met you but until then here is what you've been up to this month.

You weighed 3.97 kg (8 lbs 12 oz) at your one month doctor's appointment which is in the 35th percentile.  It took you about 3 weeks to pass your birth weight (3.61 or 8 lbs) because you lost weight when you were sick.  You were 55 cm (21.5 inches) long which is in the 75th percentile and your head was 37.1 cm (14.6 inches) which is in the 68th percentile.  Normally babies gain 20-30 grams per day and you gained 50-60 grams the first two weight checks after the hospital stay!
You usually eat every 2-3 hours during the day.  The first two weeks you would sometimes cluster feed in the evenings.  At night during your first two weeks you would go 3-4.5 hours between feeds but after you got sick I was supposed to wake you up after 3 hours.  After about 2 weeks of that, I started letting you go 3.5-4.5 hours between feeds at night.  Obviously, if you woke up hungry before that I would feed you but if you didn't wake up then I'd pick you up and feed you.

You will dream feed!  Linnea never did this.  You can be completely asleep and I can pick you up nurse you and lay you back down and you don't open your eyes at all.  With Linnea, if I didn't see her eyeballs she wouldn't nurse.
This is what is usually happening while I'm nursing.

I'm ready to get you on a more regular eating schedule so we can hopefully get on a more regular nap schedule ;).

You are a great sleeper at night!  Woo hoo!  You sleep in the bedside crib we bought which is AMAZING.  The height is adjustable, one side comes down and it has wheels so we wheel you all around the apartment.  You usually give me 3-4.5 hour stretches at night and you'll even do two 4 hour stretches back to back occasionally!
I usually feed you between 10-11 and then put you down for the night and then feed you again between 1:30-3 and then again between 5-6:30 depending on when the first feed was.  You barely wake up for your first middle of the night feeding so you usually go back to sleep easily but the second feed between 5-6:30 you usually take a little longer to fall back to sleep.  You don't cry but I usually put your pacifier back in a few times if you actually take it.  The paci is hit or miss in your bed.  You LOVE it in your stroller.

You aren't great at napping unless your definition of a nap is in your mama's arms and then you are a champ at it!  If I try to get you to nap in your bed or the bouncy seat it will only last 10-45 minutes but if I wear you in the carrier or hold you it could last 1-2 hours.  I am holding you for significantly more naps that I did with your sister but now I actually understand how quickly the newborn stage goes so I'm trying to soak it up.

Instagram vs Real Life pictures :)

We have you nap in the living room for a couple of reasons.  The main one is it is easy.  We wheel your bed out in the mornings and instead of wheeling it back and forth during the day you just sleep in the living room.

The other reason is we want you to get used to sleeping through noise, lights, etc.  We didn't want you to rely on being in a completely dark room with no noise in order to nap because that isn't very easy to recreate outside of our house.  So you nap in the living room with lights on, Linnea singing, hopping or yelling STELLA, with music on, while I make whipped cream, vacuum or whatever else is going on.  At night you sleep in our room next to my side of the bed.  The first week I swaddled you with your arms in but when you started coughing I thought having your arms free might be easier so now you sleep swaddled but with your arms out.  You love sleeping with your arms above your head.

You smile in your sleep and often roll your eyes or sleep with your eyes partially open which is creepy looking.  Hopefully, you grow out of the partial eye open sleeping soon!
You started wearing size 50 (which is newborn size - 50 cm) clothes and now you are in size 56 or 3 months in US clothes.

It has been really fun putting you in the same outfits that Linnea wore as a baby.  You also have a few new outfits of course that friends gave us or that I bought for your coming home outfit.  My go-to outfit for you is a side snap onesie from H&M and footed pants also from H&M.

You tolerate tummy time some days more than others.
You like to lay on your mat and look at books and toys but you prefer to look to the right.  We've tried lots of creative ways (rolling up a towel to block you, only putting books on your left, your sister yelling calling your name, etc) to get you to turn your head to the left and I think they are finally working.
Our Days
We barely have a rhythm at this point but I feel like we might be working on one soon.  The first four days we were home it was glorious.  Your sister went to school from 8:30-4 and your dad and I were able to enjoy lazy newborn days where one of us could work while the other snuggled with you.  And then your sister got sick and that was the end of that.
Here is a rough idea of our days:
6:30-8:30 am- You wake up and eat and I get up for the day.  If it is before 8 then we see your sister and your dad before they go to preschool and work.  If we are still sleeping they come in and say goodbye before they leave.
Good morning!

Baby legs and feet are so cute!
8:30-10:30 - Attempt to shower, eat breakfast, cross things off my to-do list.
Sometime in the morning you nap.  It could be 15 minutes or a few hours long.  This is part of the problem because I can't really plan our days very well with that.  We also sometimes run errands in the morning but if we do you sleep the entire time in the stroller which is great and awful.  If you sleep all morning in the stroller then when you are home in the afternoon and I'm ready to sleep you are WIDE awake.
12:00-1:00 - Lunch for me.

1:00-3:45 - I attempt to nap at some point and I usually cave and hold you while you and I both sleep because Mama's got to sleep.  I struggle with the daily nap.  I like napping but I cannot take short naps so if I do nap it is 1.5-2 hours and then I don't get anything else accomplished.  I don't like feeling like I have to nap to get through the day.  That is definitely a hard reality of the newborn stage.
4:00-5:00 - Your dad has been picking Linnea up from school because I'm just not ready to take you to a germ-filled preschool after already spending a week in the hospital.  Eventually, the plan is for your dad to take Linnea to school and we will pick her up.  Right now she has been going to and from school on her sled.  Looks like I'll be pulling a sled and pushing a stroller back from school.  That should be interesting.

5:00-7:00 - Dinner prep and dinner.  You love to eat with us and by that I mean as soon as I sit down you are starving.  It doesn't matter when I fed you before to make sure I could eat dinner without having to nurse you . . . you still think you need to eat right when we are eating.  You usually hang out in the bouncy seat during dinner.
Valentine's Day Dinner!
7:00-7:30 - Linnea goes to bed.

7:30-10:30 - You are awake for part of this time but then you usually fall asleep pretty hard.  We either snuggle with you while watching West Wing or we let you sleep in your bed while we get a few things done.
10:00-11:00 - I feed you one last time and you usually sleep through it.  Then we all go to bed and wonder what the night will look like :).

1:30-2:30 - My alarm goes off about 3-4 hours after the last feed and I try to get you as you are stirring but before you are too upset so I can feed you.  You usually sleep through this feed.  Most of the time you only nurse on one side.

5:30-6:30 - You wake up to eat a second time but this time you usually let me know you are hungry.  I change your diaper and feed you and hope you go back to sleep for a little while longer.

Activities and Outings - Warning, very detailed hospital notes below.  Feel free to skip to the next section if you'd like :).
At four days old we went back to Karolinska for a weight check, hearing test and to give blood for the PKU test.  It is so nice that we had both you and your sister in Stockholm so we know what to expect (for the most part) this time around.
When you were 6 days old your midwife through our BVC (barn vårdcentral = baby care center = midwife/doctor's office) came to our apartment for your first well baby check.  They typically come to your apartment for the first visit so you don't have to get out so soon after being born.  She asked us some health history questions and weighed you.  You were gaining weight like a champ.  We also talked to her about how to keep you healthy since you have an older sister who goes to preschool.  She asked if the older sister sleeps well at night and we beamed with pride as we answered yes.  (Later that night is when Linnea woke up coughing and then threw up.  She would then be up a couple of times each night for the next several days . . . )

The main theme for this month was sickness.  SO MUCH SICKNESS.  Before you were born your dad and I were both sick.  Your dad had a dry cough and I had sinus pressure and congestion.  Thankfully mine cleared up right before you arrived.

Day 6 of your little life your sister coughed and coughed and coughed enough to gag herself and throw up which was a first.  She stayed home the next day from school which is when you were a week old and your dad and I tried so very hard to keep you two apart.  Your dad did EVERYTHING for Linnea and I did EVERYTHING for you.  I didn't touch Linnea, your dad didn't touch you and your dad and I didn't touch for several days.  We desperately wanted to spare you from getting sick.  Linnea got a fever the next day (so we started checking your temp regularly) and was prescribed some cough medicine.  She stayed home Monday and Tuesday from school and then went on Wednesday.
When you were 10 days old I realized the white coating on your tongue wasn't milk but thrush.  I started treating it with carbonated water which is what the midwives recommended.
On day 11, you started coughing.  My heart sank.  We tried so hard to keep you healthy and it wasn't looking good.  I also thought you were having fewer wet diapers but I wasn't sure if I was reading too much into things.

On day 12, you had green snot and watery eyes.

On day 13, you coughed hard during the night, had a stuffed up nose and you slept the entire day.  We had newborn pictures which was convenient for all the sleeping but you literally slept the whole day.  I thought you were just tired from fighting off the cold.  Looking back you were exhausted from trying to breathe.  It breaks my heart that I didn't realize how hard you were working to breathe.  I took you to a doctor that afternoon to have your thrush looked at and he listened to you breathe and gave you 2 breathing treatments.  He prescribed medication for your thrush and told us to come back on Monday or Tuesday if your cough wasn't better.

On day 14, we had a 2-week weight check at the BVC (barn vårdcentral = baby care center = midwife/doctor's office).  Your midwife noticed how hard you were working to breathe and heard your cough.  She was concerned about it and then she weighed you and you had lost about 150 grams since the last weight check.  Big. Red. Flag.  Then I realized we didn't weigh you the day before at the doctor and I wish we would have.  We would have known a day earlier that you were struggling.  UGH.  Your midwife brought in her colleague to watch you breathe and to listen to you.  They decided you should go to the barnakuten (Pediatric ER).  Her colleague left and I cried.  We tried so hard to keep you healthy and we failed. #momguilt Plus it was so hard on your dad to not hold you for several days so he wouldn't possibly share your sister's germs with you and you got sick anyway.

I called your dad and he met us at the ER.  I pushed the "under 3 months" button in the waiting room and was next in line. I cried when I told them your personal number because you were only two weeks old.  The nurse asked if I was okay.  How do you answer that?  Yeah, I'm fine, my 2 week old isn't eating and is struggling to breathe and I'm in a waiting room full of sick kids and add in my postpartum hormones and it is a party!

They already were expecting us at the ER but because there were so many sick kids we still had to wait about 45 minutes before we were called back.  Once they called us back they watched you breathe and checked several reflexes.  I tried feeding you and you wouldn't wake up to eat.  You hadn't been wanting to eat the last 2 days, hence the weight drop.
With your feeding tube.
Getting a breathing treatment

They said they were going to monitor you for a while and put in a feeding tube if you wouldn't eat.  I tried breastfeeding you again but you just wouldn't wake up for it.  My niece was born at 31 weeks and 5 days.  She was in the NICU for 27 days.  I've seen little tiny babies with feeding tubes.  The feeding tube didn't freak me out but my postpartum hormones said otherwise.  They told Jake to hold your head because you might put up a fight putting it in.  I wanted you to fight it because that meant you didn't like it but I also didn't want you to fight it because I didn't want to see you uncomfortable.  They got it in and we gave you170 ml (5.7 oz) of my breastmilk very slowly over the next 4 hours and then we'd see if you would perk up and nurse on your own.
Next we had to figure out who would be picking up Linnea and if they could watch her overnight because it didn't look like we were going home anytime soon.  Thankfully Tim and Mona (who watched Linnea when we had you just two weeks to the day earlier) could watch her.  Jake called our parents to fill them in because I just couldn't. I was emotionally done with the day and it was only 4:30.
We fed you through the tube, Jake got us some food and I attempted to nap and woke up to you spitting up all over Jake.  At 8:30 pm when we finished giving you 170 ml and you still hadn't perked up.  They took your blood and took some snot from your nose to test it for RSV (they call it the RS Virus).  They told us it didn't really matter if it was a cold or RS the treatment would be the same . . . to wait it out.  You would need to regain your strength by getting food through the feeding tube until you could eat on your own and until your breathing got easier.  We were also told we might be transferred to a different hospital because there weren't any open beds where we were.  Not something I wanted to hear.  We were a 10-minute taxi ride away from Linnea and friends and moving somewhere else sounded even scarier.

Jake went home around 10 pm to get our things so we could stay the night and he got back around 12:30 am.  At 12:30 am the doctors came in and said we would be admitted and they weren't sending us anywhere else because everywhere else was full . . . so we'd either stay in the ER room overnight or they'd hopefully be able to find a spot in the hospital.  Thankfully they found a spot for us on the infectious disease floor and we moved there at 1:30 am.
We met the 2 midwives, fed you a full meal of 65 ml over the course of 20 minutes instead of slowly over several hours and then we went to bed.  Technically only one parent is allowed to stay the night.  Well . . . this 14-day postpartum mom wasn't about to go down without a fight over that.  I was exhausted and couldn't imagine being there by myself.  Thankfully they let Jake stay.  He slept in the chair and we all slept from 3-6:30.  Thankfully the nurses gave you your feeding at 5 am and let us sleep.  We weren't expecting that but it was amazing.

The next day, Saturday, we met with the doctors and found out you tested positive for the RS virus which just meant it was a waiting game.  We had to wait until you were strong enough to nurse for all of your feedings and until your breathing was better.  The good news was that we continued to hear that this wasn't a life or death situation.  You would get better, babies always do, but it takes time, lots of time.  And we would leave when you were ready.  Days 4 and 5 of RSV are the hardest and you were admitted on day 4.
The plan was for me to go home around 12 to shower, nap and then come back up to the hospital.  Well about 5 minutes before I left we got a message from Mona (who was watching Linnea) and asked if Linnea usually throws up after eating meals . . . no, she doesn't. UGH!  She threw up at breakfast and lunch.  Hearing that knocked the wind out of me.

We were already inconveniencing them enough and now she was throwing up.  We had to decide if we would ask our friends, with two small kids, to continue to watch Linnea or send Jake home to take care of her knowing that would mean he would not come back to the hospital at all to see you or help me.  It would be too big of a risk for him to come back.  What if he caught the stomach bug from Linnea and didn't know it and then shared it with one of us?  We decided it was best for Jake to leave and take care of Linnea and I would obviously stay with you.  I am SO thankful that when he left I didn't know exactly how many days I'd be in the hospital.  I don't think I cried when Jake left but don't worry . . . I made up for it over the next 6 days in the hospital.
Little Yoda at home trying to feel better.

That afternoon they hooked you up to the optiflo machine which gives you warm moist oxygen to help you not have to work so hard to breathe on your own.  You had been having breathing treatments (inhalation) every 3 hours where you would breathe in salt water mist for 2 minutes. I expected the optiflo machine to do something similar but maybe for longer periods of time.  Once they put it on you I asked how long it would be on and they said for a few days.  I cried.  I was not expecting "days" I was expecting "minutes".  So now you were hooked up to a machine with a 3-foot cord and I was alone.  Every time I sat down I needed something that was always out of reach.  The cord was heavy and pulled on your face if I didn't secure it before I moved.  It just made a hard situation feel even harder.
Hooked up to the optiflo machine and I'm feeding you through your feeding tube.

My friend Alyssa called me to encourage me after I told her about the optiflo machine.  She is a pediatric nurse so she was able to talk to me as a nurse and a mom about all the things and just encourage me.  I'm not a big crier but these last few days had been a doozy.  I cried through our entire phone call.  Thankfully she offered to come up and visit me that night.  Turns out being in a hospital is lonely ;).  She brought me dinner and a few supplies but most of all she brought me encouragement and distraction.  Plus she met you for the first time!
I had wonderful night nurses that first night alone who did all three tube feedings at 12, 3, 6 so I could just sleep other than waking up to pump.  Breakfast was provided but lunch and dinner weren't which wasn't a big deal except I was by myself and I couldn't quite figure out how to go buy food and make sure you weren't alone.  Thankfully the nurses were really understanding (at first) and one of them would stay with you so I could go buy food.  Angela visited us on Sunday and brought me dinner and lots of fruit, chocolate, and other snacks!
Monday was hard because I had new nurses who didn't understand our situation. Jake was at home with your sister who had the stomach flu and therefore he couldn't come up to relieve me so I could shower or get food.  I struggled to re-explain our situation for all 3 shift changes each day.  I was always so thankful when a familiar nurse walked through the door.
I had a couple of male nurses.  One of them spoke a little bit of English but was pretty clueless in speaking postpartum mom ;).  I had lots of emotions and he just didn't understand them.  But after a breakdown on my part, he told me he would sit with me all day if I needed him to and then he brought me ice cream.  He also met Jake in the lobby to get more clothes for you and me.  I didn't want to go down because Linnea was with your dad and I was afraid she'd see me and want a hug or to stay with me and neither of those would work.

The male nurse on the next shift didn't speak any English.  After he left the room I lost it.  I called Jake crying because I just couldn't handle being at the hospital, alone, and not being able to speak to the nurse.  I talked to the other nurse on duty and explained our situation and she was so sweet.  She said she'd try to come in whenever I hit the call button.  I was so very thankful for the nurses who understood.  Jake also kindly told me that I can call him crying but the first thing that comes out of my mouth needs to be "Stella is okay".  Oops, good point!
They had to add more and more tape to your optiflo because you kept trying to pull it out.
The rest of the hospital stay involved me trying to hold it together and you making slow and steady progress.  You gradually had more awake/alert times and I tried nursing you as much as you could handle.  It was hard because I knew that we had to nurse to leave the hospital but nursing wore you out and sometimes nursing would agitate the phlegm in your throat and then you would cough and spit up a bunch of mucus and milk.  It was great to get the mucus out but not the milk.
When you started nursing more I was supposed to weigh you and then nurse you and then weigh you again to know exactly how much you ate.  It was so neat to see exactly how many ml you got at each nursing session.  The goal was 65 ml every 3 hours.

My spirits were lifted whenever I video chatted with Jake and Linnea (which was often), read messaged from friends or had visitors (thanks, Alyssa, Angela, Chelsea and the rest of our friends who offered to visit).  Visitors were key to my sanity.  It was just so lonely being stuck in a hospital room by myself and then when I was holding you I had a 3-foot cord attached to the optiflo machine.  I ended up changing your diapers on my bed which only resulted in finding one dirty diaper in the sheets . . . oops, at least it was contained in the diaper.

While Chelsea was at the hospital I took a very short (5 min) walk outside!

I definitely learned a few things about how to love people well in the hospital.  The biggest thing was wanting company and needing things from home or food and not wanting to bother others.  I hated asking for visitors/help.  I just felt silly but sitting alone in a hospital room all day by yourself is lonely and discouraging.   So if you have a friend who is in the hospital tell them you are coming to either visit or to just drop off food or anything else they might need so there isn't any pressure if they are exhausted.  Don't wait for them to tell you they need something. They may not have any more decision-making abilities left so ask if they want/need anything specific and if they don't then just bring them some food (fruit, chocolate, snacks, etc).   

And if you happen to live thousands of miles away or can't visit them then message or call them.  Knowing I was thought about, prayed for and checked in on meant the world but also don't expect long phone calls or updates.  The first few days I didn't talk to people on the phone. I let Jake do that.  I was emotionally spent and I just couldn't update via a phone call.  Once things calmed down and I was a little less emotional I could give phone updates or video chat with family and friends.
They slowly weaned you off of the optiflo support.  Your oxygen percentage decreased from 35% to 30% to 25% to 21% (which is room air) and then they turned it up to 100% oxygen at 2 liters (so not much pressure).  They ended up taking you off of the oxygen in the evening which I didn't think they would do because they said you were more tired in the evenings.  Shortly after that you coughed and spit up mucus and your feeding tube so then they removed that and you were wireless . . . for 5 whole minutes!  After another control/vitals check your saturation level wasn't very good so they put you back on oxygen.  I was so frustrated.  They put you on a different machine that had a longer cable but it didn't have a quick release so I couldn't take it off to weigh you.
Wireless for 5 minutes.  Look at your poor face from all the tape.

Finally, wireless for real this time!
We ended up going home on Friday, February 23rd exactly a week after arriving at the hospital and when you were 3 weeks old.  When Jake walked into the room I cried.  It has been SO long since we'd seen each other and I was just so thankful to parent WITH him again.

Coming home . . . again!

I did figure out a few hospital hacks like how to make a sweet coffee by melting two mini Reese's peanut butter cups in a shot of espresso and then adding enough milk to make sure it isn't too strong.  I also figured out that when I went to go buy food at the cafe on the main floor that if I walked out of the main doors and down to the cafe (which was in the same building but had an outside entrance) then I could be outside for about 20-30 seconds each way!!!  Also, when the nurses came in to take controls/vitals I could hop in the shower and that would kill two birds with one stone!!
I was able to leave the room to buy food!  It is the little things that made the biggest difference in my day while in the hospital!
Some frozen milk we brought home from the hospital . . . At first, they were worried you weren't getting enough milk because my milk supply was low and then I started pumped and that was the end of that concern:).  #liquidgold

Your sister was so excited you were home!
After we got home I really wanted to continue weighing you to make sure you were gaining weight.  We might have put you in this bowl to weigh you but we only did it once because it was pretty awkward.

Firsts and New Skills
You had your first cold and first hospital visit.  I sure hope we don't have any more hospital visits for a LONG time!

Really everything is a first or a new skill this month, right?

Your dad and I went on our first outing with you to a coffee shop when you were 6 days old.  I was paranoid about all of the coughing that was happening around us but it was still nice to get out and walk even if it was cold and I had no idea how to dress you.

We went on our first family walk . . . in two strollers.  We took the double stroller and the single stroller because I didn't want Linnea to cough on you and get you sick . . .

This bear suit is adorable and keeps you nice and warm!
You fall asleep almost immediately once I start pushing the stroller which is great until I need to run errands in the morning and I want to nap in the afternoon and you already napped all morning ;).

We had your newborn pictures taken by the same person who took Linnea's pictures.  It was super fun even though you were so sleepy because you were sick.

Your umbilical cord fell off while we were in the hospital so your first bath was WAY late.  You did have a sponge bath before your pictures which you didn't seem to mind.

Your first real bath after the hospital.
Monkey see monkey do . . .

First bath at home!
Our first family walk using the double stroller (or triple stroller depending on what you count).

Big Sister Moments
Your big sister Linnea adores you.  She would love to hold you and kiss you if we would just let her. #dangyousickness  She often tells you "Hey, I'm your big, big sister. Yeah!" It is the sweetest.  She will sing to you if you are fussy.  She usually picks Blinka Lilla Stjärna Där (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in Swedish).  She also tells you "It's okay baby" when you are fussy.  She tries to get you to turn your head to the left so she'll stand on that side and yell your name.

Linnea didn't seem to be very jealous of you.  I think that is because your dad and Linnea got really close during my pregnancy.  So she was used to daddy taking care of her and putting her to bed when I was so sick.  The only hint of jealousy was when she would say "That is my mama" and point to me while I was holding you.  But then she started to say "That is my mama and that is your/Stella's mama."
I am so excited to see your relationship grow.  I don't have a sister but I've looked up to several sister relationships over the years and I just hope to help foster a loving relationship between the two of you.
Linnea has two babies - soft baby and hard baby (apparently we've passed our lack of ability to name babies onto our children . . .).   She sleeps with soft baby every night.  But when you were 4 days old she wanted you to sleep with her so she brought her to your crib and laid her down next to you.  It was so cute!

At first Linnea called you Estella.  We have some close friends who have a little girl named Estelle and they call her Stelly.  We knew Stella's name was similiar but we didn't think it would be too confusing.  Linnea still calls you Estella but she's getting better at calling you Stella.
Linnea Update
Since I am already struggling to get the one-month blog post up in a timely manner the likelihood of posting about your big sister as well isn't very likely but I thought I could include a few pictures and funny things she has done/said on your posts since I'm already here.

The night before you were admitted to the hospital for RSV your sister was jumping on the couch and fell off.  She had a big goose egg and got even bigger before she went to bed.  I definitely didn't think you'd be the one at the hospital the next day after looking at her head.
This is the picture your dad texted me of Linnea's head when we were at the doctor getting a breathing treatment.

Please notice the red scratch on the bottom of Linnea's chin.  She came home with that the night before newborn pictures but thankfully she waited to add the goose egg until after pictures were over.

Linnea saw her daddy resting on the floor so she decided to join him even to the extent of matching her breathing to his.

Linnea says "When I get super, super big then I'm gonna _____________ (have a sharp knife, drink pop, stay home by myself, etc)!"

Linnea has figured out how to stall big time at bedtime.  Some of her favorites things to try include: "Daddy, I want something else (to drink) after I wake up."
"Daddy, what does Frank start with?"
Linnea had a scratch on her wrist: "I need a band-aid for my wrist just in case it bleeds."

Linnea was playing in the shower and tried to pick up my razor.  Jake said she couldn't pick it up because she wasn't old enough.  She said she is a big, big sister now so she can pick it up.  Jake then explained what an adult is.  A few days later we were on our way to newborn pictures and Linnea said, "I'm an adult."

I want to remember all the newborn snuggles.  We have had a LOT.  I remember with Linnea we held her a lot too but we also wanted to make sure she could fall asleep on her own without nursing to sleep or being rocked to sleep.  Well, with you we've I've definitely let you fall asleep in my arms WAY more than we did with your sister.  But now that we've done the newborn stage once I fully understand what they mean when they say it goes by fast.  I have no idea how your sister is 2.5.  We literally just brought her home from the hospital.

I want to remember how much your big sister adores you.  She lights up when she tells you that she is "Your big sister" and when she tries to calm you down by talking to you.  It is the sweetest thing.

We are so thankful you are here and part of our family.  We love you Stella Jolee!

Your Mama
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