The joy that you see on her face in this picture from her first taste of baby food (sweet potatoes I think), is back. She is more willing now than ever to try food and CHEW, not gag, and wants her bottles and wants to eat, the changes are remarkable. And why you ask? We have made a few alterations in her diet (the pre-digested formula is no longer being used = no more diarrhea, thank goodness). She is back on soy formula, but the biggest difference is that we are not putting the rice cereal in her bottles anymore, and her appetite is much better. Chris and I think that she just didn't process the rice very well. Luckily right now, we are only having to use her tube to feed her 3-4 ounces at night, she is doing the rest, eating approx. 20-24 ounces on her own and 3 meals on top of that. WOW?!?! We didn't know if she was capable, but she is proving herself once again. We are thrilled! And so is she with more energy and she is so much happier and learning like crazy!
This is the best way I can describe how the past week has felt to me...
Charlotte also has a few other skills...her repitoire of sign language/vocabulary has increased greatly in just the past few days. Here is a list of signs she, words and body parts that she knows. She does not say any of them, except ball, Momma and Dada:
Now for some funny pictures... this was also taken last March when Aunt Sara cut her hair short to donate to "Locks of Love". She was just trying out the wig on our little baldie baby.
And finally, what I have been waiting 18 months for. Charlotte has started finishing an 8 ounce bottle before bed, but that is not the best part. She cuddles with me. Now, each night when she is done eating, she turns around with her chest to mine and lays her head down for a little rocking and cuddling. This has just melted me the past few nights and even brought me to tears. After about 10 minutes, I lay her down as her eyes are beginning to close and as I walk out of her room, have a smile on my face from ear to ear. You see, Charlotte has never been that much of a cuddler, but ooohhh how good it feels to have her snuggle up next to me. I missed those moments when she was a newborn, in the incubator in the NICU: those quiet tender moments. I am so thankful to have them now.
When Chris took this picture, the room was actually pitch black, but you can't tell because of the flash. We were both so at ease...
I'll end with one final funny picture. This was taken last night at 2 AM... you may be wondering what the heck I am doing up at 2 AM?? Well ever since Charlotte was started on the 2nd Blood Pressure medication, we have been getting up at 2 AM every night to give it to her, and now we hook her up to her tube feeding at that time every night too. It is not something that either of us look forward to doing, but each night we set our alarms and get up together to care for our precious gift. I think capturing moments like these and many other crazy sleeping positions is our reward.