Today, Leah is three weeks old!

We didn’t spend a full day at the hospital today; both of us had doctor appointments in Culver City, so we spent the first half of the day out there. After the appointments, we made a quick run to Menchie’s to fulfill Mandy’s 7-month-old craving. We were advised to avoid soft-serve machines during pregnancy because of the risk for listeria, and that was a huge sacrifice for Mandy (and therefore me) because we LOOOOVE frozen yogurt. It’s like a THING. So we went today. I managed to tolerate a wee bitty serving of chocolate brownie and cinnamon bun with a few sprinkles of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (they’re kinda like crackers, right?), and Mandy filled up her bowl with blackberry, raspberry sorbet, and vanilla, with raspberry sauce. We know you wanted to know.

After Menchie’s we stopped by my BFF Z’s house to pick up some breast-pumpy-type supplies she had for us. We got to see our little buddy Ry Ry, who, at 9 months old, looks like a monster truck baby now that we’ve been staring at LeahBug for three weeks. Seriously. Leah has thrown off all sense of baby proportion we might have had. And also we hadn’t seen Ry Ry in about a month so I’m sure he has grown, too. At first he was a little bleary-eyed from being woken up, but his face broke into a big adorable smile when he saw his aunties. Too sweet.

Once we were at the hospital, we took BabyBug out for some kangaroo cuddlage. Mandy finally got to use one of the blankets she made, so our baby bug became a baby Bruin. (See photo below).

When it was my turn to hold her, Little Miss LeahBug decided to cause some trouble. I had held her for about 9 seconds (maybe) and she was still squirming and trying to decide which way she wanted to face, when suddenly she tried to rear her head back (luckily I was holding her head like a good Mama should, so it didn’t go too far), and threw her arm forward at the same time, and somehow managed to dislodge her suction tube. Kangaroo time fail! She had to go right back into her isolette so the nurse could prep her for a new tube. Naughty Leah! So alas – no more kangaroo time for Mama Lisa today. Instead the nurse replaced her tube with a new one and then wrapped her up. She was WIDE awake and eventually managed to break out of her swaddle, so the nurse came back and bundled her up like a proper burrito, at which point I was able to lull her to sleep with the paci and a hand on her head. Yay for sleepy baby. I hope that trick still works when she’s 3.


“These crazy ladies…”

Baby Ry Ry loves his aunties

Baby Bruin (those are light yellow stripes)

Scrunchy face

Tubeless Baby! “Hmmmm, how else can I get into trouble?”

Shayneh punim, sans tube

“It’s exhausting to be this cute.”


Busting outta the swaddle

A proper mini-burrito

Cozy bug

AAAAAAND we have videos! If they don’t load for you, try back in 20 minutes – the last one is still uploading!

Exciting day for BabyBug (bearing in mind that excitement is all relative)!

Leah had a long day full of fun and excitement. She had lots of visitors, and she has some cool things to tell you, the biggest of which is that our BabyBug FINALLY reached 4 lbs! Or 4 lbs, 1 oz to be exact. It doesn’t really mean anything medically; Mandy and I just wanted to see her get out of the 3 lb range. Good girl!

BabyGirl also wore her very first clothes today! It just kind of came out of the blue; she was a little bit cold with her isolette constantly open, so the nurse put her in a little shirt. A very little shirt. And she still swam in it. See the picture below.

Leah also had visits from Aunti Staci (who taught her the art of taking selfies), her Gran (Mandy’s mom), and Mandy’s cousins Beth and Brian along with their daughter, “Auntie Erin,” who is surely already planning a most awesome wardrobe collection for Leah to wear once she gets sprung from this joint.

Leah also spent a longer time outside the isolette than ever before! I kangaroo-held her for over an hour earlier today, and Mandy did the same for nearly an hour this afternoon. Her oxygen level fell below 90% a couple of times, but she self-corrected and even more importantly, she didn’t turn blue once! Good girl! After Leah was weighed tonight and wrapped back into her swaddle, Mandy held her in burrito-form. No, not burrito-style. Just, you know, all wrapped up.

Sweet peaceful bug

More sweet peaceful bug

Smiley peaceful bug

I so want to kiss the top of that little head, but in the NICU it’s probably a bad idea.

High five, little girl!

Leah is either playing Dr. Spock or channeling her inner Kohan. I was imagining her saying “may the force be with you” until I remembered that’s totally the wrong movie. Bad geek! Bad!

BabyGirl and Aunti Staci. “She looks just like me!”


Aw shucks, you don’t say…

Tada! It’s… a spa robe? A muu  muu?


Baby burrito

Baby burrito with open eyes

Not too much news to report today

Baby’s big news of the day is that the nurses started leaving her isolette open to see if she is able to continue regulating her own temperature. They also started easing her into interval feedings. We’ll report back tomorrow as to how she is tolerating these changes.

Leah is still just shy of 4 lbs. 3 lbs 15.1 oz. SOOOOO close.

In mama news… Mama Lisa went home for a couple of hours today to tend to the garden and hug the kitties. Three out of four cats agreed that it was nice to see me. A certain little someone gave me the cold shoulder for a good part of my visit. The rundown: Lobo is not pleased about this abandonment situation, but I think I bought an ounce of forgiveness by playing with him with his little birdie toy. Jeepers was thrilled to see me and wound around my legs the whole time I was there. Jasper asked where I had been, but that’s about it. And although it took S’mores about 20 minutes to show up, she too was very pleased to see Mama Lisa return to the farm. So the first half of Mama Lisa’s day was good. The second half was good re: visitors, and very very bad re: keeping food down. And that is all I will say.

Mama Mandy had a nice day in the NICU, and this afternoon she held LeahBug for over an hour!

As noted above, Leah had lots of visitors today – her Gran and Uncle Ralph, Grandpa Bill and Grandma Barbie, great-auntish Nancy (I hereby coin this term. Auntish. Noun. Meaning: Basically an aunt, but not. Offspring to be referred to as uncousins), and friends Jess and Toni. For the third time in a row, LeahBug opened her eyes as soon as Grandma Barbie walked in the room. She really put on a show for her Grandma. Not only did she open her eyes AND need a diaper change, but she cried. Not a little Lambchop bleat, but full-on scrunchy-faced waaaaaaaa-ing. She seems to have figured out she has this new talent and has been taking advantage of it since yesterday. This should be fun. 🙂

Once we were back at the house, we had what appeared to be a fire drill or false fire alarm. Really it was in the other house but I guess when one goes off the other one gets triggered too. They might be auto-tied to the fire department too, because two big fire trucks showed up with sirens as we all stood outside. And let me tell you, there were some little boys out there who were very, very excited to see big shiny red fire engines.

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for… pictures!

Freshly-picked kumquats, rosemary, and about half of my squash harvest (some picked during the week by roommate). We put all of the kumquats and most of the squash out for others in the house to take.

Blackberries and blueberries from the garden. Those, we keep. 🙂

Peaceful Bug

BabyBug and Mama Mandy

Call off the Paparazzi Mamas! (The Mamarazzi?)

Baby with her open isolette

And lest you think every photo is peace and calm… here is a video that proves that I am a terrible, terrible person – and also easily amused.

Dramatic gestures add effect, don’t they? If you’d like to sing along, here are some alternate lyrics: “CHANGE MY DIAPER! CHANGE MY DIAPER! CHANGE MY DIAPER THIS MOMENT!”

The ShutterBug reports on the LeahBug

Not too much of an update today. Leah’s weight hasn’t really changed since the last time we posted. It appears she has gained about 5 cm, though. She was 41 cm (16.14 inches) at birth, and now she is 46 cm (18.11 cm). I guess she’s a quick little sprout – either that or she slouched earlier and decided to stand up nice and tall for her measurement this time.

Pictures for you!

The paci is almost as big as her head!

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Poofy cheeks

Mama Kangaroo

Bitty bitty fingers

She’s so cute she’s pinching her own cheeks!


“But I’m not tiiiired! I don’t waaaanna go to bed!”

Waiting for somebody to fan her with palm fronds


New video for you!

BabyBug had another day full of visitors! She spent most of the day sleeping. We’re keeping fingers crossed that tomorrow will be the day she breaks 4 lbs. Here’s hoping!

And now, a video for you. For context on the video’s title: Mandy and I have a tendency to pronounce Leah’s name differently. Mandy says Leeeeeah, whereas I use the Hebrew pronunciation of Ley-a. Like Leya-bug, meant to sound like Ladybug. I fully expect most people will call her Leeeeeah, but hey, that doesn’t mean I can’t have my own nicknames for her, right? I already have so many. BabyBug, LeahBug, BabyGirl, SnuggleBug, Poofy-Cheeks, Scrunchyface, Lambchop (when she cries, because she sounds like a little lamb baaaaah-ing), etc. What’s one more?

Two updates in one day? Whaaa?

I was so busy giving you technical status updates that I forgot to tell you all about Leah’s day! Leah had lots of visitors today. She saw her Gran (Mandy’s mom), and then her great-great-aunt and uncle (Glenda and Roy), and her cousins Lisa and Ciara. Later on Aunti Staci and Grandma Barbie (teehee – her name is Barbara but I’m pulling for Grandma Barbie) came to say hello. In a little while Uncle Ralph will be here. Big day for family!

Leah is still having some desats (where her oxygen saturation level goes down) and bradycardia (low heart rate) episodes. Mandy and Leah had a nice length of kangaroo time earlier today, but a few minutes into our time she started having issues. We decided to put her back, and later on I held her in baby burrito form instead. We had lots of fun together. I even got some eyeballs. The nurses are helping us learn how to balance the huge benefits of kangaroo time with the stresses of transition for preemies who are still learning how to breathe evenly. Kangaroo time itself is actually one way the babies learn how to regulate their breathing, since they match their breathing up to their mama’s (or mamas’ in this case). They also learn how to regulate their temperatures through skin-to-skin contact. But the transition from any one place to another can be stressful, so we’re going to try each holding her at different times of the day instead of switching her back and forth between us in a single sitting. She’ll get more kangaroo time this way, too! I’ll be so happy when her breathing is stronger and we can just snuggle with her and not have to watch her monitors and listen for alarms! Then again, that’s why it’s so important for us to do this kangaroo time now, to help her get to that point! And she really is pretty hilarious when Mandy holds her. I don’t know if it’s because she smells like milk or what, but Leah’s favorite position is face down right in the center of Mandy’s chest. It’s the funniest thing ever.

Oh – and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, tweeted for Leah. NBD.

(Srsly though. That is pretty freaking awesome. Thank you Duchess!!!)


And here are some more pictures for you!



Rock-a-bye baby burrito!

This is actually what we walked in on this morning. She was trying to hide under her tortilla cover.

This is from yesterday but I thought it was cute because Leah is tucked into Mandy’s shirt!


Aunti Staci!

An update for you, finally!

We had a nice surprise this morning when we walked into the NICU: instead of a rockstar glow worm, we had a baby burrito! That’s right! BabyBug is off her bili lights, and is very happy to be swaddled again. Here’s hoping it stays that way!

Leah is now 3 lbs 11.8 oz. If she was on Weight Watchers I guess they would call this a plateau, except in the other direction! They are going to increase the supplement by another 2 calories per ounce, for a total of 24 calories (regular breast milk has about 20 calories per ounce).

The doctors have told us they plan to wait to do the contrast study until she reaches full term, which is in about 1.5 months. At that point they will have a better idea as to how long the gap is between the esophagus and the stomach. Apparently the gap can also narrow a little bit once she reaches full size, so it would not be as useful to do the study now when the length could change.

The nurses encourage parents to read aloud to their preemies to help calm them, so we have started reading “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” to Leah. Somehow it seems appropriate. She seems to enjoy it so far. Perhaps she is dreaming of white rabbits and painted roses.

In case you are wondering how the Mamas are doing… Mama Mandy is finally able to rest on her side a little bit. She is super-tired, but healing slowly but surely! Mama Lisa is way too excited that she is able to eat saltines and broth-based vegetable soups. The broth and juice and Ensure were getting really boring!

Here are some new pictures for you. I had a memory card I couldn’t access until today, so some of the pictures are from a few days ago.

Baby’s uniform for today.

Baby Burrito


Tiny tongue

Smiling Burrito

Calm down, babygirl!

Mama Mandy Kangaroo – May 18

Beautiful BabyBug – May 18

Talk to the hand – May 18

Baby’s favorite position: face down on Mama’s chest – May 18

Mama Mandy Kangaroo – May 18

Sweet babygirl – May 18