Kennedy | 4 Months

One of these days I will get Kennedy’s monthly update posted on time, but not this time. I’m so sorry baby girl! Mommy loves you, but goodness, you and your brother are keeping me busy.

Anyways, on May 28, Miss Kennedy turned 4 months old!

 

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As you probably know, the last 3 months have been rough. The first 2 months of Kennedy’s life were nothing short of a nightmare with the constant screaming and month 3, she spent recovering from her lip & tongue revisions. But thankfully, all of that is behind us now, and we are finally getting to see what a happy little girl our Kennedy is!

She hardly cries (which is a drastic change from screaming 20 hours a day), unless she is hungry, tired or feeling left out. Girl has a serious case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). She is so curious and always wants to be in the middle of the action. When we are out somewhere, she needs to be held so she can see what is happening and she is constantly looking everywhere to take in all the sights & sounds. People always comment on how alert she is and it’s simply because she has to know what is happening. I can’t blame her, because I’m the same way. Shawn would say we are nosy, but really we are just curious creatures.

Kennedy is also starting to recognize familiar faces. She knows my mom and has become really comfortable with her. She also ADORES Maverick. It doesn’t matter what she is doing, if Maverick walks in the room or even makes the tiniest of sounds, Kennedy is observing his every move. It’s so cute, but also creating quite a problem when it comes to nursing her because of how easily distracted she is. Plus, Maverick isn’t quiet (ever), but he is slowly learning that when Sissy is eating we need to not be running around the house with the corn-popper.

Overall though, Maverick is doing an exceptional job being a big brother. If she’s upset, he will put her pacifier in for her. He isn’t the best at sharing toys and she is NOT allowed to touch his blanket at all, but he is always more than willing to cover her in slobbery kisses and full body hugs. Recently he has started to try and share his snacks with her, which is kind of scary because of the whole choking hazard thing, but we are working on it.

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Weight: 13 lbs. 5 oz.

Height: 24 and 1/2 inches long

Currently Wearing: Still in 3 months clothes, but they are getting really tight & her sleepers are too short. It’s definitely time to do some 6-month clothes shopping!

Hair Color: Dark brown & getting darker like Mommy’s

Eye Color: Dark brown like Mommy’s

Likes: Chewing on her hands, her pacifier, Maverick, Grammi, being apart of the action, playing outside & her play mat

Dislikes: Her carseat, hair bows, getting dressed, feeling left out & tummy time

Milestones: She is officially smiling at all times and she is SO close to rolling over. She can get on her side, but then just stops. It’s going to happen soon though! Kennedy is also starting to cut some teeth. She is constantly chewing on her hands and drooling. She’s holding her head up without any support now and is reaching & grabbing for items. She can take her pacifier out and almost put it back in her mouth (but usually ends up hitting herself in the nose). She’s also cooing & babbling all the time, but she’s only laughed for her Daddy, which I don’t blame her. He is pretty silly.

Favorite Food(s): Mommy’s milk–although she will make chewing motions with her mouth when she sees someone else eating so we are getting closer to trying some baby food soon!

Sleeping: Worst. Sleeper. Ever. We are definitely in the trenches of the 4-month sleep regression. She’s up every 1-2 hours at night and really only naps during the day if in the car or being held. Mommy & Daddy are so very tired.

Favorite Mommy Moment: Can I be completely honest here? I feel like this is the first month that I’m actually getting to bond with my daughter. The first 3 months were so hard and now that she is feeling better & truly acting herself, we are finally getting to build a relationship. I absolutely love that when she wakes up in the morning, she’s full of smiles. She’s a sweetheart and a definite Momma’s girl. I’m just really loving this month (even with the no sleep part) because I’m finally getting to enjoy my daughter.

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Happy 4 months baby girl. We love you so much!

xoxo

 

Memorial Day in Ellis

Does anybody else feel like they are still recovering from their long weekend because I sure do?! I know it’s already Wednesday, but my goodness I need a vacation from my vacation.

We spent Memorial Day weekend in Ellis, Kan., which is where Shawn is from. It’s a very small town about 4 hours west of Kansas City. We left Friday afternoon, around nap time, so the kids would sleep in the car and only had to make 1 stop the whole drive! Kennedy woke up from her nap outside of Salina, Kan., so we stopped at a gas station for diaper changes & snacks.

This trip was the first Brack Family Road Trip in the new minivan and words cannot describe how much I love this car! Not only did we fit ALL THE THINGS that my 2 tiny people require, but I had feet space in the front seat & nothing was blocking Shawn’s view in back! Plus, when Kennedy lost her shit with about an hour left to go, I just jumped in the 3rd row so I could entertain her (and clean up the entire Starbucks cookie that Maverick let melt everywhere).

The main reason we traveled to Ellis for the weekend was because it was Shawn’s 20th High School Reunion! On Saturday, we went to the reunion lunch and I got to meet Shawn’s old friends. It was so good to hear stories of high school Shawn (spoiler alert: nothing has changed in 20 years) and finally meet some people that I only knew through Christmas card exchanges.

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Ellis High School, Class of 1997

There was a reunion dance that evening, but at last minute we scraped those plans & decided to take the kids to the races with Shawn’s best friend, Christy. It was cold, the cars were loud, the track was muddy & Maverick LOVED every single second of it.

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He kept saying, “Fast cars. Very fast cars” and when 2 of the cars crashed (very minor crashes), Maverick got excited & kept saying, “Crash.” He was very into watching the Jeeps tow the crashed cars away.

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Kennedy had not napped all day (shocking, I know), so I put her in my Tula for the races & strapped some headphones on her. It was so loud, even when we sat far away & I was worried about her little ears. I don’t know if it was the muffled noise or being strapped to my chest, but Kennedy had the best nap of the entire weekend while we were at the track.

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Sunday we spent the day with Shawn’s mom. We went to eat lunch at one of Shawn’s local favorites, Taco Shop, and we had to check out the new snow cone shop in the mall. I will say, those snow cones were some of the best we’ve ever had. They were the perfect ice to syrup ratio. After naps, we finished off the day at Shawn’s grandmother’s house for dinner & some outside play time.

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I love that Maverick & Kennedy get to spend time with their great-grandparents. It’s something I never got to do & I know it means the world to Shawn.

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And it’s pretty cool to see 4 generations of Brack’s together.

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Overall it was a great weekend, but we were all very excited to home. There’s just nothing like sleeping in your own bed, you know?

Hope everyone had a great weekend too!

xoxo

 

Mother’s Day Weekend 2017

How is it already Wednesday?! I was hoping to get this post out earlier in the week, but I blinked and suddenly the week is half over. But I still wanted to share all about my Mother’s Day weekend, because it was pretty perfect (despite all the crying from my children).

We kicked the weekend off on Saturday with the Kansas City Northern Railroad’s National Train Day. Just a few minutes from our house is a miniature railroad track that runs during the summer months and for National Train Day, they had free train rides, as well as inflatables, food trucks & other family-friendly activities. It was so hot and crowded, but the lines moved super quick and Maverick had a blast.

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Of course we had to ride the miniature train. Kennedy slept in her Tula and Maverick sat with Shawn. Last summer when we rode the train he was a little scared, especially when it goes through the tunnel, but this time around he was all about it!!

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After the train ride, we visited the model train museum that was there. I think Maverick would have stayed there ALL DAY watching those trains. He was in awe!

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We had planned to eat lunch there and enjoy the sunshine, but it was so hot and Maverick was quickly approaching the point between Nap Time & Overly Tired, so we hurried home to get the kids to sleep.

While I laid down with Kennedy, Shawn decided he was going to run to a car dealership to look at yet another minivan. Quick backstory–we have been shopping for a minivan for about a year now. We knew the exact one we wanted & had a price in mind, but nothing ever seemed to pan out. Shawn, the eternal optimist, continued the search over a course of a year and every once in a while would make trips out to various dealerships to see if it was “the one.” I had long given up my dream of driving a mini, so when he told me he was cleaning out the SUV “just in case,” I just smiled and let him be.

Fast forward to an hour later and Shawn called me asking if I can meet him at the dealership to sign the paperwork!! I could NOT believe it! I woke the kids up, threw them in the truck and before the dealership closed, I drove away in my brand new 2017 Toyota Sienna.

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I swore I would never drive a minivan, but you guys, I’m driving one and I have never been more in love with a vehicle. Maverick can get in and out of the car all by himself and I don’t have to worry about him running out into the parking lot while I get Kennedy in and out of her carseat. Not to mention, I can fit both the double stroller AND the groceries in the trunk. I mean, seriously, it’s the little things that make my heart go pitter-patter.

And what else says Happy Mother’s Day better than a grocery getter? Oh, that’s right, the fact that my children were absolute nightmares the whole day on Sunday!

Like a lot of moms, I had high expectations for Mother’s Day, but when my children woke up extra early and crying, I knew my dream of having a day of not “momming” was over. We had plans to meet my mom & my sister at Ted’s for lunch that afternoon and I’m honestly surprised we even made it out the door. It was as if my children knew I wanted a day off and revolted by having epic meltdowns over nothing. When we finally did make it to the restaurant, we all had to take turns defusing toddler tantrums and walking around with Kennedy to keep her from screaming. I was supposed to go shopping with them after lunch, but I knew there was no way Shawn could handle this on his own (I mean, I could barely handle them) so we came home.

Lucky for me, we did eventually get Maverick down for a nap and Shawn pushed me out the door so I could go to Target for some alone time. I spent almost 2 hours cruising the aisles and shopping for new car accessories for my mini van (and no, I’m not joking either).

While the actual Mother’s Day wasn’t perfect, the weekend as a whole was, because it was spent with my family. Plus, my kids quit acting like lunatics for 3 whole seconds so I could snap this picture on my first Mother’s Day as a Mom of 2.

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And how can you possibly not love that?

xoxo

Kennedy | 3 Months

It’s been a week and half since Kennedy turned 3 months old and every day I’m continually amazed at how much she is growing and changing.

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It is obvious she is feeling 100 times better since having her lip & tongue ties released and her little personality is finally starting to show through. As much as it pains me to admit it, Kennedy is my mini-me. She is feisty, loud & she knows exactly what she wants, when she wants it and how she wants it. She’s particular in how she gets put to sleep, how she nurses & how she’s held.

Kennedy is also starting to coo and smile, although she’s yet to smile for the camera. She’s most likely to flash her toothless grin when she’s being talked to and when she is nursing. It’s my absolute favorite when she unlatches in the middle of a feeding simply to coo and smile at me before re-latching. It melts my heart every single time.

She also adores her brother. She watches Maverick all the time and if he isn’t in the room, she’s scanning the area for his voice. Maverick has been so sweet to her. He brings her toys, blankets & is always wanting to give her hugs & kisses. She’s trying so hard to roll over and reach for toys and I think it’s because she’s itching to be able to play with him.

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Weight: 12 lbs. 12 oz.

Height: Unknown

Currently Wearing: 3 month clothes

Hair Color: Dark brown

Eye Color: Light brown 

Likes: Sitting up, naps on Momma, being carried in her Tula, watching Maverick play, nursing & baths

Dislikes: The carseat, being left alone, naps in her crib, wet diapers & being too cold or too hot

Milestones: Bringing her hands to her mouth, cooing, smiling, trying to roll over, kicking her feet & tracking objects and/or people with her eyes

Favorite food(s): Momma’s milk

Sleeping: Inconsistently naps throughout the day if in the car or being held, goes to bed between 8-8:30 PM and wakes up at 1 AM, 4 AM, 5 AM and finally at 7 AM. In other words, not the best sleeper.

Favorite Mommy Moment: While nursing, she unlatches to coo and smile at me. Sometimes she will hold a 5-minute long “conversation” with me before re-latching to finish eating. It’s the best thing in the whole world.

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Happy 3 months, Kennedy! Momma loves you xoxo

Last Minute Mother’s Day Gifts

Mother’s Day is 5 days away and I have yet to do any shopping for my mom and if we are being really honest, I doubt my husband has done any shopping for me either. So to avoid the obvious last minute gift of flowers and a gift card, here are some options that all mothers will love (myself included!).

Last Minute Mother's Day Gifts

  1. Phone Case: Have you ever looked at your phone case and realized how disgusting it is? That was me the other day. I’ve had the same case since I brought the phone–nearly 2 years ago–and it’s definitely time for an update. I’m loving this clear case that still allows for the gold on my phone to show through and the mint design is adorable! It may seem like an inexpensive gift, but it’s something I would never buy for myself and those are the BEST gifts.
  2. Slippers: I love slippers! They are great for winter, early mornings and just to have laying around the house for when you need to take out the trash, check the mail or sometimes even just make a Sonic run. I’m picky about my slippers though and these in the Sand color have everything I like in a slipper–hard sole, fuzzy inside and the cute factor.
  3. Pajamas: Ninety-percent of the time I go to bed in baggy sweats and t-shirt, but there is something about matching pajamas that I just L-O-V-E. With summer around the corner, this adorable set from Target is cute, budget-friendly and guaranteed to make those sleepless newborn nights a teeny tiny bit better.
  4. Sandals: What woman doesn’t love new shoes? I have seen these all over the internet and I’ve decided I have to have a pair. The only problem is picking out which color.
  5. Makeup: Remember when I said that the best gifts are gifts moms don’t buy themselves? This is one of those gifts! I buy makeup because I have to, but I never buy the really nice makeup that I just want to have. My current favorites are this eyeshadow palette (or the more budget-friendly option) and this mascara.
  6. Perfume: I know this sounds like a cliche Mother’s Day gift, but not in my book. Especially when it’s an awesome gift set that lets you try all kinds of different scents. Bonus–if you don’t know which fragrance your Mom actually likes this is perfect!
  7. Bluetooth Speaker: I am slowly trying to get away from having the TV on all day long, but I like the background noise. So instead of PBS Kids playing in the background, we now have music. Only problem is it’s usually on my phone and the ability to really get a good jam session through my phone’s volume is limited. This bluetooth speaker falls under the category “Want, Don’t Need.”
  8. Jewelry: Every Mom has staple pieces of jewelry she wears, but there is something fun about a new piece of jewelry she can wear with anything. I’m currently crushing on this simple ring and of course, these earrings.

Regardless, whatever you buy your mom, she’ll love it. And if you truly don’t make it to the store then a hug, a thank you and some hot coffee will be just perfect.

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Five on Friday | Randomness

Kennedy’s 1-week checkup for her lip & tongue ties went great yesterday! The dentist said everything looks good. The next 2 weeks are critical in her healing process to ensure the tissues in her mouth don’t grow back, so lots of mouth exercises are in her future.

Which brings us to Friday! YAY! Here’s some Five on Friday randomness for you.

{one} Earlier this week, Maverick and I had a date, just the 2 of us. It was the first time since Kennedy joined our family that I have gotten to spend some serious 1-on-1 time with him. We went to the grocery store (not super fun, I know, but necessary evil) and then went to Sonic to share a milkshake and watch traffic (his favorite!). While I sat next to him, I realized how much he has grown in the last 2 months.

He has become the best helper at home. When I’m nursing, he’ll fetch burp clothes or pillows for me. He brings Kennedy blankets when she’s sleeping and he always asks, “Baby okay?” when he hears her cry.

I can’t believe he’s almost 2 and half & we are preparing for potty training & preschool already! That little boy of mine is everything to me and I will forever love the moments I get to spend watching traffic with him.

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{two} I love shopping local stores and this week, the Kansas State shirt I have had my eye on came back in stock and on sale at localE. I ordered it on Tuesday and received it on Thursday! It’s just as perfect in person and I can’t wait to wear it soon. I’m also thinking I need to pick up one of their Royals shirts because can you really have enough royal blue in your closet? The answer is no.

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{three} It’s almost May, you guys! Can you believe it? I simply can’t. At the beginning of each new month, Shawn & I try and sit down and map out what we need to get done that month. So far for May we have a potty training weekend, mini van shopping, his 20-year high school class reunion and hopefully a Royal’s game with the family!

{four} Next week I’m taking my first solo trip with the kids to Des Moines, Iowa. Shawn has to work there for the week so we are going to meet him the last part of his trip. While he works, the kids and I are going to do some exploring. I’m thinking we’ll do a zoo trip and maybe catch an Iowa Cubs game. It’s not the Royals, but it is baseball, so Maverick will love it!

{five} We’ve been trying to figure out who Kennedy looks like — Shawn or myself. Overall the consensus is Shawn, but once in a while we’ll get a vote for me. What do you think? I just can’t tell!

left to right: me, Kennedy, Shawn

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!

All Things Lip & Tongue Ties

It’s been 1 week since Kennedy has had her lip & tongue tie revision and over the course of the last 7 days, Shawn & I have been flooded with messages from friends & family checking in her. She’s doing FANTASTIC! The difference in our little girl has been night & day. In fact, she’s such a different baby that Shawn & I have joked that someone must have snuck in in the middle of the night and swapped her out for a newer, less screaming version.

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I’ve also received so many questions about everything that has happened with Kennedy in the last week and I wanted to take this time to address them all. Keep in mind, I’m not a medical professional (by any means!) and I can only speak to my experience with her.

What exactly is a lip and/or tongue tie?

If you run your tongue along the top gum of your mouth, do you feel that little piece of skin that connects your lip to your gum? You have that same piece of skin on your bottom lip and under your tongue. Those are supposed to be there. Kennedy had them too, but they were in the wrong place and were too short. The skin on her top and bottom lips didn’t connect lip to gum, like it should. It connected lip to between where her top & bottom front teeth would be. This made it nearly impossible for her to move her lips. In addition to being in the wrong place, they were too short. They didn’t stretch to allow her to move her lips. She also had extra pieces of skin connecting her lips to her mouth called “buckle ties,” which connects her upper lip to where her eye teeth would be. To put it in perspective, the dentist said, “Her lips were literally tied to her mouth.”

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To make it even worse, she had a tongue tie. You know, that piece of skin connecting your tongue to your mouth? Well she had one, but it was so short, she couldn’t move her tongue to the roof of her mouth. Can you imagine trying to talk or eat without being able to touch the roof of the your mouth? It’s impossible.

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Lip & tongue ties can create all sorts of problems for infants & older children (i.e, speech impairments & dental problems), but for Kennedy, specifically, she was struggling to get a sufficient latch while nursing. She could latch and get milk, but she was also getting a lot of air, which was creating major stomach problems. In addition, she was just in a lot of pain, hence the constant screaming.

How did we not know she had these problems?

This question is the hardest one to answer because as a mom, I beat myself up for NOT knowing. I didn’t know for 2 months! But according to Dr. Nick Prater, the pediatric dentist we saw, this should have been caught when she was born and it wasn’t. The pediatrician & the Lactaction Consultant missed it. Not to mention, it was overlooked the 4 times I dragged my child back to the doctor’s office demanding someone see her because I knew it my gut something wasn’t right. I just didn’t know what. Apparently, neither did they.

But didn’t she have problems breastfeeding?

Yes and no. Breastfeeding was rough. She constantly latched, unlatched & screamed. Every feeding was a battle to get her on the boob and to stay on the boob. But my milk supply was more than enough (hello oversupply!) and she was gaining weight without supplementing. She gained 4 pounds in 4 weeks and doubled her birth weight before her 2 month appointment! So while we fought to get her to eat, once we got there, there wasn’t any issue. So I never called Lactation to have her looked at again because I didn’t think nursing was the problem. I thought she was just being a pain in my ass when it came to eating.

So why did I take her to a chiropractor?

I had already been to the pediatrician 4 times. I was told it was because I had too much milk (which was true, but not the problem). Then I was told she had acid reflux and finally that she was simply just colicky. Every time I took her to the doctor, I told them I was concerned about her lack of pooping. She met the wet diaper requirement each day, but she didn’t poop. She maybe pooped once a week; however, they didn’t seem concerned. I was though and because the screaming wasn’t getting better I became convinced that was the problem. So like every person searching for answers, I went to Google and found that sometimes babies need their hips adjusted following birth to relieve constant constipation. So I found Dr. Racheal McCrackin, a chiropractor that specializes in babies & children, and made an appointment.

Not only were her hips out of alignment but Dr. Racheal caught the lip & tongue ties by simply looking in her mouth and watching her nurse.

PS If you are wondering, she did adjust Kennedy’s hips and she has been pooping daily! 

So how is a lip and/or tongue tie fixed?

Dr. Prater specializes in revising these ties. Once he confirmed the diagnosis, he then used a laser to cut the skin that was holding her lips and tongue from doing their jobs. Prior to our appointment, I did a lot of research and there are 2 methods for revising ties: cutting them or using a laser.

The laser method is preferred because it decreases bleeding & recovery time, as well as lowers the risk for infection.

Unfortunately, they did not use anything to numb or sedate Kennedy prior to the procedure, so it was pretty painful for me to watch it happen to my baby girl. The bright side though, it was less than 10 minutes (probably less than 6 minutes, but it felt like FOREVER) and Kennedy was over it before we made it to the car to head home.

What happens if you don’t get a lip and/or tongue tie revised?

In our case, the dentist said we would have had to get it revised. He said eventually we would have figured it out because her specific ties would have kept her from eating solid foods and/or talking. Thankfully, we caught it before it got to that point.

What’s the recovery period like?

Dr. Prater said the first 3 days following the procedure might be rough; however, Kennedy had no issues! I think it’s because the pain from recovering was pale in comparison to what she had been feeling. I did, however, give her some Tylenol for the first few nights to help her sleep. She seemed to be in more pain at night.

For the next 5-6 weeks, we have to perform lip & tongue stretches on Kennedy. This is to ensure that the tissues in her mouth don’t reattach and grow back. She HATES them and Shawn & I take turns doing them because it makes us feel like the worse parents ever. Basically we have to pull her upper and lower lips away from her gums and hold them for 3 seconds, 3 times and then we have to stretch her tongue to the roof of her mouth for 3 seconds, 3 times. We also have to rub the areas that were revised to keep the tissues from growing back. And yes, it’s all as miserable as it sounds. Fortunately, the areas in Kennedy’s mouth are healing really well, so she’s not in pain when we do these stretches anymore. She’s just annoyed that someone is messing with her mouth…again.

In addition to the mouth exercises, Kennedy is headed back to the chiropractor! Because her lips and tongue couldn’t work as they should, Kennedy compensated in her own little way in order to nurse. However, this started to create a deformation in her soft palate in the roof of her mouth. So for the next couple of weeks we will be seeing Dr. Racheal so Kennedy can get her soft palate reshaped. Incredible, right?!

What does the chiropractor do for an infant?

Personally, I have never been to a chiropractor, but in my head, I envision a lot of popping and jerking. Let me reassure you, she does NOT pop and jerk my baby. It simply looks like she is touching Kennedy — holding her hips, touching near her spine, holding her jaw. I know the chiropractor is applying pressure at certain points, but you couldn’t tell if you didn’t know. And for the record, no it doesn’t hurt Kennedy, but yes she cries simply because she’s being bothered.

Want another fun fact? According to Dr. Racheal, Kennedy is what is called a “bullet baby.” During birth, most babies sit in the birth canal for awhile while the mother pushes the baby out. This allows the baby’s body to adjust during the birthing process. Kennedy, however, was born really fast (2 pushes, less than 5 minutes) so her body never had time to adjust. It’s similar to being in a car wreck, where the inertia carries you forward, even after the car has stopped. However, adults who are in car accidents have muscle tone & muscle memory to help their body realign. Babies don’t have muscle tone or muscle memory so they just stay out of alignment, which was the problems with her hips and the reason behind the lack of pooping. MIND BLOWN!

How’s Kennedy doing now?

Like I said, it really feels like someone swapped out the Screaming Kennedy for the Kennedy we have now. She’s smiling & cooing, things that didn’t regularly happen before, and she’s content to just sit in her bouncer or on the floor while I cook dinner or get ready for the day. Those may sound like nothing, but when it’s been 2 months of constantly consoling a child who only stopped crying to sleep (in 2 hour increments, mind you) those are BIG moments. Granted, she’s still a newborn so it’s not all rainbows and kittens. But she’s better and not in pain anymore and really that’s all that matters.

 

Today, Kennedy has her 1-week follow-up appointment with Dr. Prater and I’m anxious to see how it goes. I’ll be sure to update tomorrow!