Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Miracle of Ordinary Days - Part 15

Abby at 6 months
It might be helpful at this point to explain how you characterize the age of a premature baby.  Unlike a newborn who is born on time it would be inaccurate to expect a three months premature baby to do the same things that a fully grown newborn can do. There would never be a way for that baby to "catch up".  This is called adjusted age vs. chronological age.  So in adjusted age Abby's newborn status would not start until she was 3 months old, she would be considered 3 months old when she was 6 months old, 6 months old at 9 months old and so forth.  For development purposes this is how they determine her adjusted age. They stop this practice once the baby reaches 2 years old.  Most babies, "catch up" by this time and track pretty well developmentally with kids their own chronological age. 

Abby continued to develop well.  She was assessed for any problems and was followed closely for the first two years to ensure that she had the proper intervention if needed.  We had awesome people in our corner including occupational and physical therapists, dietitians, doctors and nurses. We were happy to see that there were not huge difficulties for her developmentally. 

Many times with such small babies there are problems with development.  One of Abby's issues was heightened muscle tone that made her stiff and super strong.  Abby's abdominal muscles would be the envy of any super athlete.  We would do exercises with her legs and arms to straighten them out.  We used to laugh at the way she would sleep.  She would sleep on her back with her hands out in front of her stiffly up in the air like Frankenstein's monster.  Over time and with exercises, this tendency lessened and her overall flexibility improved.  

One of the other side effects from months in the NICU was that because her head was constantly put to the side her head was elongated.  This we slowly improved by cushioning her head so that she could look straight forward while sleeping.  This improved the shape of her head immensely and now her head is beautifully shaped. Thank goodness for Occupational and Physical Therapists!

Abby is a determined kid.  On the day she turned 6 months old she rolled over for the first time not just one way but both ways.  First from her belly to her back and then from her back to her tummy.  She started standing up next to the couch when she was about 8 months old.  She was still so little that it was a funny sight to see a baby that was just about 10 pounds standing up next to the couch.  She was really strong. 

Tummy time seemed to be particularly uncomfortable early on I would assume because of the tube in her tummy.  She would get very mad when we would put her on her tummy.  Once she started turning over she solved that problem quickly by turning over on her back.  She still wanted to be able to move around so she solved that by turning to her back and scooting around the floor by pushing her legs and arching her back and for a long time this is how she moved across the carpet.  She learned to crawl by the time she was 10 months.  She has always been determined to do her thing, her way and this was no exception although there were times I wished she could see where she was going so she didn't hurt herself by running into the couch or the TV stand. This also gave her a very attractive bald spot on the back of her head.   

Abby at 5 months old

Abby hating her tummy time!  :)  We made her do it everyday anyway!
Abby at 8 months.  Standing on the stairs!  :)
Her eyes were good most of the time but at other times they wandered substantially.  One of the dangers of not treating a wandering eye is that the good eye will become too dominant and make the weaker eye eventually go blind if left untreated.  She hated the patches and would always try to pull them off so we had to resort to some eye drops that helped dilate her eyes.  
Her first surgery did a lot to help her see.  She was always a smiley baby but after her eye surgery she was really able to interact better with us.  It was a marvelous thing!
She is wearing 0-3 month clothes here.  They finally fit!  :)
Abby standing with Daddy's support at about 7 months.  All of her clothes were too big for a long time.

Abby was so small that preemie clothes didn't fit her for a long time.  In the hospital she didn't wear clothes for a long time because nothing was small enough.  She had blankets that she was wrapped up in and a warming bed so that she was nice and warm.  By the time she got out of the hospital, she weighed just 5 lbs 6 oz.  Huge compared to what she had started out as but still very small for a normal baby.  Finding clothes for her was difficult at first but we slowly collected them during her months in the hospital.  We also had two baby showers for her and we received many outfits.  She was still in size 6-9 months when she was a year old so each of her clothes got plenty of wear.  What a little cutie pie!
The months flew by once Abby was home and there were many changes in store for us.  We were so happy to have our girl home and it was time to think about growing our family again.

No comments: