At 1:30pm today, Abby turned 6 months old. Half a year. Are you serious? That is simply not possible.
Ok, ok, we all know it is. Obviously – because it’s here. But that whole idea that “this time goes by so fast” has absolutely blindsided me. I’ve been looking back at “old pictures” of her and marveling at just how tiny she was. And then, having the same sense of amazement looking at her now and thinking, “look how big she is!” It’s a very confusing and overwhelming feeling.
I’ve known today was approaching for a while now. And not just because I saw it coming on my calendar. Today is a pretty big milestone. The first year for a Micro-preemie is all about getting through without too much damage. It’s not only a big deal to have gotten to half a year, it’s an even bigger deal to have gotten this far without her getting sick! (Not counting the NEC in the NICU – that is different, I’m talking colds or viruses).
I have friends who are the Moms of Micro-Preemies that really celebrated this milestone for their kids. One even got a cake! I think I convinced Anthony to take us out for cupcakes later. Tee-Hee!
But really, there are so many other things that mark the importance of today besides cupcakes and celebration. Check out this photo, also taken today!Yup – that would by my little girl, holding up her head all on her own. AND she just started to realize the whole concept of toys. Yesterday. Yup – yesterday, during her Occupational Therapy session, she realized, for the very first time, that the toy keys in her hand were actually there! She was fascinated. Today, she couldn’t get enough of her links. Holding them in both hands, and at one point having enough coordination to take one and put it in her mouth!
It’s hard to explain how great this is – mainly because every baby figures this out. But I can try to explain. A large percentage of babies like Abby have major delays in development. Some even suffer brain damage or disabilities that hinder them from living typical lives. The goal is to have the baby meet developmental milestones on target for their “Corrected Age.” This is the age that the baby would have been if they were born on time. So for Abby, even though she is 6 months old, her corrected age is almost 11 weeks – so not even 3 months old.
Some babies are behind even their corrected age. Abby’s therapist, Penny, just told me about a baby she works with that is a year old, should be at 10 months corrected, but is only at 7 months developmentally. She told me of another little one that is over 3 years old, but not there developmentally – closer to 2. She will need therapy for quite some time.
I am so excited that Abby is on target for her corrected age. She is what we call a “Supported Sitter” which should happen by 3 months – so she is slightly ahead there! She is right where she should be for most things, like tracking items, vocal communication, ability to focus, and range of motion. She is slightly behind on only a couple of things – her hands should have already relaxed, but she balls them up in tight fists still, so we are working on that. And she can push her upper body up to a 45 degree angle during tummy time, but she can’t hold it there, so we are working on upper arm and body strength, too.
It is so amazing to watch her develop. We will start feeding her rice cereal this month (can’t wait to get her high chair!) which will be a big step forward for all of us. And every day she does something new. She holds her head up better, or grabs something she has never noticed before, or she responds to something she didn’t respond to yesterday… It’s awesome. And as long as she continues to do things like that, she will eventually catch up to her June Baby peers and she won’t have a corrected age anymore. I’ve been told it takes about 2 years. Penny told me yesterday that we won’t see any “catch-up” happen until after she is a year to a year and a half old.
She is such a funny little girl. She loves to smile. She smiles so widely for me and for Anthony. Especially for Anthony. I definitely have a Daddy’s girl on my hands. She still loves bath time and she has decided she loves to talk. She makes a ton of vowel sounds, and will totally have a conversation with you or tell you a story if you sit and listen. Oh! And have I mentioned she is sleeping through the night? Yes, my friends, I have a night sleeper. It means that she is awake for several hours at a time during the day, but that is when we play! She naps in the morning, and in the afternoon, and she spends the rest of her time learning as we play. My days right now are just ridiculously fun.
We are gearing up for Christmas. She has noticed all of the decorations. She stared at a Christmas pillow for a good 8 minutes this morning. Can’t wait to see what she thinks of the Christmas tree! I can’t wait to share this holiday with her for the first time.
So, that is where we are at. We are working hard to keep her on target, and marveling in every little milestone we pass.
Happy Half Birthday, Abigail! You are so amazing!