So, this morning, Abby had her monthly check up with Dr. Saul. And as usual he came in, assessed her, and started asking me questions while reading her charts.
We talked about her size and what she was eating, and what she was doing with her hands and her head. And as I was talking about her being able to hold up her head, he interrupted me with a “wait one minute!!!”
You see, Dr. Saul is a popular man. He has quite a few patients. And when I say quite a few, I’m talking hundreds. And he specializes in preemies and micro preemies, so even Abigail is just one in a bunch for him. So he has to review each chart to really remember each case he is dealing with. And it wasn’t until that little skim through that he realized who she was. And how old she was.
He did a sort of double take – and this is where we insert the “Wait a minute!” exclamation. Dr. Saul thought that we had already passed the 3 month corrected marker. He thought we were well on our way to the 4 month corrected marker. So when we talked about her holding her head up with no problems and batting at toys and “talking” up a storm, that sounded right on track. But when he realized that we are still 2 weeks away from the 3 month corrected marker, he was amazed! He actually asked me if I was sure that this was the same baby he’d been seeing all this time, or if I’d traded her in for a real 3 or 4 month impostor!
He immediately started examining her more closely. He was delighted to see that her neck had straightened out and gained strength on the left side. He was impressed with her increased flexibility and how vocal she was being. He kept saying ‘wow’ and had this satisfied look on his face. It felt really good. He said he couldn’t believe how well she was doing. He even said, “She’s perfect. Just perfect.”
He went to the charts. Her height and weight jumped from the 25th percentile all the way to the 35th!!! She now weighs 11 pounds and one ounce (almost a full 2 pounds from last month’s appointment) and she is 22 and 3/4 inches long. We are rapidly approaching that 50th percentile mark we’ve been looking for! And the best news of all is that we’ve got a real shot at coming off the monitor. They come to pick up the machine and download the info tomorrow. We’ll have results in about a week. Please say a prayer!!!
So, next up? Food. For preemies, almost EVERYTHING is based on their corrected age. That is, except feedings. That is based on chronological age. She is 6 months old, and if she isn’t introduced to textured food before 7 months is up, we risk serious repercussions. All babies, preemie or not, are at risk to develop texture aversions if they aren’t introduced to food other than milk or formula before they reach 8 months of age. For full term babies, this is rarely a problem. Even for most preemies, this isn’t a huge deal. But for Abby, who is more than 3 and a half months older than her brain thinks she is, this can lead to problems. If she develops an aversion, she won’t eat. And if she doesn’t eat, she will lose weight, which creates a domino effect that will hurt or destroy everything we’ve worked so hard for. It’s a pretty big deal. Babies who develop texture and food aversions usually end up with another tube down their nose to feed them what they need to continue to grow, which usually only perpetuates the aversion. Again, this is worst case scenario, which brings me back to those first days in the NICU. We don’t even want to think about it.
So… hence the search for the right high chair for Abby. We need to introduce rice cereal and then promptly after introduce purees. The next couple of weeks should prove to be… entertaining if nothing else. Ha! The high chair can’t be just any high chair, either. While she has control of her head, she is far from able to sit on her own. She is what is called a ‘supported sitter’ which means she can sit with assistance. And when I must have 2 hands focused on her head and her mouth and her spoon, and possibly a pat on the back to prevent her from choking, I need to ensure that the high chair can do all the sitting assistance. It needs to grow with her, too, so we aren’t buying a new one every time she gains a new skill. Hahaha.
I know the ones that sit on your dining room chairs are really popular these days. But as we only have 2 at our table, we don’t really have the chairs to spare. So we will be doing our best to combine old school with new school to fit our needs. I think we are going to go with this one:
The Blossom 4-in-1 seating system by Graco. It grows with her, and accommodates her needs, both now and in the future. Now I get to go figure out what brand of rice cereal I want to feed her. Oy. Research, here we go again!!!!