Not Special Anymore

It’s official. Abby isn’t special anymore.

Hehehehe. Did you laugh at that statement, too? I know I did. I mean, when will that EVER be true? In my book, it won’t.

BUT (isn’t there always a but?) It is sort-of true today. Not in the sense that Abigail isn’t a special person, or that I don’t think she is a special human being. But it is true in the sense that we finally get to take the label “Special Needs” off of her. As of today, Abigail is officially a regular, run-of-the-mill, TYPICAL 15 Month old. Granted, she is still a little small for her age, but other than that – nothin’ special.

It is a REALLY odd feeling to be jumping for joy when someone tells you your kid isn’t special. But we are. Today, Dr. S said to me, “While she will always be special to you, she is not a “Special Baby” anymore. From here on out, I treat her as a typical patient.” (For the what seems to be the gazillionth time this year, *I HEAR ANGELS SINGING*)

We no longer have a corrected age. She is 15 months old. Period. And 85% of her skill sets are within the 13-15 month range, which is also typical. NONE of her skill sets are behind 12 months. For those of you who are not FB or twitter friends with me (which you should be, by the way! Fix it now!) I get to brag once again that she is walking! Well… I call it wobbling. She can take up to 5 steps at a time without falling. She still thinks crawling is better because she is so good at it – but we went from no steps to 5 steps practically overnight!

Stats update time: Abby weighs in at 20 pounds, even. A whopping 18.5 pound increase from her birth weight. She is just shy of 29 inches tall. She lands in the 9th percentile for weight and the 5th percentile for height (she’s a shorty like her Mama!). Proportionally, she has a giant head. Being almost 18 inches around lands her in the 10th percentile for head size. Wowza!

Today we were given the all clear for pretty much EVERYTHING. We can travel with her, including flying. We can go to DISNEYLAND!!! (Happy Dance Over Here!) and she has zero food restrictions. In fact, today is her very last day of Formula. We will introduce whole milk to her tonight at dinner for the first time.

We do have to make a few changes that will probably be harder for Anthony and Me than it will be for her. We have been instructed to stop feeding her at night if she wakes up, and also to not pick her up at night once we put her down to sleep. The next few days might be hard, but I know she’ll figure it out and maybe we can all get some really good sleep!!!

Also, we had our regular NICU follow-up last week and they were so pleased with her progress that we don’t need to be seen until she turns 2. 2, people! I honestly don’t think that my brain ever really let me think about the possibility of a 2-year-old! Which is another blog entirely. The OT was amazed at everything she could do. She sat at a table and played with the therapist for over 35 minutes. THIRTY. FIVE. MINUTES!!! I know adults who can’t sit still that long! But she did and she passed every test they had for her. So much so that they had to pull out more advanced stuff for her to do because she did the tests for 9-12-month-olds way too easily. My Dad joked and said that the NICU said she couldn’t come back because she was making all the other babies look bad. This time away from our NICU family is their way of letting the other Micro Preemies catch up to the “Amazing Abby.” Cute, Dad.

It’s surreal. To get to this point in our journey and to start talking about her FUTURE. Everything for Abby up until now has been day-by-day. We have never planned more than a month in advance because we never knew where we would be with her. We get to start talking about Pre-School next fall, and Family vacations next summer. We get to start helping her hone her skills so she can communicate with the world and be a part of it all. We get to say YES to all the invites we get from family and friends to do fun the fun things we’ve had to say no to for over a year.

I find myself at the very edge of my seat, getting excited about how much the world just opened up for us. The restrictions are lifted. We get to throw caution to the wind (well, as much caution as is safe to throw for a typical child, anyway) and let our hair down. We get to rejoin the rat race and start to discover the world all over again – this time with a toddler. A toddler that, for the first time in her life, is not special.

While my posts will still be centered around Abigail, I doubt many of them will be about her progress anymore. I get to start blogging about the everyday things we do with Abigail and the world from her perspective. I am making the transition from Micro-Mom blogger to just regular Mommy-blogger. I’m ready for the challenge, if you are ready to read along!

And so, let our new journey begin!

-Jen

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