So, what's new with our little peanut? She's a BIG peanut! Adeleine weighs 18lbs now and I'm loving all the little rolls and squishy cheeks. So much so that we had a photographer come to the house to record her adorableness for posterity (all photos on this page were taken by Meagan Tutti-Peters photographer extraordinaire). Even at 18lbs she's in the 50th percentile for weight for her corrected age, so she's perfectly average. I like to say that she's earned those rolls!
She recently had her 8 month developmental follow up appointment at the hospital. At these appointments a physiotherapist plays with her on the floor and checks to see that she is doing all of the appropriate baby things for her corrected age, like reaching, sitting up, grabbing, etc. After showing off all her talents Adeleine came out with an overall development score that ranked her in the 50th percentile - again, perfectly average. Yay! This is super duper important for all the mothers of micro preemies out there reading this. Things can turn out ok. Really.
When I was searching the internet at 3am in the first few weeks after Adeleine was born (at 26 weeks and 6 days gestation) all I was coming across was bad news, so I never ever thought it would be possible to have a child turn out ok (so optimistic, I know, but the micro preemie moms reading this in the basement in the dark typing quietly get it). Anyhoo, a few weeks ago some of the preemie moms from the NICU got together at the park with our little ones. They all had a tough journey to get home from the NICU, some more so than others, and one mom asked as we all held our miracles in our arms "Did you ever think you would get to this point?", as in, did we ever think we'd be holding our perfectly gorgeous, developmentally on track, 6 month old (corrected age) babies in our arms on a lovely summer day in the park? We all said no. At some point, all of us never thought that day would come.
So for all the micro preemie moms out there, searching for some hope I tell you this: First, stop looking things up online in medical journals, you will make yourself crazy. Really, stop. Second, stats are just numbers, they are not a diagnosis. I know it seems like your baby is a lightning rod for rare terrible things, but just because there is a chance of something bad happening does not automatically mean that it will. Try to just focus on your baby and how she/he is doing right now, not the statistics (I know this is hard). Third, and most importantly, know that things CAN turn out alright. They can. It IS possible to sit in the park 9 months from now with the mom who's baby is currently fighting for his life in the cot next to you and marvel at how strong they are and how far they have come and how wonderful their beautiful lives will be. I never found much hope in my searches (not many people post an "Everything is turning out ok!" report), so I'm hoping you find this page.
Here is where she started:
Adeleine was born at 26 weeks and 6 days gestation due to an abruption of the placenta and infection (funicitis). She spent 11 hours on a vent, 9 weeks on oxygen (CPAP/nasal prongs), she had an infection at 3 weeks old that damaged her lungs, she experienced the typical A's & B's of prematurity, Stage 1-2 ROP, she had difficulty learning to eat, lots of reflux and choking and went home after 15 weeks in hospital (two weeks after her due date) on an NG tube.
Here is how she did:
Her ROP resolved. Her NG tube came out after a week at home. At 1 month corrected age she began exclusively breastfeeding and her reflux subsided. She wheezes a little when she gets excited but other than that, she has no issues with her lungs/breathing. She is not on any medications as of 8 months corrected age. She is doing all the wonderful things a term 8 month old baby should be doing at this point: Sitting up, reaching, grabbing, pulling people's hair, crawling backwards, spinning herself around, rolling, almost crawling forwards (next week maybe!!), babbling (Andrew likes the "da-da-da-da-da" sounds best). She is even working on her pincer grasp, feeding herself solids while sitting in her high chair. She is bright and happy and wonderful and perfectly average developmentally. She's right where she should be. She is OK. Her primary nurse (we still keep in touch) says "You'd never guess she was a preemie" and every time she says it I couldn't be more proud of my amazing girl.
So that's where we are at today! She has her next developmental follow up appointment when she is 1 year corrected age, so I'll give you an update on that in four months, and anything else exciting in between!
All photos by Meagan Tutti-Peters
***Please note that this post is not medical advice, it is simply our story.****