So once again, we haven't posted in awhile. And for good reason. We have been totally focused on the Miller Man, and with that comes less time for other things. These days he is literally, attached at the hip.
In my constant scouring of the Internet, books, and any other possible source (i.e. the mailman-yes, he had a preemie too!), I have learned some new things about preemies and their development. One of them being 'babywearing'. Babywearing (slings, wraps, etc) is wonderful for all babies, but especially for preemies and newborns. It fosters the bond between mother and child (fathers too), creates peaceful stimulation, promotes security, aids in breathing, promotes learning (via a state of quiet alertness while trucking around with mom), and can even encourage good eating habits, being so close to the source. Point is, babywearing does not promote blogging!
Something else that is encouraged (and totally discouraged by the hospital) is cosleeping. We are not exactly practicing cosleeping, but Miller only spends about 4-5 hours a day in his own bed. Our way of practicing cosleeping is allowing him to sleep on or very near us unless we are going to sleep.
I am quite sure there are many opinions out there about this and may not all align with ours, but unless those folks had a baby an entire trimester early, they are not really able to come from a perspective that we can relate to. Here's an example: On at least a weekly basis someone asks us how old Miller is. They totally expect to hear something like '3 weeks' or '5 weeks'. However, this is what they do hear: "ummm, well, technically he's 17 weeks, 3 days. However, he his due date was 4 weeks ago today, so he's really only 1 month old. Except, he's kind of doing some things that a 2 month old might do, but not really. He'll need time to catch up--you can't speed those 13 weeks he lost in the womb up just because he decided to come out early..." and on and on and on. Yes, I know this is way too much information but I don't really know how to sum it up, and how to avoid the 'you poor dear' face. And if I say four weeks (or whatever the number is at the time) I immediately get "wow! you look great for just having a baby" and so we have the conversation anyway. It's a 'walk a mile in your shoes' kind of thing.
Another important thing I have learned (and inherently knew, but now I have it in print) is that letting him 'cry it out' is not what's best for him. It can manifest itself in insecurity, breakdown in parent-child bond, and over all stress him out-thwarting developmental progress. He needs to know that if he cries (his only form of communication at this point) I will respond to his needs. And I do.
All of that aside, we have an update on his progress. We had our ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) evaluation today with our service coordinator and an OT, and we are incredibly encouraged by their findings. As a former 26 and a half weeker with a Grade IV IVH , Miller is exceeding all expections...a constant reminder of what a true miracle he already is. At exactly one month old corrected/gestational age, and four months from his birthdate Miller is displaying the actions and skills of a baby anywhere from newborn to 3 months old. Here are a few of the notes they made and things we discussed. Some things are redundant because they are related:
VISION:Watches ceiling fan, mobile, lights. Gazes at faces. Beginning to make some eye contact.
HEARING:Passed newborn hearing screening, turns to voices, startles at loud sounds.
NUTRITION:Feeding well and gaining weight (update on weight tomorrow after pedi appt, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 lbs). Drinks from bottle well (not so good at the breastfeeding, but he's still on exclusive breastmilk).
FINE MOTOR: Opening & relaxing hands. Tracking faces, objects slowly. Moving arms well, and in a random manor. Appears to have good range of motion . Lifts and moves his head.
GROSS MOTOR:Kicking and moving arms quite a bit. Will push up and move head to look around when on tummy. At this time, tone appears to be within typical range. (This is SO HUGE since kids w/ CP typically have high tone or sometimes low tone...no guarantees about the future, but this is great news right now).
COGNITIVE: Listening to voices, reacting, watching mobile when in crib
EXPRESSIVE COMMUNICATION: Cries when hungry or uncomfortable. Beginning to grunt and whine.
RECEPTIVE COMMUNICATION: Watching peoples' mouths and eyes, turns towards the sound of voices of parents.
SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL SKILLS: Very alert and aware of surroundings, gazing at people and watching their mouths as they speak.
We have a lot to be grateful for and we are very careful not to forget this. We are getting a little bit more sleep and moving around more. Little by little we are becoming human again. We made a trip to Kerrville a couple of weeks ago and Dad got to fish with his little bro's. Mom had a pedicure (praise the Lord) just yesterday and is looking forward to a massage in the near future. The dogs are doing great too, but they probably need a tiny bit more exercise. Miller is eating and gaining weight like a champ, and really just acting like a baby. Life is good. I PROMISE to update tomorrow or this weekend on our pedi appt tomorrow. Look for new photos this weekend too.
Love to you all-