Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Prematurity Awareness Day

November 17th isn't a national holiday. It's not even a bank holiday. But it IS Prematurity Awareness Day. I've been thinking all week about my "Blog for Babies" entry - at first I thought I'd take the statistics route. Ya know, "1 in 6 babies born in Alabama is born premature", "40% of premature births are unexplained", or maybe even "a baby born at 23wks has a 17% chance of survival". But then I realized that statistics are...well, just numbers. So in lieu of bombarding you with generic statistics, and since most of you already know my Sarah, I'll give you OUR prematurity numbers.

13 weeks early. Sarah was born at 27w3d.

1000 grams. Sarah's birth weight. That translates approximately to 2lbs, 3oz.

12.5 inches. Sarah's length at birth. She was one inch longer than a Barbie doll.

9 leads, wires, tubes and hoses connected to Sarah in the photo above (she was three days old).

5 blood transfusions. Three from unknown donors. Two from her PaPa (my dad).

2 rounds of medication needed to close the Patent Ductus valve in her heart.

0 brain bleeds. We're amazingly lucky to have dodged that bullet.

19 days before we were able to hold Sarah.

1 NEC scare. Necrotizing Enterocolitis. Feared by preemie parents everywhere.

80 days on oxygen, delivered via ventilator (2 days), CPAP (2 weeks) and nasal canula.

109 days in the NICU.

Please don't think it ends there. Prematurity isn't "cured" at NICU discharge. No, it follows you home. And I'm honestly not sure it ever goes away. Every time Sarah sneezes, I remember how fragile her lungs still are. Every time I put 6mo pants on my almost 16mo old child, I remember how small she is. Every time I walk into St. Vincent's hospital and smell the hand soap, I remember the many days that I thought we'd never make it home.

After 16mos, I've finally been able to make (a TINY bit of) peace with Sarah's early birth. At the very least, I'm doing my best to make sure that (a TINY bit of) something good comes from our experience.

-I'm now volunteering with an amazing group ( that ministers to NICU families in our area. That "ministry" comes in the form of prayer, but also in the form of emotional and sometimes even financial support.

-We're also involved with the mission of the March of Dimes now. We participate in their annual Blue Jeans for Babies and March for Babies fundraisers.

-Though it's difficult every time, we return regularly to the hospital where we spent those first three and a half months. Sometimes we go with donations for the NICU(swings, bouncy seats, blankets, clothing) and sometimes we go with goodies for the NICU and labor/delivery nurses (donuts, cookies, BBQ). Simply put, they saved Sarah. We want them all to know how grateful we are for that.


So, there you have it. A face to put with the statistics of Prematurity Awareness Day. A face representative of 500,000+ premature babies born each year. Please support your local March of Dimes chaper in their fight for babies like Sarah.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

There’s a LOT to update since my last post so let’s get started!

1. In early August we took Sarah on her first vacation – the beach! We were still having a few sleep issues at the time but, in spite of my worrying, she adjusted quite well. Sarah loves the water, though she wasn’t a big fan of the sand. Can’t say I blame her!

2. After being unemployed since I was hospitalized in June 2009, I finally went back to work in late August. This of course means that Sarah started daycare. Let’s address the job first – when I first got pregnant, I had no intentions of staying home. In fact, I was even planning a very short 4-6wk maternity leave for a variety of reasons. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you realize that my pregnancy was FILLED with good intentions that quickly passed once I delivered early. I LOVED being home with Sarah and I’m beyond lucky to have had that opportunity – so many preemie moms have to return to work before their babies are even home, but I was able to spend my days in the NICU with her. But, the fact remains, we require two incomes. And health insurance. All in all, I feel like going back to work was one of the final steps I needed to take to get us back to where we should have been all along.

3. Daycare. Sarah started daycare on August 23rd. After only TWO WEEKS, we’d been to our pediatrician THREE times and spent Labor Day in the Emergency Room at Children’s Hospital. This was the exact reason that we avoided daycare as long as we did. At that point, Sarah was congested, had a week long fever that spiked at 105* and was having O2 desats that left her with blue lips and hands. When the dust finally cleared, she’d missed more than a full week of daycare and we now have our very own albuterol nebulizer. Ya know, because I didn’t feel quite guilty enough about going back to work. She would cry when we dropped her off, cry when we picked her up, she wasn’t napping at all during the day, became completely dependent on her pacifier and she was a miserable troll when she was at home. The only thing she WAS doing was eating well, but even so, she stopped gaining weight (more on that shortly). I was left wondering why in the world ANYONE put their kids in daycare. And then last week (week seven) everything magically changed. We credit the Glow Worm Seahorse that some friends gave Sarah for her birthday. We keep the original seahorse in her bed and she plays the music at night until she goes to sleep. In a last ditch effort to help her nap, we bought a second seahorse to keep in her daycare crib. She’s stopped crying when I drop her off in the mornings, she actually reaches for her teacher now, she’s napping at least an hour each day (usually closer to two hours) and she’s much happier when she’s home. Sarah is also learning things like clapping her hands (that was one thing she simply would NOT do before), she’s making new sounds (not quite words yet so everything is still “dog”), she brings home artwork to hang on the fridge and she’s walking like crazy. We know she’s going to continue to get sick, we can only hope that her immune system is improving and will be able to keep future ER visits to a minimum.

4. Sarah continues to receive services thru our county’s Early Intervention program – we were discharged from PT several months ago, but we still see our OT regularly. Just before Sarah started daycare, our OT sessions were cut back to once a month because the OT was really just watching Sarah play – her motor skills are on (sometimes even ABOVE!) par with her peers now! Her OT will continue to visit Sarah once a month (they’ll evaluate her in daycare now which gives me an extra set of eyes there) mainly to make sure that her speech develops as it should. We don’t anticipate speech delays, but I’d rather address any concerns early on.

5. I mentioned in #3 that Sarah’s weight gain has slowed. Up until her first birthday, Sarah was still drinking quite a bit of formula each day (we’ve since switched to whole milk) and we could count on her gaining approximately 1lb per month. At her 12mo pedi appointment in July, she weighed approximately 17lbs. That was two and a half months ago. When I weighed her last night, she weighed approximately 17lbs. Uh, huh? I’ve always heard that a baby’s weight gain slows after a year…but Sarah’s seems to have STOPPED. And since I’ve been hypersensitive about her weight since she was born (every OUNCE she gained in the NICU was cause for celebration!) I can’t help but worry a bit about it now. Because let’s face it, Sarah is small. REALLY small. At almost 15mos, she’s the size of an average 6mo old…which REALLY alarms people when they see her walking (okay, that part is kind of funny…). My micropreemie has become a microtoddler – 17lbs, 27”. Now, with all that said, the lack of weight gain certainly is NOT caused by a lack of eating. Sarah may be small, but boy she can EAT. Every morning we start with an entire packet of oatmeal for breakfast – I make hers with whole milk and add cinnamon and a big blob of applesauce to it. The she goes to school and eats a SECOND breakfast there (cereal, a honeybun, a cinnamon roll, etc). She almost always eats all of her lunch (a protein, a veggie and a fruit) and then snacks mid-afternoon. She has another snack when she gets home and then dinner. And don’t forget about the 3-4cups of milk scattered in there too. I guess her constant motion burns the majority of that…the rest she stores in her hollow leg. Sarah’s pediatrician genuinely listens to my concerns and usually manages to make me feel better about things – we see him again on the 25th for a 15mo vaccination (blech) so hopefully that will help.

6. The other issue with Sarah’s size is finding clothes. The upside is that she really gets a lot of use out of her things whereas a lot of kids outgrow their clothes before they even have a chance to wear some of them. The downside is that she’s wearing 6-9mo clothes with a few 3-6mos things thrown in there. The difference in sizes across brands is ridiculous. And it doesn’t help my anxiety level to buy 6mo pants only to have them fall off of my 14mo old. I have a couple of reliable brands that I stick to now (Carter’s, Target’s Circo, and BRU’s Miniwear) and can usually tell how much I’ll have to hem the pants before she even gets them on. I don’t bother buying out of season because who knows what size she’ll be next summer. Having a kid is all about adapting, right?

7. I said before that Sarah’s only “real” word right now is DOG. We occasionally get “duck” or “ball”, but really, they sound just like “dog.” Our dogs are definitely “dogs” to her so she knows the meaning of the word…but some days, everything else is “dog” too. You just have to pay attention to what she’s pointing at/reaching for. Her lovie blanket…”dog”. Her cup of milk…”dog”. ME: Sarah, can you say “mama”?? Sarah: DOG! Oh well, at least she knows what’s important, right? She will sign for “milk” (though she’s modified the sign a bit for her own tastes), sometimes we get something in between the signs for “mama” and “daddy” and she just started signing “more” (like more food!) over the weekend. She knows where her “noggin” is and where MY nose is…though she still seems completely unaware that she has a nose of her very own.

8. Sarah and her dogs…goodness, where do I start? She’s doing SO well learning to “pet nice” and “be gentle” with the dogs. Now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t the occasional eye poke or ear pull. But they exact revenge with a whack of a tail, usually upside her head. All except for Ralphie…not only is his tail super short, but he’ll take affection any way he can get it – even if it’s a poke in the eye. If you’re wondering which dog is Ralphie, he’s our male pit bull. Not exactly the vicious beast the media would portray him to be. Sarah’s a smart girl, she knows who loves her best!

9. Teeth. We now have TWO!

10. This past Saturday was Sarah’s first haircut. I want to let her hair grow, it just needed to be cleaned up some on the ends. She was looking pretty pitiful…especially with her daycare snot nose. I was a bit concerned about how she’d behave (and how the resulting haircut would look) but she did VERY well. She even sat in the (modified) chair all by herself! The gal who cut her hair put all the little clippings in a envelope for me, gave us a little “My First Haircut” certificate and didn’t charge us for it! Plus all the older ladies in the salon were have a FIT over Sarah…especially when she started walking (she really looks too small to be walking on her own) so it was quite entertaining for all of us. Now, if she’d just keep a bow in that hair…

Monday, October 11, 2010

First Official "School" Photo

I'll explain in tomorrow's Ten on Tuesday...I promise!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. I know, I know, it's been over a MONTH...but it was a tough month for me. June 21st started my "one year ago..." and it a lot of ways, reliving it a second time was more difficult than the first. I suspect I'll always have demons to face this time of year.

2. Sarah's first birthday was on the 21st! ONE YEAR - holy cow, how did that happen?! We spent the morning with our favorite photographer and a birthday cake that was demolished by the end of the shoot. These photos...and all of the photos that Stephanie has taken for us are so precious...I'll be the first to admit that we went cheap-o on our wedding photos, but I'm a HUGE fan of GOOD photography now. We'll have these photos forever.

3. Sarah had her 1yr well baby visit on the 22nd. Keep in mind, she started out at 2lbs 3oz, 12.5" with a head circumference of 9.5". She's now 17lbs, 26.5" and her head is 18"! That puts us in the 3rd percentile for weight (for her ACTUAL age!) - we're ON THE CHART! She's still short though, so we're not on that chart. But her head? Um, yeah. 75th percentile. It's genetic. She didn't stand a chance. Here she is waiting for Dr. G.

4. While at the pedi, we delivered lunch to the NICU staff and cupcakes to the Labor/Delivery nurses. We also visited with our favorite L/D nurse, Karen:

5. In other medical related news, Sarah's follow up eye exam was in July as well. This exam was MUCH easier than the countless retina exams she had in the NICU. And the results? We don't have to go back until she starts kindergarten!!! Eye problems are quite common for babies on oxygen for as long as Sarah was, so this is a HUGE relief.

6. Sarah's party was on the 24th and we asked that our guests bring a donation for the NICU rather than a gift for Sarah. I wasn't quite sure what to expect...but I certainly NEVER expected this:

We received SO many things that will make the NICU a bit easier for the families who have to be there. A swing, bouncy seats, photo printer paper and ink, scrapbook supplies, crib mobiles, batteries, clothes, blankets, you name it! We delivered it last weekend and our sweet nurses were so thankful - Sarah's friends and family ROCK!

7. Any guesses what her first "official" word was? Really shouldn't surprise anyone :-)

8. With a bit of encouragement from her Occupational Therapist, Sarah is now WALKING behind her little push toys. And when she's determined, that little doll stroller moves pretty fast! She keeps moving until she hits something and has to stop...sometimes it's a wall, sometimes it's furniture, and sometimes, if they're not paying attention, it's a dog!

9. Speaking of dogs, our Veronica had pretty extensive ear surgery this week. Unfortunately, it's been a long time coming and while it would have been much easier financially if I were working...well, things don't always work out that way. But our dogs are family too so we do what needs to be done. The next week or two will be tough, but after that I think she'll be better than she's been in a LONG while.

10. Finally, another big milestone for Sarah is right around the corner...we leave next week for the BEACH! We were on vacation the week before my water broke last year, but haven't been anywhere since. Sarah has her swim diapers, suncreen and pool float packed - she's ready to go!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Eleven Months!!

Sarah now weighs 17lbs and is a tiny tornado - between the crawling, standing and cruising, we can barely keep up! We completely expect her to just walk across the room one day soon.
We've been having a few sleep (or lack thereof) issues over the last few weeks - she's been waking MULTIPLE times each night and her naps during the day have gone to hell. It occured to me yesterday that, given some of her "symptoms", we could be dealing with reflux again. She hasn't had the projectile vomitting or the screaming that we were used to, but there is also "silent reflux" to consider. Better safe than sorry, we've restarted her meds this week to see if it makes a difference. She slept last night from 11pm - 6am, waking only once. At 6am, she took a bottle and slept again until 9:30. And she FINALLY had a day with TWO good naps. Here's hoping we're on to something.
In addition to Sarah being 11mos old today, it's also the one year anniversary of my water breaking. None of us are likely to forget Father's Day 2009 any time soon. Thankfully, Father's Day 2010 was much less dramatic. I've managed to stay busy today so I wouldn't end up a puddle in the floor. I'm focusing on her upcoming birthday - party planning is a good way to keep my spirits up :-)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Ten Months!

Yes, this should have been posted more than a week ago (5/21/09)!

Sarah is up to 16lbs now! Length unknown...she barely lets me dress her these days, much less measure her. But we know her legs are finally growing - they've been pretty short all this time.

She started crawling on May 5th and hasn't slowed down since. Less than two weeks later, she figured out how to go from crawling to sitting up. And the same day she started to pull up on the furniture!

This new mobility has been a big adjustment for EVERYONE, including our dogs. They're used to laying, undisturbed, on the, a tiny head will pop up out of nowhere. And that tiny head is usually yelling with excitement! So far the dogs are adjusting well and most them know to get up and move if they're bothered by her.

We've also ditched the baby tub in favor of the big tub - she wasn't sure about it at first, but now splashes around with all her tub toys.

Still no teeth, but I'm sure they'll come along soon enough. Everything goes straight to her mouth...and I do mean EVERYTHING. Shoes (hers or others), fingers (hers or others!), we've even caught her chewing a couple of dog toys. Oops! Not a big deal...I've said it before, I worry more about germs from other kids than I do about germs from our dogs.

So, we're heading full force toward ONE YEAR OLD. Party preparations have begun, including some special "thank you" treats for our favorite nurses. We have a LOT to celebrate this year!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May - a month of firsts!

May has been a good month for us...and it's only the 12th! So far we've had...

Sarah's first popsicle! Okay, so it's just frozen pears in her little mesh feeder. That still counts.

And yes, I stripped her down to her diaper and put her in her baby pool too eat it. Good call on my part because it was EVERYWHERE by the time she was done!

Popsicles are exciting around here!

We also had our first studio portraits. We were given a gift certificate to a local studio shortly after Sarah was born so we decided to cash it in for Mother's Day gifts. We also got some GREAT photos of Sarah and her cousin, but I don't want to put photos of someone else's kid online without asking first.

Sarah also had her first dip in the pool (with WATER!) without screaming like she was on fire! She really enjoyed herself!

We also had our first trip to Kid's Gym - I went with a small mom's group so Sarah was one of maybe 10 kids there. All the other kids were older and running around but I think Sarah had an okay time. If nothing else it's a chance to get her used to other preparation for daycare. And eventual reality for us.

Yes, that's MY a ball pit. I was a good sport for about three minutes. Then she started putting the balls in her mouth and the germaphobe in me took over. *shudder*

We also ordered Sarah a grocery cart cover that also doubles as a high chair cover. I was VERY hesitant to pay as much as we did for it, but we LOVE it. And it's simplified my life quite a bit. We christened the cover at Johnny Ray's for BBQ so this was Sarah's first restaurant high chair. She's also showing you the chicken she was eating for dinner!

We also stopped by the grocery store and found that it works just as well in a cart :-)

March for Babies update

The March of Dimes' March for Babies was April 24th - the bad news is that the walk portion of the event was ultimately rained out. The not so bad news is that Team Sarah raised more than $900 and the March of Dimes received every last penny of that in spite of the rain!

The star of Team Sarah:

The small part of Team Sarah that made it to the park before the rain started:

I was also lucky enough to have two friends (and their dogs!!) travel down from Tennessee to walk with us! We had Sarah's stroller all decorated for the event (notice the rain guard we purchased on a whim the night before!):

The following picture is the part of the day I was most excited about - those are three of Sarah's NICU nurses! From left to right, that's Jessica (she gave us our NICU tour a week or so before Sarah was born), Sara Beth (one of the NICU's nurse practitioners) and on the far right is Sandra. Since we spent the majority of our time in isolation, we generally had the same nurses from week to week. Sandra was one of our regulars and she took such good care of Sarah. And us! I would have walked all four miles in the pouring rain for the chance to see these wonderful ladies again!

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the March of Dimes, whether via Team Sarah or otherwise!

Monday, April 26, 2010

9 months!

Sarah turned 9mos old (6mos adjusted) on the 21st - today was her 9mo well visit with her pediatrician. Her stats crack me up:

Length - 24.25" (5th percentile for her adjusted age of 6mos)
Weight - 14lbs 14oz (15th percentile for her adjusted age of 6mos)
*she's not even on the length/height growth chart for her actual age of 9mos*
Head - 17" (90th percentile for her adjusted age, 50th percentile for her actual age!)

So, to recap, she's VERY petite...with a big head. But, she's twice the length she was at birth and SEVEN times her birth weight! I'd say those are steps in the right direction!

Developmentally, Sarah is somewhere between her adjusted and actual ages - she's doing all the things on the 6mo list (rolling both ways, grabbing at toys, etc) but she's also mastered a lot of the skills on the 9mo list (sitting unassisted, babbling, moving objects from hand to hand, etc). I think this is the result of a LOT of physical and occupational therapy - the hard work has been well worth it!

Happy 9mo birthday little girl...we've got to get started planning a birthday party!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

We're sitting up! Well, sort of...we'd been working on sitting unassisted with Sarah's occupational therapist but on Easter morning, I guess she decided it was time! She's still a bit wobbly, but that's improving every day - she's now able to sit and reach out with both hands to grab at toys. She's also learning how to balance herself and how to transition to her belly without just falling over face first.

Once Sarah has improved her balance a bit more, her OT has suggested we introduce a sippy cup and graham crackers or saltines. She's been eating fruit and vegetable purees for almost three months now:

So far, she's eating sweet potato, butternut squash, green beans, zucchini, applesauce, pears and bananas. We have lima beans to start this weekend. She also likes to feed requires a LOT of clean up on my part afterward, but it's something she has to learn eventually.

Sarah is up to 14lbs, 8oz and will be 9mos old on the 21st!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Two years ago today...

we found this mess of a dog on the side of the road. His body was mangled, but worse than that, his spirit was broken. If his scars could talk...what a story they would tell.
We named him Ralphie and began the long, hard task of nursing him back to health.

One (medically necessary) tail docking, a severe case of heartworms, and countless training classes later, Ralphie is an AKC Canine Good Citizen and the perfect addition to our already crazy family.
Ralphie is currently training in Rally Obedience and is working toward his Therapy Dog certification. He's also Sarah's best friend.
We love you big Ralph and can't imagine our lives without you!

Monday, April 5, 2010

I know, I know...

Once I get about a week behind, it just gets worse and worse! I think the easiest way to update is to break up the last few weeks into several posts. We'll call this one "The Trip to Children's Hospital"...or we could also call it "How to give a NICU Mom an Anxiety Attack."

Friday, March 12th: Sarah was sounding a bit congested and her nose was snotty - my concern? RSV. The flu. Hell, a common cold would scare me these days. What I wasn't concerned about was the tiny pimple that had popped up just underneath her right nostril.

Saturday, March 13th: Sarah's nose started to run, but overall her congestion had improved. Whew! Dodged that bullet!

Then the pimple got scratched. Over the course of several hours that afternoon Sarah's face went from perfectly fine to this:

Not good. Not at all. Especially when the on-call pediatrician almost immediately says, "Go to Children's ER. ASAP." Brandon drove, I hyperventilated most of the way. After several long hours in the ER, the diagnosis was cellulitis. Awesome. They sent us home with an antibiotic prescription and instructions to see our pediatrician the following day.

Sunday, March 14th: When we were looking for a pediatrician prior to Sarah's discharge from the NICU, one thing we REALLY liked about the one we chose was that they have sick visit office hours on the weekends. We saw the pedi on call and he...well..."expressed" the entire side of Sarah's face. The result was NOT pretty. He also took a culture as a precaution, explaining that cellulitis is most often staph related.

Um, what? Did you say STAPH? Staph as in potentially MRSA? The same MRSA that has been the bane of my existence since last July?! We were told to continue the antibiotics and to return to the ER if we felt the inflammation worsened. We were particularly concerned because the swelling was around her eye.

Later that night, Sarah woke up from her nap and you guessed it, the swelling was worse. I went ahead and packed a bag for myself, assuming she'd be admitted for IV antibiotics. We got to the ER around 7pm and by the time we'd had a consult with a facial surgeon, it was almost 2am before we were assigned a room. The surgeon didn't think that the abcess needed to be drained (thank goodness!) but they did want to start IV antibiotics. Vancomycin. The same thing she had in the NICU. Twice. The same thing I was on at home for weeks last fall. We know Vancomycin well.

Here's Sarah's room - it was nice...for a hospital room:

We spent Monday on IVs and her face was clearing up nicely.

We were set for discharge Tuesday...when our pediatrician called my cell phone. The culture was back. MRSA + and resistant to the antibiotic they were planning to send us home with. I'm pretty sure a small portion of my head exploded when I heard MRSA. The thought is that she was colonized again (or possibly STILL) in her nose...the runny nose + the open pimple = the perfect opportunity for infection.

The antibiotics cleared the abcess up, though at the same time, they did a number on her stomach. I can't tell you how many diapers we must have gone thru during those 10 days. But that's another post for another time. The follow up appointments with the pediatrician and the facial surgeon both went really well and we're all clear. For now.

One good thing to come out of our hospital stay - we finally moved Sarah from the cradle in our room to her crib in her own room. Since she came home she's been sleeping on her Nap Nanny - it keeps the upper body elevated 30* and works wonders for reflux. But lately, we'd been finding her face down in the Nap Nanny, and because of the incline, she couldn't turn herself back over. Since we made the move to the crib, Sarah has been sleeping GREAT! We've even been putting her in her crib for naps and I'm actually getting things done around the house during the day. So the hospital wasn't fun, but we did get something good out of the deal.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I blame Facebook...

for my lack of blog updates. It's easier to just pop on, post a quick photo and be done with it. But, part of the reason I prefer to blog is that I can archive everything (and even have it printed) as a way to avoid scrapbooking. As crafty as I am, I hate, hate, HATE scrapbooking! But I digress...

Let's get started with the Pooh costume that we found last week on super clearance - regular $30, on sale for $7.50! There weren't a lot of sizes available so we picked up a 2T thinking that maybe she could wear it Halloween of 2011. I didn't have the patience to wait a year and half so we crammed into it as soon as we made it home! HI-larious! The down side is that the dogs were eyeing her like a big stuffy toy!

We also FINALLY picked out and ordered a vinyl decal for the wall above Sarah's crib. That's the one thing that we lacked in finishing the room. It was a contest held by our favorite photographer that urged us to finish up. Check out Stephanie Fishers's Nursery Contest and vote for your favorite here: I confess, I've become that parent...posting all over my facebook page, every message board I'm on...but hey, first prize is a GREAT one!

I think we're slowly making our way out of most of our 3mo clothes - the dogs on the onesie below are looking a bit distorted and the pants seem to be squeezing her around the middle! We still have quite a few 3mo sleepers that fit but the Carter's outfits we have...not so much. Problem is, 6mo clothes are WAY too big. Also, notice the shoes...we finally broke down and bought her a little pair of crib shoes (soft soled) in an attempt to keep her socks on - so far, so good! Sarah currently weighs 13lbs, 8oz and is approximately 25" long (TWICE her length at birth!). I say "approximately" because it's nearly impossible to measure a squirmy 7mo old!

We introduced pears last week, and while it's not butternut squash (still her absolute favorite), she really likes them. We tried pears after ditching the green peas we'd started the week prior. We'd had maybe four days of peas when Sarah's eczema (that was completely cleared up) came back with fury. On top of that, all the progress we'd made on her reflux since she came home four months ago...out the window. In the last two weeks I've used almost two bottles of spray & wash and done more laundry than I thought my washer could hold. Sarah's pedi doesn't think the peas are the culprit, but I'm not so sure. Peas are actually listed as a likely allergen on several lists I've seen, I was just caught off guard because I was watching for hives and other typical symptoms.

We've been off the peas for almost two weeks now and her eczema is back under control. Her reflux is better, but still not where it was before this. She'd been doing so well that we were supposed to try weaning her from her meds this month. That's been put on hold for now and her dosage was increased for her recent weight gain. Food allergies I can work with...the thought that we've undone all the progress we've made with her reflux? That might push me right over the edge!

In developmental news, Sarah is now rolling front to back AND back to front! Here's Frankie giving her some pointers:

We have two OT and two PT appointments this month. So far, both therapists are pleased with Sarah's development. I predict she'll be scooting/crawling soon...and then we're all in trouble!

Sarah went to her first flyball practice over the weekend and used the special ear muffs that we ordered as soon as we found out I was pregnant. Flyball is LOUD - most tournaments have 200+ dogs...that's a lot of barking! I was surprised that Sarah tolerated the ear muffs as well as she did - she wore them for almost two hours and even fell asleep toward the end of the morning. Our next tournament will be early this summer and at that point, we'll probaby use wax plugs in her ears in addition to the muffs.

Sarah's final Synagis (RSV) shot will be next week since, according to the CDC, RSV season ends in March/April in Alabama. We'll apply to be considered for the shots again next year, but given the cost, our insurance is not likely to approve the request.

As it warms us, we'll be able to venture out more, though I doubt I'll ever feel comfortable passing Sarah around from person to person. We're working on plans for her birthday and since I have no idea what I want to do, I'm glad we've started early!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Week in review

Last Monday was Sarah's first visit from the Early Intervention physical therapist. Miss Jane was Sarah's PT in the NICU as well so it was nice to see a familiar face. She was very pleased with Sarah's overall progress, in particular her high muscle tone. She's starting to loosen up a lot which is making things like sitting up in her high chair much easier. We have two PT appointments next week and two scheduled for March (along with two OT appointments) and then we'll move to once a month appointments.

Thursday, we saw the pedi for the second half of Sarah's seasonal flu shot and her February Synagis shot (for RSV). She weighed in at a whopping 13lbs!!! Her last Synagis shot will be in March as the RSV season in Alabama (supposedly) ends then. Unfortunately, I think it's like the "seasonal" flu that just sort of keeps going.

Thursday night is my Rally obedience class with Ralphie. Brandon had an appointment so Sarah attended her first training class! There was a new Level I class running at the same time and I was getting more than my fair share of odd looks - wearing a baby in a sling while working a pit bull thru a Rally course! Sarah did quite well and even slept part of the hour.

We're taking it easy this weekend in preparation for a busy week ahead. Monday is the kick off meeting for our March of Dimes March for Babies coming up in April! I hope you all will consider joining Team Sarah Francis and walking with us! If you can't join us, please consider donating to our team. All money raised will go to help other families like ours and other babies like Sarah.

Tuesday is PT for Sarah and that evening, our EI office is offering a "how to" class on lobbying state representatives for increased funding.

Wednesday. Oh, Wednesday will be fun. I have a (routine) mammogram that morning and then I'll be going to SIT at the local Social Security office in hopes of getting Sarah's SSI straightened out. I've been trying to do it over the phone since she was discharged in NOVEMBER and I've gotten nowhere. Honestly, I'm more looking forward to the mammogram than I am to visiting Social Security.

Thursday is PT appointment #2 for the week.

I'll be using Friday to relax!

Have a great week!

Solids - Week 3

Intro to green peas:

I was a little worried about this to be honest. So far we've tried sweet potatoes and butternut squast...both pretty sweet. But she really liked the peas - we're three for three!

Rolling, rolling, rolling....!

Pardon the screaming...she wasn't upset, she was pissed.

And the look of surprise once she made it over...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Yes, it's a tutu. Yes, it's pink. This from someone who had no idea what she would do with a little girl... I went out in Friday's snow to buy the supplies. I blame it on cabin fever ;-)

Speaking of snow, we got about 2" here this past Friday. Certainly NOT what we're used to! We bundled Sarah up and took her out quickly for a few photos. She was totally unimpressed (as were the dogs!). We also used the snow as an excuse to go to dinner - we knew that very few people would be out and about. Sure enough, we walked in to Ruby Tuesday and it was empty!

We had our first visit from Sarah's Occupational Therapist last week - she spent about 45 minutes playing with Sarah and showing me ways to help her loosen her muscles up. Like so many preemies, she has high muscle tone, particularly in her chest/back. It's common in preemies because the portion of the brain that controls the body's muscles had less time to develop. With appropriate therapy, Sarah is likely to outgrow this by 12-18mos. We have her first of three February physical therapy appointments early tomorrow morning.

Sarah ate sweet potatoes over the course of last week with no apparent allergic reaction so this week we've moved on to butternut squash. If she liked the sweet potatoes, oh boy, she LOVES the squash! Though it might also be that she's just getting better with the spoon. Most of the time, she'll open her mouth when she sees it, and the majority of the food stays in her mouth now. Here she is in her new highchair enjoying her dinner...looks pretty excited huh??