Friday, July 12, 2013

Little guys, big plans, and a year ago today (on bed rest)

A year ago today I was on bed rest at home.  The hippo at the foot of my bed read 22 weeks, 5 days in preschooler scribbles. It had taken some convincing to get Ella to write the numbers the correct way.  It almost said 2 days again. But we'd been working on it, and after a little convincing, the 5 got put down facing the right direction.

I was entertaining myself with processing forms for work.  My boss brought by the papers in a big manila envelope. I told him I could commit to ten hours a week. Just enough to keep me sane and keep things flowing at work, not so much that I'd feel pressured to work if it seemed like laying flat would be the best thing to do.  We'd gotten a work laptop so that I could access the necessary files.  I had that on the desk that came with our medical bed.  I could kick the desk to the foot of my bed when I was done working, and press a button to recline the bed, and stretch out to sleep or watch Drop Dead Diva on the new TV.

My mother-in-law would ask if I needed anything every few hours. She made sure I was well hydrated.  Sometimes she'd just sit in the chair in my room and chat. It was so nice to have her there. She greeted and talked to well-wishers when they came by with food. She watched my children so that Steve could keep doing his job and I wouldn't feel pressured to get out of bed.  Others volunteered to take my children on play dates so that my mother-in-law could get a break from it all.  While things were harried on the outside of the house, in my little day room, they were perfectly pleasant most of the time. Mom wouldn't be with us for long, I knew, but for every day that she could stay -- it was a huge blessing.

Today, July 12, 2013

Little guys can do big things too.

That song, written for the Veggie Tales version of David and Goliath, was on the list of "songs that make me think of and pray for Jonathan," listed on a blog by a close friend a bit under a year ago.

I am celebrating tonight because Jonathan fed himself three alphabet cookies.  Alphabet cookies each have 10 calories. Even though a lot of the food ended up smeared to his chest or stored between fingers for later, surely he got at least the equivalent of two alphabet cookies in him. That's 20 calories. That's like an extra ounce of milk worth of calories!

These days I try to not fret. But I do.  Preemie parents seem to be more prone to worry.  Maybe it's because we have heard over and over that the chances of some sort of disorder are higher for our kids.  The earlier the preemie, the higher the likelihood of a complicating factor. We want to do right by them, but we don't always know what "right" is.

I'm fretting about his caloric intake. I know I should be grateful for his sustained life, and I am. But ... it seems he decided that one can either wiggled and move, or grow; and he is way more interested in moving than in growing.  Ever since he learned to butt-scoot across the floor and fling himself from side to side, he's been unstoppable.

And unstoppable means extra calories burned. We try to make up for it by giving him more calories, but more food in his belly plus more movement seems to mean more tummy upset.  Filling him to the brim makes it worse, so we've spent much of the last few weeks trying to figure out the right balance.

The girls are in a heated discussion on the couch about who will blow out Jonathan's candle in five days.  They're pretty sure he won't be able to do it, and they want to claim dibs. Just five days until his birthday.

Ella demonstrates pinch-able cheeks, like Grandmas like.
We met a two month old this week whose hands and feet are Jonathan's size. Jonathan is still wearing newborn shoes and three month old clothing.  But he's a year old, or eight months "adjusted age." Great Aunts and Grandmas everywhere warn us that "they grow up so fast" and "cherish them while they're still small."  But I'm ready to be done cherishing my small baby. 

He's twice his birth height and over ten times his birth weight.  For a normal baby, that'd mean that he'd be around 80 or 90 pounds and over three and a quarter feet tall on their first birthday.  So I should be proud of his progress, right?

I was. I didn't mind when he was small but tracking with the growth curve. But he's been in the 13 lb range for the last two and a half months. A baby his age usually grows about five ounce a week, so he should be at least sixteen pounds by now, but instead of putting on five ounces a week, he puts on five ounces a month.

A friend of mine wrote this fabulous blog post called "Incompetent What?" about the nasty terms that the medical profession has given out.  Jonathan's ailment is called "failure to thrive."  It's common enough that it has a short hand "FTT."  That means that there are lots of other parents out there like me -- not just parents of preemies -- who have seen this label attached to their child.  Makes a person feel just a bit helpless.  It causes us to stuff our baby silly, even when (like last week) he has a tummy bug and would really prefer we let him be.  I think the term "small" would be nicer.

He's thriving in other ways.  He looks out the window, concentrates, and then bursts into a huge grin. He laughs at the humorous things of life. He has learned to say "bahba" -- it means "don't feed me any more of that milk."  He learned the "b" sound because he could make it without opening his mouth to the bottle.  He's small, but he's a smart cookie.

Besides, lots of people were small.  Napoleon was short. (Okay, a quick web search reveals that historians now think he was 5'7" -- just for the record, in my family, that's short.)

Oh, and while we're at it, lots of people were preemies, too.  And they went on to do great things.  Einstein was a preemie.

So maybe Jonathan will be a blend of Einstein and Napoleon.

A ruthless conquer who also happens to be a genius in physics.

I know these smiles all look the same,
but this is my evil mad scientist laugh. Really.
Because that's what the world needs, right? A mad scientist who succeeds at world domination!
Okay, or maybe he'll just be small.  I'd take that.  Small is good.

(Unless he's a benevolent dictator who gets me a nice mansion.
Future dictators of the world: remember your mother when you've finished conquering.)

P.S. In case you wondered, yes. I was obsessing over this just a week ago, too. I should read my own blog sometimes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear from readers. Please post your comment below or contact me at