Sunday, September 6, 2009

More Preemie Stuff

It's been a while since we've had a post discussing development issues with M&M, and mostly that's because we've been very fortunate so far that M&M have avoided many of the most serious consequences of being born 15 weeks early. (For a recap of those potential complications, visit here and here. And for reference, M&M were both under 1000 grams - Milo was 950 grams (2 lbs.) and Madeline was 900 grams (1 lb 14 ozs.).) It's probably worth talking some more about where things stand.

The babies are just about twelve months corrected age (15 months calendar), and in terms of most their gross motor skills they are doing okay. They have many of the gross motor skills expected of babies their corrected age, though there are some gaps. Both the babies are crawling very quickly now, they can pull themselves up easily into the standing position, they feed themselves very well using their hands, and they can drink from a sippy cup or straw -- but it ain't always pretty. Both babies are getting physical therapy each week now. Maddy, in particular, is having some persistent trouble and has been working with physical therapist over the last couple weeks. Her problems mostly relate to her very jagged movements and limited range of motion. This is probably due to her reflux. She has shown good improvement this week, but she still tends to crawl with her head down a lot and bumps into things. Similarly, her lack of flexibility makes balancing a challenge and she falls over often. (A helmet was proposed, but it doesn't look like it will be necessary -- thankfully.) One of the other little habits she's developed is that she almost always kneels rather than sits. Doesn't sound too bad, but her kneeling style places a lot of extra pressure on her knees. The good news is that the PT really seems to be helping.

M&M standing at their play table. You can barely tell we have children living in the house.

Milo enjoys some milk from his cup.

The bigger and more concerning delays involve language. We definitely don't expect the kids to be chatting in complete sentences by this age, but this is the area where they are most behind. They can definitely say Ma-ma and Da-da (usually "Ma-ma-ma" and Da-da-da"), but that's about it. A few posts back, I gave them credit for a few additional words, but that was probably wishful thinking. Based on the typical milestones, M&M's language is somewhere short of 8 months. They both know their names, though they don't always respond when we call to them (maybe they've already advanced to their teens?). Milo very clearly shakes his head "no" when he doesn't want something, and both babies seem to have the gist of the word "no" when we say it. They also seem to know the names of a few familiar objects (e.g., ball, kitty, and a couple others), and we're definitely working much harder on this. They both babble a lot of different vowels and consonants. In fact right now, I'm watching Milo try to have a conversation with one of the cats.

Maddy with ball - 22 August 2009

In terms of their social and emotional development, the babies are basically on track, if a little behind, and seem to be between 9 and 12 months in terms of their behavior. They are both affectionate and are very excited to see familiar faces. They do show fear of strangers, but they tend to get over it and want to make friends quickly. They definitely show anywhere from some to a lot of anxiety when Elaine and I go to leave, which is normal. They try to cooperate and help with simple tasks like getting dressed. Though, changing Milo's diaper has become similar to wrestling with a greased pig.

The kids have adjusted well to daycare in general. They just finished their third week, and appear to like interacting with the other kids and teachers. The daycare is located on Coast Guard Island only a few blocks from my office, so I'm able to sneak down for a visit most days.

M&M hang out with Lang and Cameron

Other strange preemie things: Some of you may be wondering why both babies seem to be stuck with only their first two bottom teeth. Turns out very premature babies typically get their teeth late - often much later than other babies of similar corrected age. But the good news is that the teething still started right on time. :) Maddy looks like she may have a couple more on the way.

As is so often said of preemie development, it is truly a roller coaster ride. Often, it seems like the things that are a problem one day suddenly resolve overnight. So who knows? Maybe they'll take another big leap forward in the next couple weeks. They're due!


Linda said...

Thanks for the updates on your precious children. I especially appreciate hearing about their corrected age and often we don't hear the 'rest of the story' after the babies leave the hospital.
Each time I enter room 15 I think of you all and smile. You definitely are one of the all time favorite families at 'The Bates'!

Sarah V said...

Thanks for the update! Although I am sure it must be really rough when Milo and Maddy seem even a little behind, I have a lot of faith in all the incredible support that you are giving them and are being given that they are going to flourish in their own time. I hope that giant leap for which they are due comes quickly, for your sakes!

Lots of love,