We went to the Pediatric Rehab today to have a NICU follow-up. I was very nervous; I suppose I was just afraid they were going to tell me that something was wrong with you. I know you're perfect. You've been the Strongest Baby Ever since day 1. My pride in you and your abilities truly knows no bounds, and I'm sure that would not have changed had the doctors said something was wrong, but nevertheless, I worried. That's what I do. The doctor and the therapists all said that you're right on track for your age. You're not the average six month old, but since you should have been born in June, you are absolutely doing great for the average 3 1/2 month old. You're at the 50% percentile for head size, and your weight is on the 5% for 6 months and 50% for 3 months. You're still a little short, but that's ok. You're a member of our family, so you fit right in.
Geekery and drool.
The cooing and talking and squealing continues, and every time you and I have a conversation, it's a joy. You are so much fun right now! You respond to people more than anything - you don't care much about toys, or music, but you really like people's faces. You light up and smile whenever anyone talks to you, and when we go out to the store, you're not happy unless you can see my face, so I put you in your stroller backward so you can see me. You sure know how to make your mommy feel loved!
Your current "words" are: Aroooo, Wooo, Gooo, and AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Oh, and WAH, which is an old word for you. Daddy likes to say that Aroooo is your best friend. Maybe that's what we'll call the toy tiger I bought you on your first trip to the zoo on Saturday.
The last couple of weeks have been really difficult. An acquaintance lost her son two weeks ago to SIDS. He wasn't much younger than you are, and, worse, he spent less time in the NICU. It reminds me just how fragile you are, and it made me very, very afraid. Her words just tore me apart. I hope I'll never be able to truly imagine her pain, but what I can imagine is absolutely terrifying. I'd be sleeping with you in my bed if I weren't afraid that would risk your life more than keeping you in your own bed.
This month I've been trying to knit you a Sock Monkey costume, but I don't think my skills aren't quite at that level, so I bought you a banana costume instead for Halloween. I can't wait to see the pictures of you in it!
Everyone is always commenting on your beautiful big eyes, which are obviously turning hazel now, like mine. Every one of your expressions are so beautiful, but when you open your eyes wide and smile, no one can resist you. I meet babies your age, and I often think, "Gosh! They have such small eyes!"
Your daddy says he still doesn't like babies, but he obviously adores you. Watching you two play together is like a dream come true.
The bath is new fun for you now. You're learning to enjoy splashing, and when you get your feet really kicking, everyone gets wet. I don't think our home has ever had so much laughter in it.
You do cry, but usually only when you're tired or hungry. Yesterday you cried for 30 minutes on our drive home from visiting a friend, but as soon as I picked you up out of your car seat, you were smiling and happy again. It was dark, and I think you might have just been lonesome.
This month you are in size 2 diapers, which in the way of milestones is no big deal, but it's exciting for me. I had to return yet another box of size 1s. Target actually will not let me return anything else! I'm banned!
Our NICU bills are still pretty formidable. We've actually resorted to having money taken out of your father's check every month, and one of the bills has gone to collections. I hate admitting that, but it's true. Even with insurance, which actually covered enormous amounts of the bills (which totaled, just for you alone, $250,000), the remaining costs still fall to us, in addition to lots of testing and bills for me. I can't imagine how bitter I'd be if we were dealing with all these and we didn't have you with us. I can't imagine being someone who struggled and struggled and still lost their baby, or family member. I'm really looking forward to joining the March of Dimes this coming year in hopes of helping others. Someday there might be a cure for HELLP Syndrome, and Pre-eclampsia, so this won't happen to other families, I hope.