Sunday, May 30, 2010

Accomplishment of a Preemie: Look at me grow!

Well, after all that bottle drinking it is only natural that there has been some huge jumps in body size too. Kate still isn't the big girl on the block but she is holding her own and doing quite well. As with everything with these 'super' mini babies their growth in a year is very impressive.

For a normal healthy pregnancy the majority of the babies growth and weight gain is in the final trimester. Kate and I decided that was trimester we didn't need. So because of that she had to do all her growing on the outside. Challenging is putting it mildly, since she couldn't even take in feeds for the first month. Furthermore, having to survive on the outside world is a lot more taxing than on the inside.

Kate was 850 grams at birth, or 1 lb 14 oz. That is smaller than most young puppies or kittens. We couldn't not touch her without gloves until she hit 1000 grams, 2+ lbs. We waited and waited, and that happened on 6/25. I still have the post-it note from the night nurse, and it hangs in my office as a reminder of how far we've come.

To visualize how small she was and how big she is now is really hard even for me. I can remember when I first held her sometime in July, she was just a tiny little lump that would fit right on my chest. Today, I struggle to keep all of her in my lap in the rocker. And as some of you might remember, Ed's wedding ring went up her arm and up her leg at birth. Now it probably could go around a few of her fingers, but no where near her chubby little arms.

I found some pictures to help put it all into perspective. The first one is of her diapers she wore in the NICU and the diapers that she has on now. The little super preemie diaper (smaller than preemie) was too big on her in the beginning and we had to fold them up in 1/2. The preemie diapers that you might find if you look hard at the store are at least three sizes up from this hospital diaper. The diaper she is in now is a size 3.

The second picture is a onesie comparison. Most preemie clothes are for babies in the 4 to 5 lb range, that was August of last year. So in the beginning we just couldn't really put her in anything. Ed bought her a cute little pink jacket type top for 3 lbs, we have pictures of her in it with the sleeves rolled up and she is just swimming in it. That too is framed with the nurses post it note. The polka dot onesie on the left was one the first ones I bought her. I remember that I really was starting to feel like we had a 'real' baby when I started to put her in preemie clothes. She is wearing anything between a 9 month and a 12 month now, depending on the brand. Some of her pants and things are still 6 month size but you can tell from the picture that it has been one big size jump.

Last are her pj's. We brought her home in a similar pj to the one on the left. If you look closely in both the onesie and the pj her name is written in permanent marker, another small sign of life in the hospital. It was always interesting in the hospital you had to stick about seven cords out of her pj's (ECG, temperature probe, pulse ox). Besides being in such big cute pj's now, I am always just thrilled that there are no cords or extra equipment needed when we put her to bed.

Kate is now 8500 grams (18+ lbs), ironically when I did the calculations she has decided to grow almost exactly 10 times what she was at birth. That is so much growth it makes me tired thinking about it. I swear she'd be bigger now if she would just slow down a bit. Again, I just couldn't be more proud of our little girl.

(Footnote: This preemie mom is tired from having a little girl who gets up so early every day, and the computer is frustrating me so the pictures are obviously in reverse order and I did not proof read this one so bear with typo's and grammar.)


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