Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A half year at home

With all the excitement of the past few days, I almost forgot to post Bryce's quarterly update! Depending on who you ask (he came home on September 11th, so I think his "adjusted" birth date is 9/11; Christie prefers to use his more auspicious original due date of 9/15), Bryce hit the half year mark either last Thursday or last Monday. As promised, I'll post a quick overview of his progress to date.

Before I dive into that, I imagine that our devoted readers are wondering how he's doing with his bronchiolitis. Bryce was back in the pediatrician's office for a check-up on Monday afternoon, and the news was encouraging. His lungs sound less congested, his breathing has slowed and his O2 sats are up to 93-94. He still has bad spells, especially if we wait too long between nebulizer treatments, and the doc says we could need the neb for up to six weeks, but we don't expect to be rushing over to the ER.

On to the report!

Feeding/Growth: Bryce is still the micro-preemie growth champ! To be honest, I can't tell you exactly how big he is, because we've quit with the nightly weigh-ins, but it's somewhere in the range of 16.5-17 lbs. The infant growth calculator says that for his adjusted age, he's rapidly closing in on the 50th percentile. Not too shabby for a kid who started off the charts. We recently weaned him off the high-calorie Elecare formula, so he's been getting all his nutrition from Mama's milk, rice cereal, and homemade veggie puree (avocado, sweet potato, carrots, and squash). He's a bit choosy with regard to food texture (won't eat that Gerber stuff), but he's generally enthusiastic about eating solids.

Development: Bryce is right on track for his adjusted age. He picks up toys that interest him, gets mad when he loses them, and will play happily in his exersaucer for up to an hour. He can sit unassisted for a couple minutes, or tens of minutes with a Boppy behind him. He makes several sounds, and uses some consistently to express different emotions (e.g., the "I'm super excited!!" squeak and the "I'm frustrated" whine). As far as personality goes, Bryce is a very mild-mannered baby. He has a big smile for just about everyone, and especially enjoys peek-a-boo with Daddy, dancing with Mommy and just about anything with Logan. At this point, we've observed nothing that would indicate any sort of developmental delay.

Ears: Yep, he's got 'em. And they work, too. In all seriousness, we think Bryce's hearing is just fine. You can holler "Hello, Bryce!" from the other end of the house and his face will light up with a smile. We were concerned that his cleft palate was affecting his hearing, but the cleft (which was almost certainly caused by the ventilator tube) is healing over all on its own.

Eyes: Bryce can see very well as long as the object is near and the light is good, but it's becoming increasingly clear that he didn't make it through retinopathy and laser surgery completely unscathed. He'll react to changes in our expressions when he's four or five feet distant, but doesn't seem to be able to make out our faces from six feet away. If the light is low, we're not sure he can see at all. One evening, we lost power in the house and had only a small portable lantern to see by. Bryce acted terrified and cried inconsolably even when our faces were inches apart and the lantern was right alongside. I'm not sure how well a baby is supposed to be able to see at this age, but the opthamologist said that his vision is bad enough that he'll need baby glasses, which are currently set to arrive in late-April.

Lungs: Even when he's well, Bryce works much harder than a typical baby to breathe, and he wheezes audibly whenever he's active. We've been told that Bryce has Chronic Lung Disease (CLD); however, his blood oxygen saturation has always been very good when he's healthy (99-100%, vs. 93-95% for typical CLD babies)and we recently learned that his wheezing is due to a damaged windpipe (tracheomalacia), rather than damaged lungs. We're cautiously optimistic that there isn't too much scar tissue in his lungs, but we (unfortunately) now know for sure that even a mild respiratory infection can make life difficult for Bryce.

All said, it's hard to believe that he's doing this well. We certainly didn't expect such a positive outcome, but we're very grateful that he's an ex-micro-preemie star! Print this post

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