Saturday, May 23, 2009

At Last

With a little help on his elbow......He is holding his bottle!

Friday, May 22, 2009

I think Randy's in trouble with his physical therapist...

As you may know, Randy is not crawling yet. He sits, rolls over, and pivots on his belly. Well he's getting older and has gained an interest in getting things (toys, my cell phone, my laptop, whatever...) that are out of his reach. About a week ago he began rolling to his belly, pivot, reach. If he could not reach it he would roll on his back, regroup, roll on his belly, pivot and reach again. Well....I guess this approach was too slow for him. Now he turns on his back and pushes back off his feet. He will also pivot on his back if necessary.

Sometimes he just pivots on his bottom. He'll grab what he wants and pivot back to his starting point.

Now I'm sure he will get praises for problem solving, but she would much prefer that he move on his tummy instead of his back. The OT and PT explained to me about the importance of Randy strenghtening his trunk. I'll try to explain it to you.
Preemies often have stronger extension muscles (the back of the body) as oppossed to flexor muscles (the front of the body). Flexion is important to so many everyday activities. It strengthens the core muscle which of course makes for a stronger trunk. How many of you used to have strong flat abs in your youth? Me, me, me!!!! Well you should notice that as you have gotten older and/or gotten a little belly, it is harder to do things like get up from a chair. Or get out of a car. This is becasue your core is weaker, thus making movements more difficult.

So when Randy pushes on his back or bum, he is using those extension muscles and not those flexor muscles.

Maybe he will earn some brownie points for sleeping on his knees (almost in the crawling pose).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Vision Therapy

Randy has vision therapy once a month. The vision specialist was very pleased with his vision progress since last month. He is tracking better and is more visually attentive to toys. She gave him lots of different textures to touch. He was receptive to touching all of them. She also gave him several toys that he needed to push to activate. Randy normally whacks all his toys. He also whacks at the floor, the table, your face, etc... He whacks anything and anyone he can. Well the vision specialist says that he should be beyond this stage, and at this point it is behavioral. According to her, this seems to be a common among children with vision impairment. I need to stop him if he does this.

So, I have to practice rolling; practice bearing weight on his hands (especially the right); practice side sitting; practice bearing weight on his knees; practice putting objects in container; practice holding two objects (one in each hand); practice waving bye bye; read books daily; patch his eye daily; use the NUK brush on his mouth; make sure he closes his mouth around his spoon; introduce new textures; and love on him everyday. WHEW!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How you doing?

Randy seems to be growing up so quickly all of a sudden. He's getting really long. He's moving about more and more. He loves to roll back and forth, and then laugh as if he's done some amazing feat that you can't do. He has decided that he wants to sleep on his stomach since he has his new found mobility.

Randy has also decided that big boys don't drink bottles. It is a daily battle to get him to take his bottle. Most people say, "Well take him off of it". But right now I can't. He's still on formula, and the doctors would like for him to get 20-24 ounces per day. He does not do well with the sippy cup and can't drink from a straw. I can get a few sips into him by using an open cup, but it doesn't add up to much. The nurse from the feeding team thought maybe it was a taste issue and suggested putting vanilla or chocolate syrup in his milk for taste. He liked the new taste, but did not drink anymore. His appetite for food is still there; he just does not want the bottle.
Feeding therapy is going great otherwise. He is doing great at picking up the puffs. He struggles at times to see them on his tray. He is working on his pincer grasp and is getting them to his mouth about 50% of the time.
PT is going great also. We are spending a lot of time strengthening his trunk muscles. Although he sits up, he is still weak in his trunk. He seems to have better stamina, and does not tire as easily. I was very surprised to find out that his trunk is in control of so many actions.
OT kind of meshes with the feeding and PT. We are working on grasping and putting weight on his arms. Building up his arms and his trunk will allow him to move to the crawling stage. We also help him with his right actions. This will improve his balance.

Randy visited the developmental follow up clinic. This clinic is to follow up the NICU babies and monitor their development. I'm not sure how helpful it is to Randy. They test him on the same things that his OT and PT test him on, and ask me a whole bunch of questions. Then they ask me is he in therapy and Early Intervention. They say great and send us on our way. The only thing that keeps me going back is that I know all of this is data. And this data may help a micropreemie five years from now. I did ask her about cerebral palsy. Her response was that they do not make that determination until about 18 months of age unless it was VERY severe and obvious. She was pleased with the way his body moved, but could not give me a definitive answer. I take him back in 9 months. His data was:

Weight - 18 lbs 5 oz
Length - 29 1/4 inch
Head Circumference - 43 cm

Language - 8 months
Visual Motor - 7.2 months

Sunday, May 10, 2009

First Haircut



Randy has had had his scalp cut 10+ times in his short life. So you can imagine that he is ULTRA sensitive where his head is concerned. He hated for anyone to touch his hair, much less comb it. So it was time for a hair cut.

Dad had the honor of taking him to the barber shot. Randy screamed and squirmed and basically terrorized the place until it was over. I am happy that I was not there! The only down side is that he looks less like a baby and more like a big boy (sniff).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why Blog?

One of my students asked me this question today? I told her that I could not speak for all people, but could only answer for myself.

First I blog because it is therapeutic. I have honored a lot of feelings by blogging: fear, anxiety, worry, and joy. It feels good to write about his development and look back a few weeks later.

I also blog to keep family and friends posted. Most of them are here in the city, but they still may not know the day to day progress. It becomes difficult to relay the same doctor appointment seven, eight, or ten times.

Lastly I blog because I want to help that other mom and dad who has just had this little frail baby that is clinging to life. I want those parents who just heard the words "Brain Bleed". I want all of these parents to know what my son's life is like one year later. I want to give them reality: therapies, doctors appointments, surgeries, working with their child daily. I also want to give them hope: the smiles, sitting up, rolling for the first time, swinging at the playground. If my blog helps ONE parent/family, then it is worth the time and effort.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Therapy going great!!

All Randy's therapies have been scheduled. He will have PT on Mondays at 8a; OT on Tuesdays at 7:15a, and feeding on Wednesdays at 7:30a. My mother has so lovingly agreed to take him to PT on Monday and work late that day. I love you mom!!

Today was his second feeding appointment. She is very encouraged that he will progress to be a decent eater. She says that his tone is low and he is a little weak. That contributes to him fatiguing easily. He has some sensory issues and defensiveness, but she feels we can work through them. Plus, he LIKES to eat. I'm sure you can tell from the picture below.

Your eyes are not deceiving you; that is a chicken bone. He did not eat the chicken off the bone, but he did enjoy chomping his gums on it. And don't worry, I was sitting right in front of him.

The therapist is having us to make sure that he closes his mouth around his spoon when eating. If he does not, then we should place the spoon on his tongue. This will make him close his mouth. I am also to take his NUK brush and put it in the back of his mouth where his molars will be. He loves to chomp on it. Of course he does better on his right side instead of his left. She says this is a good exercise. He is to do this twice a day. Next week she is going to work on something with an open cup. Can't wait!!