Monday, May 16, 2011
Anyone who’s been following this blog is aware that I often use my twin grandchildren, Nate and Olivia, to illustrate my messages about child development. Well, here I go again. This time I’m using them to celebrate the amazing progress that’s been made in helping so many premature babies not only survive but thrive.
You see, Nate and Olivia arrived in this world 2 months before they were supposed to. By today’s premie standards they were robust at 3 pounds, but as we gazed at them in the NICU (which we quickly learned to call the “nik-you”), it was hard to believe they would ever be the happy and healthy toddlers they are today. To the right you’ll see what had us so concerned. This is a photo of Nate taken on Day 1. Having myself given birth (25 years ago) to a 10.5 pounder, I was sorely shaken to see this tiny creature so encumbered with tubes and monitors.
Those of you who have had similar experiences with the NICU know that Day 1 is just the beginning. For Nate it lasted 6 weeks and for Olivia over 2 months, every day filled with concerns about breathing, heart rates, and feeding problems in the short term and lasting effects on development in the long term. During this whole time, Mom (Julie) devotedly pumped breast milk to be lovely fed (once the feeding tubes were removed) by the incredibly kind NICU nurses at night and Mom and/or Dad during the day. The trek to and from the hospital—nearly 50 miles round trip—became so routine that we all could have have been on auto-pilot!
But that was then and this is now: I’m proud to say that we will are celebrating Nate’s and Olivia’s 2nd birthday today, May 16. And “celebrating” is definitely the right term given how much we have to be grateful for! Check out the picture below the “Day 1” photo to see what those premies look like today.
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Linda Acredolo, Ph.D.
Co-Founder of the Baby Signs®
Professor Emeritus, UC Davis