Grant and Hazel celebrate their first St. Patty's Day


Grant and Hazel celebrate their first St. Patty's Day
Grant and Hazel celebrate their first St. Patty’s Day

Time seems to go a little faster these days. Losing an hour with the clock change doesn’t help, as the kids haven’t learned about clocks yet. They have now reached six months adjusted age (10 months chronological) and we are seeing many firsts. We are enjoying Grant being free of oxygen and he also was able to eliminate a medication as part of that.

Our dog Hope has been away for a while to simplify taking care of the kids. She comes to visit from time to time, and so she is still getting used to these miniature people that make a lot of strange noises. Hope would try to communicate with them, making noises of her own. Grant simply looked at her, smiled (he’s been smiling for months now) BUT, he laughed for the first time!!! Since then, Grant still smiles a lot but it is still rare to get him to laugh.

We did manage to get both Hazel and Grant laughing at the same time. It was so much fun – because the two of them were laughing – we laughed along with them! So much fun!

Grant eating cereal for the first time
Grant eating cereal for the first time

We continue working on their eating, and Grant started with rice cereal. He seems to be getting the hang of it, opening his mouth expecting bites and also looks like he is enjoying it. Hazel is doing tastings of rice cereal, but still makes funny faces at the strange tastes in her mouth.

Hazel taste-testing formula thickened with rice cereal
Hazel taste-testing formula thickened with rice cereal

Hazel has always been smaller, and her challenges with the feeding tube have not helped. Due to an internal communication failure of unspecified care providers, the updates from her weigh-ins were never processed into feeding adjustment instructions from the clinic. After rattling a few cages, we finally got the communication issue ironed out and Hazel has been on an improved track. She still has a long way to go, but at least her growth is better monitored.

Grant and Hazel have topped 15 and 12 pounds, respectively.

We continue to work on their tolerance for tummy time and what they can accomplish. Grant can roll from his tummy to his back on his own, and Hazel will roll from her side to her back, or from her tummy with assistance. Being born so prematurely and having faced the challenges of medical attachments (oxygen tubes, feeding tubes) we expected they would be behind, but we hope to see them accelerate in the next over the next six months.

Grant trying on new glasses
Grant trying on new glasses

The kids had their first visit to the pediatric opthamologist. By waving noisy toys around, shining lights in their eyes, and holding prisms and lenses up to their eyes, they were somehow able to determine the current vision of Hazel and Grant. Hazel is far-sighted. As she tries to focus on nearby objects, her right eye tends to turn inward. Prescription glasses should make it easier for her to focus so the eyes can work together at all focal lengths. We will also need to patch her good eye to force her other eye to work and get stronger, but we are told to start with the glasses for a while.

Grant has good vision in his right eye, but is near-sighted in his left eye. The difference in vision is significant enough that, if left untreated, his brain would eventually stop processing the information from his left eye and he would lose vision in that eye. Prescription glasses should also help Grant to retain vision in both eyes. Eventually, as their eyes develop, their vision may improve but the doctor thinks Grant will always need vision correction.

Hazel trying on glasses
Hazel trying on glasses

Finding tiny frames was challenging, let alone finding a place that also accepts our vision plan. Thankfully we were able to find glasses that seem well-made and look good on the kids too. We are excited for when they arrive!

Last year at this time, Julie was confined to bed rest. We missed all of spring and summer, with the exception of the car rides to and from the hospital. As the weather starts to warm, signs of spring emerge, and cold/flu season draws to an end, we are looking forward to getting out as a family and we are eager for Hazel and Grant to start exploring the world beyond our home and doctors offices.

Grant and Hazel in Valentine's Day outfits

Cordless…One Down, One to Go

Hazel and Grant on the floor
Hazel and Grant share the floor

Happy February 31st! Or, as the rest of the world calls it, March 3rd. We try to get an update out once a month at least, but a short month and other circumstances made us miss that goal. Darn.

Hazel and Grant continue to learn about the world around them. We are working harder than ever to give them “tummy time” and try to get them to interact with toys and their environment.

Grant and Hazel in Valentine's Day outfits
Grant and Hazel in Valentine’s Day outfits

We helped them dress up for Valentine’s day, and spent a somewhat quiet evening at home after an active day.

They had their five month NICU follow-up visit (five months after discharge), where we learned areas that we can focus their attention and what to expect in the upcoming months of their development.

Julie kissing Hazel as she rests
Mommy kissing a sleepy Hazel

I got a stomach bug, which seemed to be a contagious variety that many others at work were experiencing. As a precaution, I shipped off for a few days to make sure Julie and the kids would not get sick. Julie soldiered on without me, and did an amazing job. We also got some amazing help from friends and family along the way. Hey, it’s a lot of work!

Grant sitting in a Bumbo
Grant tries out the Bumbo

The best news of the month: Grant took another oximetry test and passed! We just found out today that we can remove the oxygen! We’ll be able to wean him off his diuretic medication over the next couple weeks too. We’ll keep the oxygen in the house through the cold and flu season just in case either one gets sick and needs a little extra air, but we really hope this is the last we’ve seen of oxygen needs. At this point, we have one cordless baby! It might not seem like a big deal to some, but for us it is huge and a great accomplishment for Grant. We are so proud of him for getting off the oxygen two months sooner than originally expected, and it is great to move from room to room without dragging an oxygen tank in a cart behind us.

We are continuing to work on Hazel’s feeding skills with taste-testing and are determined to get her feeding by bottle as soon as she is able. We are so looking forward to the day she no longer needs tube feeding and both kids will be cordless.

Hazel making faces
Babies don’t always smile. Hazel is no exception.