We haven’t posted for a while because summer has afforded us the opportunity to finally get out and about with the kids. The summer flew by and now even Christmas has passed! Although challenging at times, it has been great to get out with the kids and spend time outside going for walks, even for shopping trips and other errands. On trips like this, Hazel and Grant get many looks and people have admired their “sunglasses” (they have transitional lenses). On occasion we met others who had multiples, preemies and even tube-fed babies. We would share stories and were amazed at the coincidences.
In June we took the kids to the local classic car show. Grant was startled when a nearby car with big pipes fired up, and Hazel was unphased. June also ushered in the arrival of their first teeth. Within hours of each other, both sprouted two teeth in the bottom. Thankfully, it ended a rough couple weeks of teething – for the time-being. Then there was Father’s Day, which was our second Father’s Day, and we went out to dinner and had a nice meal on the patio. Hazel & Grant did so well. This was the first Father’s Day out of the hospital so it was much more enjoyable for us all.
The kids celebrated the 4th of July in low-key fashion. It also happens to be Grandma’s birthday so we had a small family party with her as well. We also had a small display of sparklers and fountains in our driveway to celebrate, but avoided the crowds, mosquitos and noise of the big fireworks.
Grandpa retired in July, so we had their first unofficial visit to the dentist.
In July we took the Hazel and Grant to one of Julie’s childhood spots, a place her grandparents took her often. Julie has said her Grandpa George always used to say, “There’s always room for ice cream!” Selma’s has great ice cream and it’s a nostalgic place in Afton and our hope is to return there each summer a share stories with them about their great-grandparents while enjoying some delicious ice cream!
In August, we went to the county fair. We saw animals (both exotic and domestic) and Hazel and Grant even got to pet a bunny! They both sat in the big ladder truck from the fire department, had some Dole Whip and even tried a corn dog (well, not really).
In September, outdoor activities included chilling out on the front lawn. On one of the days it got a little warm after a while but we had fun. We also went to the community day at the bank and the kids enjoyed strolling around with Grandma, the petting zoo and ice-cream the most. We also made a trip to our favorite apple orchard and they enjoyed tastes of fresh apples.
September 4 – their 1 year adjusted birthday. We had a mini-celebration with immediate family, Mexican Fiesta style, and even had cupcakes again. This time both kids got into the cupcakes, with Hazel being just short of requiring a power wash to clean up.
Hazel and Grant got to go to a tractor parade (yes, apparently they exist) in the City of Grant. Grant wanted to be grand marshal, but we settled for watching from the sidelines and cheered on Grandpa in his tractor. We are hoping they will be a part of the parade…maybe next year?
In October we participated in a memorial service for infant loss, where we read Marissa’s name aloud and lit a candle for Marissa and released a beautiful white dove in her memory. Hazel and Grant each got a cute teddy bear. It was very sad with so many other parents there, and many who read the name of more than one child who they lost. We are so blessed to have or Hazel and Grant and for the very short time we had Marissa. We think of Marissa daily and when Hazel and Grant accomplish something big or small we often wonder what Marissa would be doing if she were here with us.
Well, in October, just over a year since Grant & Hazel came home from the NICU, the oxygen finally left our house! The kids have been doing well enough that the doctor put in the order for removal. Part of me was apprehensive about not having that oxygen on which we had relied for so long. At first we were told to keep it in the house in case the kids ever got sick, so letting go felt a little like taking seatbelts out of a car. Hard to believe we were hauling around O2 tanks last year at this time!
The big event was Grant’s eye surgery to correct his esotropia (eye turning in). The muscles in each eye were cut and restitched to align them both in the same general direction. It will still be up to Grant to use them both together, but we are hoping this will help him along. We were most worried about the general anesthesia. Grant was a real trooper and such a good boy and was in a happy mood that morning especially since he couldn’t have anything to eat until after surgery. Everything went well in surgery, and only two muscles needed to be stitched rather than 4. Recovery has gone very well too, with Grant seeming to have minimum discomfort, although it has been challenging to keep him from rubbing his eyes! Having stitches in the eyes really itch. It takes a total of 10 weeks for them to dissolve. It will still take time to see if the surgery ultimately accomplishes the goal and Grant makes the most out of using both eyes together.
Hazel and Grant have become very proficient at sitting. Grant tends to roll and kind of scoot around on his belly and plow his way around on the floor in addition to crawling, and Hazel is crawling but does not seem as adventurous in her travels. They are both very interested in standing with help for balance, and they are practicing taking steps with someone supporting them. When Grant first started taking steps with assistance he was giggling and giggling and giggling – sometimes so hard he’d lose his balance and fall on his bottom and giggle some more. Julie said she laughed along with him so much her tummy hurt!
The kids continue to grow, although for a period Hazel plateaued. We’ve increased her feeding rate and calories significantly to help her overcome this. We’ve also been able to do some small feedings into her tummy (G-tube) vs. intestine (J-Tube) which she has tolerated well and we hope she continues to do so.
Now that cold and flu season has returned, we also go back into “lockdown mode” to avoid the highly dangerous respiratory illnesses. Because Hazel and Grant were born so early they missed receiving those great antibodies from Julie that all full term babies receive that last trimester. They also did not get the full lung development for a strong respiratory system and have Chronic Lung Disease (BPD), so we still need to be extremely cautious this cold & flu season.