I've been watching Zach, waiting and waiting for that first real social smile, that first baby attempt at talking (coos and other vocalizations) and have been sorely disappointed time and again. In fact I was starting to worry a bit, watching the calendar and realizing he is into his second month of life. They should be occurring anytime. Running into our family doc at work in the wee hours of the morning yesterday did a world of good for me. She reminded me of something.
Zach will be 6 weeks into life here in a couple of days. But truthfully, he is only a week or so old right now. With that being said, he has been making plenty of changes. I was looking at him yesterday, as he was sleeping in his bouncy seat while I cooked dinner. And I noticed these little changes. The soles of his feet, once smooth as glass, have started to develop little creases. The cartilage at the tops of his ears is more formed and less floppy. The lanugo that once covered his entire body is now limited to his upper shoulder area. His skin has has started to lose the looseness as he develops fat stores. He chokes less and less often when feeding as he has learned the suck-swallow-breathe routine. He is more alert for larger periods of time. This is great as his face has lost its puffiness. He opens those huge blue eyes and just looks around, seeming to absorb everything. And his breathing has become much less erratic. This last one was a biggie for me as an RT. In the early days, he was having apnea spells (more so in certain positions). When he would lay flat, it often was bad enough that I would notice a dusky appearance and have to lift him up or nudge him to remind him to breathe. We never got it treated. I knew they would just order an apnea monitor, which can be a great tool, but often just causes more alarm and panic than necessary with false alarms. Or they would keep him in the hospital to monitor him. Why? So they can watch him? He has his own personal respiratory therapist! Even the babies in our NICU don't have this, as they often just call us for problems, and even then we can't possibly be with only one baby all day, everyday. But anyhow, all of these were signs of prematurity that we even use to estimate gestationl age in preemies in a hospital setting.
So Baby Zach has been doing plenty of changing. It's a lot of work for a little guy like him, so I have to be more patient. I have to avoid falling into the trap of being fooled by the fact that he was average full-term size at birth and remind myself that he was still a preemie. Now that his due date has come and gone, I can look forward to the fun changes one expects.