When Elsie was born, we had dozens of phone calls, texts, visits, and messages from parents of preemies, or friends/relatives of preemies. Everyone wanted to share their story and give us hope. We loved hearing each and every story. It gave us comfort and hope in a very scary time. Until Elsie's birth, I wasn't aware of how many people I knew that had premature children. Turns out that there are quite a few, and probably a bunch more that I'm not aware of.
Not all preemie stories have happy endings, however. To all of the families with stillborn angels, late-term miscarriages, preemies with severe health problems, or babies who died after birth, my heart aches for you. I don't want to say anything else, it's all too cliche and trite. But know that we love you and grieve with you.
For whatever reason, our special preemie is doing well. Her biggest setback currently (at least I feel it's her biggest setback) is her dysphagia, or her eating disorder. Being dependent on a feeding tube is not fun. I've been having lots of thoughts about it lately and wish that I had been more informed before Elsie's gtube was placed. But it's something that can and someday will improve, so I can't complain too much. She's making small bits of progress here and there, I just need to be more patient. A good thing is that she really enjoys picking up her own food and putting it in her mouth, and she's getting old enough to be doing that better and better. She doesn't eat it, she just chews and sucks on things like pretzels and licorice, but it's still a big step towards eating. Our most exciting moment lately was dipping a pretzel in ranch dressing, and she seemed to enjoy it quite a bit, and swallowed it. Most of the time when she has any food in her mouth, be it purees, milk, or pretzel crumbs, she spits it out. So swallowing a tiny bit of ranch dressing was pretty exciting.
|It's blurry but I was in a hurry to capture the ranch dressing moment.|
And more exciting news: Elsie finally got strong enough and had the desire to roll over from her back to her tummy. She's been able to roll from side to side for quite some time now, but never all the way onto her stomach. I figured she would do it when she was ready. And last Tuesday, she did! We were so proud and so excited. The first day, she did it once; the next day, three times; and every day after that, she can do it almost effortlessly. I know to most parents, rolling over is not a huge deal. I mean, Evje rolled over pretty early, and I took it for granted. But I'm pretty dang excited about Elsie being able to roll over. It means that she's catching up developmentally to where she should be.
In celebration of World Prematurity Day, here's a few pictures from Elsie's days in the NICU. Seems like forever ago, but sometimes it also seems like just a few weeks ago.
And here's our little sweetheart, happy and healthy at 10.5 months actual age, 6.5 months adjusted age.
To me, Elsie's story reminds me to never give up hoping and believing. Never stop believing in miracles. I don't, because I live with one. Happy World Prematurity Day. Hug a preemie that you know today!