Evan sporting a bib from his Nana (Grandma Merrick). It says, “I get grouchy when no one from Wisconsin is around to hug me.”
Evan hanging out on a blanket his Grandma AJ made for him. Boy does he love playing with those toes! What a cutie!
Now that we’re out of the crisis-mode that comes along with having a tiny, premature baby, I thought I’d write some of what I’ve learned about having a preemie.
• In the beginning, many premature babies will eat every two hours or less. When a regular baby is born, their stomach is the size of a small marble. Can you imagine how much smaller a premature baby’s stomach is then?
• Premature babies have two ages, their actual age (chronological) and their “adjusted” age. Their adjusted age is when they should have been born (their original due date) and is what determines expectations around development and skills acquisition. Medical professionals expect to see premature babies doing skills for their “adjusted age.” Evan’s actual age is 7 ½ months currently, but his “adjusted” age is 6 ½ months. So, although Evan is 7 ½ months old, he’s only expected to be doing what average 6 ½ month old babies are.
• Many preemies have health issues and developmental delays as a result of their prematurity. Most preemies overcome their developmental delays within the first 2 or 3 years of life.
• Most former preemies eventually reach their “genetic potential” for growth, meaning their adult weight and height are similar to their adult siblings’ and parents’ sizes.
• Children born prematurely are often described as “hyper” by their parents. Many say their preemies are sensitive children with “intense” personalities, are strong-willed, and tend to overreact. Once upset, they often have difficulty calming down. These behaviors often last into early childhood. Some experts believe that preemies personalities may soften or calm down as he or she matures.
• Preemies have a harder time soothing themselves (or being soothed) because some of what allows us to be soothed or calm down develops neurologically the last month in-utero. With tips and techniques from a physical therapist and a lot of patience, preemies and their parents can learn how to calm down baby better.
• Many preemies also have sensory issues, meaning they can be easily overly stimulated and can’t process what they are taking in sensory-wise or can need to have extra stimulation constantly.
For more information on premature babies and the special care they need, check out “Your Premature Baby and Child—Helpful Answers and Advice for Parents” by Amy Tracy and Dianne Maroney, RN where most of this info came from
How’d he do? He didn’t get really excited or scared, he was just calm and curious. He hung out with his mom, his dad, and a turtle that was hanging out at the pool.
Ryan got laid off from his job two weeks ago. His last day is tomorrow. Needless to say the past two weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster for the two of us. So many questions and concerns come up and our emotions are all over the place. Hope and excitement for what could but also some fear of the unknown, especially in this economy. I was honestly angry at God for allowing this to happen to our little family after all we’ve been through this year already, but as I continued to process the situation, my anger dissipated and I became so thankful that He kept us from being laid off in February (when the first round occurred at Ryan’s company) which would have been right before Evan’s emergency early arrival into the world. That experience was hard enough with Ryan being employed, I can’t imagine what it would have been like if he had just lost his job. I’m also so thankful for my boss who challenged me to consider going back to work at least until we knew if Ryan made it safely through the second round of layoffs. Although I did not want to be working full-time as a new mom, it was necessary for our little family to stay financially afloat with this new turn of events. I’m so glad I have people who are willing to speak wisdom into my life!
A few days after Ryan got the news he was laid off, he was pulled over and ticketed for not wearing his seatbelt (he was only two blocks from home and had just remembered to put it on when the officer got behind him). It melted my heart when he called to tell me about it and he couldn’t stop laughing. I was so impressed that he had a sense of humor about it rather than being upset. Then today I got a flat tire and to make matters worse, the bolts that hold the tire onto the car were stripped of their threads so it made taking the lug nuts off impossible! My car had to be towed, the bolts replaced, and then I’ll drive my car with a spare on it tomorrow to a tire store to replace the flat tire.
Sometimes when it rains, it pours. I guess I have a choice. I can look at the rain and start crying or I can look at the rain and laugh. A ticket for a seatbelt violation and a flat tire that won’t come off the car, seriously? In a few weeks or months, who will remember these little stresses? Hopefully we’ll be delighting in how God has provided for our little family in ways we could never have predicted instead of growing bitter over the bumps in the road.
Today I was reminded about how many great people there are out there, willing to be selfless and help a stranger or a co-worker in spite of their own busy schedules. I truly enjoyed my time with one of my co-workers who tried to fix the stripped-bolt situation and actually had a fun time learning about what being a tow-truck driver entails. I can only hope that I’m the type of person who reaches out to others when they have bumps in the road and lends a helping hand and a listening ear. What a difference it can make!
I absolutely love fall! There’s something amazing about the crisp air, football games, and warm comfort foods! In honor of fall comfort foods, I thought I’d add a few recipes to my blog. The first one, White Chili, comes from my sister-in-law, Angie Jacobson. It is absolutely amazing! Today Ryan and I ate it with some warm biscuits, but it also goes well with cornbread!
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into ½ inch cubes)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 15 oz. Cans Northern Beans (rinsed and drained)
14 oz. Chicken Broth (one can)
1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. pepper
1 cup sour cream
½ cup whipping cream
2 4 oz. cans of chopped green chilies
In a large saucepan, sauté chicken, onion, garlic powder, and oil until the chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and then simmer uncovered for thirty minutes. Remove and stir in sour cream and whipping cream. Serve immediately.
The second recipe comes from a friend, Lori Miller Bautista. It has become my favorite pumpkin-oriented dessert in recent years. Even Ryan, who isn’t a big pumpkin fan, begs me to make it several times each holiday season! Don’t let the name of the dessert fool you, it’s great!
Pumpkin Dump Cake Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the following:
29 oz. Canned Pumpkin
4 beat eggs
12 oz. evaporated milk
1 ½ cups of sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
Pour the batter into a 9×13 glass baking dish. Sprinkle over the top of the pumpkin mixture a box of yellow cake mix. Then top that with one cup of chopped pecans. Pour a cup of butter over the cake mix and pecans.
Cover the pan loosely with a sheet of tinfoil (to keep the pecans from burning) and bake for one hour. Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden. Remove and cool completely. Serve with whipped cream.
What has Evan been up to lately? He spends his time rolling all over the place and is working on sitting upright with a little support. He loves playing with his Hungry Caterpillar, squeaking, squealing, laughing, putting his feet in his mouth, and has recently started to stick his tongue out!
Being a parent of a baby who has medical problems really raises a myriad of thoughts and feelings. When I was younger, I hated going to the doctor. I don’t know if was because I had asthma and allergies that meant I had a lot of tests done on me or what, but I dreaded doctor appointments. Now instead of dreading going to the doctor, I rely on those appointments to help us understand what’s going on with Evan. I appreciate the insight the medical professionals bring, but at the same time am faced with how they don’t have all the answers. Its an interesting balance. I think trying to get all the answers from medical staff and the internet is a way I try to control or manage fears I have about Evan. When is it educating yourself to be a good parent and when is it failing to trust God?
I think it breaks any parent’s heart to watch their child get their vaccination shots, but handing your baby over to have surgery is that horrible feeling times a million. Despite knowing it is necessary and the best thing for your child, it still means pain in the moment for him or her. It is something I will never be completely okay with. When someone you love hurts, especially someone who looks to you for protection and nurturing, you hurt too. These experiences have really opened my eyes to what our Father must experience as He walks with us through tough, painful times. He too sees us feeling hurt and confused about what is going on but knows in the long run, it will help us grow stronger, more healthy, and ultimately help us fulfill what He has for us. I have a lot to learn about being a parent. I hope all the lessons aren’t this hard.