Friday, June 19, 2009

A Great Gain

Blake and Jenna saw their pediatrician, Dr. Fasci, yesterday for a weight check. In a month, both have gained 2 pounds! Jenna is now 10 pounds 5 ounces and Blake is 9 pounds 11 ounces. Dr. Fasci was very impressed with their gain. Jenna's belly button hernia has reduced in size a great deal and is going away, thankfully. We want to avoid hospital stays/surgeries. After all, we haven't been out of the NICU THAT long. On the flip side though, Blake has some swelling and tightness in his, otherwise known as, " lower extremity area", so will be getting a sonogram to get further examined. We are really hoping it isn't a hernia. If if is, we are looking at surgery. If he has to undergo surgery, it will be his third surgery. I think any surgery at five months of age is a HUGE feat for a little guy, much less it having been the third. He and his sissy are such brave and strong little heroes (mom's proudly smiling). Anyway, hernias are quite common in premature babies. We just hope Jenna's continues to go away and that Blake does not need surgery.

Other than this, the appointment went real well. She was very impressed with their growth and development as well as the strength they showed with lifting and turning their heads. Dr. Fasci isn't concerned with Jenna's muscle tone. She says it is minimal at this point and appears to not be causing any problems developmentally. We will continue to monitor and perform daily therapuetic and preventative exercises. Again, we will know more when she reaches her milestones. So far so good. We will be seen again for their 6 month check up next month. It is still strange getting used to having "two ages". Although the kids are five and a half months old, they appear and are developmentally six weeks old.

Being a homemaker now I have a couple regular television shows that I watch, Oprah being one of them. I saw a very inspiring show yesterday, it was "Heroes Among Us". It caught my interest because for me, Blake and Jenna are my heroes. It was about children who have experienced great life challenges. There was a segment about a couple who at 30 weeks of pregnancy, found out their little boy had Trisomy 18. This is a disorder in which "his DNA sends faulty information to each cell of his body" and has a very low survival rate. They did not expect him to make it to birth. The couple beautifully wrote letters to Eliot every day before and after his birth. They celebrated his birthday every day with a picture and often times a cake. Both his mother and father had an amazing and inspiring attitude and lived each second of Eliot's life to it's very fullest. His mother would often tell her husband, " I'll be sad tomorrow", and lived each day with happiness caring for her terminally ill angel. They attended their NICU reunion just nine days before he died. His father reported that his wife was so proud and just beemed with excitement to show off her little boy. They were both so proud of him. He lived only a few days following a very special moment for the family. This moment being that he was able to come off of oxygen support and the tubes that were taped to his precious face were removed for a photo opportunity. This brought back memories of great joy for me of when after months following birth, were able to see our babies faces without medically necessary devices. From before Eliot's birth and throughout the tremendously challenging journey, this little boy had the fight and will to survive long enough to set eyes on his parents and live with them for as long as his body would allow. He lived for 99 days. At his funeral they released 99 balloons, each representing a day in which he lived. The video tribute to Eliot from his mom and dad is on utube. I have watched it many times and it chokes me up every time. This family is very special and is the epitomy of strength and positive thinking. When you see the pictures of Eliot you see a gorgeous little guy who had so much love to share with his family. The producers of Oprah selected his story to air on Wednesday's show, entitled "Heroes Among Us" and if you choose to view the video, you will clearly see why.

Each day I think about how fortunate we are to have Blake and Jenna with us. After all, who could imagine one pound babies surviving at all. Between their prematurity and the various "scares" along the way while in the NICU, we couldn't have even imagined having ten pound babies at home. We tried to take one day at a time and celebrated each small forward step. Now that they are home, we have certainly gotten comfortable and have found ourselves in the daily routine of caring for "normal" newborns. However, our journey from birth through NICU graduation will remain at bay. Our experience have certainly taught us that sometimes, the tiniest of creatures are the biggest of heroes.

Sorry, a little emotional but I was so touched by this story that I felt like sharing. Here is the UTUBE link.
By the way, this family is still celebrating the time they were given with their little boy by keeping their memories alive and celebrating his yearly birthday. The father reported that the only thing keeping them apart is the time he and his wife have left to live on Earth. On the show, they were also happy to report that Eliot will be a big brother in two weeks.

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