Samuel had the wonderful experience of getting his four month shots at the appointment too. Two nurses came in with a handful of shots.....both took a leg and on the count of three, stuck him. He cried and had the biggest crocodile tears I've ever seen. He didn't feel well the rest of the night despite the Tylenol that I gave him.
The bandaids on Samuel's legs are from the shots. (The tounge-out look is a recent development....he seems to want to taste everything!)
All of Samuel's developmental milestones will be counted from his adjusted age. I've been told that he will be ahead in some areas (for his adjusted age) and behind in some areas. So far, Samuel can fairly consistently roll over, precariously hold his head up when I'm standing with him, he can focus and track objects with his eyes, turn his head to a voice, and make little squeaky noises (which I am assuming are his version of 'cooing' with his damaged vocal cord.) I'm working on getting him to smile and hold his head up while lying on his tummy. I've seen him show signs of both....but we aren't there yet. Just for preventative reasons, Samuel will begin seeing speech and occupational/physical therapists. I'm actually pretty pleased with this idea.....even though he isn't showing signs of needing extra support right now, it won't hurt for him to be worked with by a professional.
A good friend of ours (Christie Martin) bought Samuel a WubbaNub - an object greatly appreciated by his mother. Even when Samuel was on the ventilator, he loved his paci. That love hasn't diminished - if anything, it has increased since the nurses used it to quiet him down while he was in the hospital. The only problem is that he can't keep his paci in his mouth. He loses it all the time...and lets you know when he does. That means I spend 85% of my day holding the pacifier in his mouth. Of course, if Samuel wasn't trying to gain weight, I would just let him cry.....but crying burns a massive amount of calories. All of this to say, the WubbaNub is a brilliant invention. As you can see below, a WubbaNub is a pacifier that is attached to a little stuffed animal. This way, the pacifier has an anchor.
Sleep still evades me. I learned from my preemie books that it's very common for preemies not to sleep as much as a full term baby - most parents of preemies write that their child only 'cat-naps'......which is exactly what Samuel does. When I do manage to get him to sleep, it's only for a few minutes at a time. My rare moments of sleep during the day are disturbed by phone calls from medical suppliers, nurses, and doctor's offices. We continue to have a nurse come by once a week to check on Samuel, as well as another group of nurses from a UAMS program called "Bringing Baby Back Home" that come by once every few weeks. Sometimes I feel like we are the central hub for the medical world. I appreciate all of the help and support we are getting.....but I still long for the day when I have JUST Samuel. No machines, no medicines, no medical staff. I'm just going to have to be patient.
Samuel has another eye exam this next Thursday. I continue to hold on to the hope that it will be our last - that his eyes will be fully developed and that this doctor will not see any signs of ROP.
Our family has been blessed with some amazing friends. Friends that have made this tough time in our lives into something managable. I know Michael deserves these kinds of friends but I am not sure I do. In the past, I was more likely to be selfishly spending my time alone than sharing life with people - and I liked it that way. No reason to have to show anyone my faults. No reason to 'waste' time when I had so many other things to be doing. I've certainly learned how wrong I was to think that way. I'm still learning how much I need people all the time.