Our NICU developmental appointment went okay. Surprisingly, I was able to keep myself together and not lose it when I stepped back in to the NICU. I can get a bit choked up when thinking about T’s NICU time so I was kind of preparing myself for fighting back the tears when I returned to the hospital. Luckily, it wasn’t that bad.
After filling out some paperwork and getting T weighed and measured, it was time for the evaluation. T’s NICU occupational therapist was there and performed various interactions to test her skill level. For the most part, T was doing everything she should be for 6 months adjusted. In fact, she was even doing some tasks based on her actual age. The doctors & OT were pretty impressed.
For six months they wanted to see:
- Her safety reflex- puts her hands out to protect her body if she falls forward
- Puts weight on feet when held standing up
- Sits by herself
- Bangs and shakes objects
- Transfers objects from one hand to another
- Rolls over from tummy to back
- Responds to her name, turns and looks
- Babbles, making sounds like “da”, “ga”, “ba”, “ka”
- Pays attention to what toys can do (make music, light up)
- Looks towards objects that drop out of sight
- Becoming more aware of her surroundings
- Notices if parents are present (or not)
- Reacts differently to strangers
- Expresses excitement, happiness and unhappiness
T was able to do all of the above except for two things- the babbling of distinct sounds and banging/shaking objects. While T does “talk”, it’s random, inconsistent and she really hasn’t made any distinct sounds when doing it. As for the banging, she doesn’t bang objects together or on a table or anything like that. I guess these are skills that she will hopefully develop in time.
Overall, the experts thought T was doing so well and they were really pleased.
As for her growth (based on 6 months adjusted age)…
- Weight: 16.1 pounds (between 25 and 50 percentile)
- Length: 25 inches (between 10 and 25 percentile)
- Head circumference: 18 inches (above 95th percentile)
Unfortunately, the large head circumference is a bit of a worry and the nurse practitioner and the neonatologist were alarmed. I guess looking at T, she doesn’t appear to have a large head but at certain angles, it is apparent. Given that her father is very tall and also has a large head, we didn’t really think anything of it. Her large head could be a familial trait, or, as the doctors informed us, it could be because of a medical condition called hydrocephalus. After hitting the internet and searching Google, I see this is a very serious and scary condition to have. I can’t deny I’ve spent numerous hours online reading up on this and that and basically freaking out. Now we’re waiting to hear back from T’s pediatrician to see what he thinks about the whole situation. They need to look at several things like has she always had a large head, how fast has it grown, is it an abnormal growth rate, etc.
We’re hoping for good news and that everything will be okay with our little girl. She’s already been through so much. We’re trying to think positively here but there is no denying that her head measurement is quite alarming, especially for a preemie. Keep Little Miss T in your thoughts, please!