It Feels Like Home

A Boston girl goes Hollywood then chucks it away for a life in OZ… these are my adventures and general musings.

March of Dimes Honors the Half A Million Infants Born Too Soon During Prematurity Awareness Month November 16, 2010

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 7:10 am
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This is a press release from the <a href="March of Dimes about Prematurity Awareness Month. It has lots of good information about prematurity and awareness month and day… read on.




WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Nov. 1 2010 – More than half a million babies are born too soon each year and thousands don’t live to celebrate their first birthday as a result.

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, and people can learn more about the seriousness of premature birth, donate, or create a virtual band to celebrate, honor or remember a baby in their life at the March of Dimes web site – marchofdimes.com/fight.

On November 17, the March of Dimes will mark the 8th annual Prematurity Awareness Day by issuing its 2010 Premature Birth Report Card, which grades the nation and the states on their preterm birth rates.

“We are helping everyone understand the importance of a full-term pregnancy,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “The last few weeks of pregnancy are critical to a baby because many important organs, including the brain, need this time to completely develop.”

Dr. Howse noted that many people do not fully appreciate the importance of the final weeks of pregnancy to a baby. More than two-thirds of new or expectant moms do not know the correct definition of preterm birth, (less than 37 weeks gestation), and most have not discussed the risks and consequences of preterm birth with their healthcare provider, according to a survey by the March of Dimes and its partners. Dr. Howse said early prenatal care, and a discussion about lifestyle habits, any chronic illnesses, and medical history, can give more babies a better chance of a healthy birth by identifying risks early.

Following three decades of increases, the nation achieved its first two- year decline in the preterm birth rate in 2008, a 4 percent drop from 2006. The preliminary preterm birth rate dropped to 12.3 percent in 2008, down from the 2006 final rate of 12.8 percent. The March of Dimes says 79 percent of the decline occurred among babies born just a few weeks too soon.

This improvement is modest, the March of Dimes says, and the fact remains that more than half a million babies are born preterm each year. Preterm birth is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually. It is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive often face the risk of lifetime health challenges, including learning disabilities, cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities.

March of Dimes Prematurity Awareness Day® is sponsored by CIGNA, FedEx, Destination Maternity and Hologic. On Nov. 17, Farmers Insurance, a March of Dimes sponsor, is sponsoring a six-hour marathon of the Discovery Health series NICU, which shows the experiences of babies fighting for their lives in a newborn intensive care unit.

As part of Prematurity Awareness Month®, March of Dimes staff and volunteers nationwide will host vigils, and light buildings in purple to draw attention to the epidemic of preterm birth. The March of Dimes also has been working with organizations in Africa, Australia and Europe that are raising awareness about the consequences of preterm births.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.

 

Join Me and Fight for Preemies November 15, 2010

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 4:02 pm
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Did you know that the rate of premature birth in America is higher than that of most other developed nations. Or, how about premature birth is the number 1 killer of newborns? No? Well, read on…

One in eight babies born in our country is premature. That’s 543,000 babies born too soon each year, and my Little Miss T was one of them.

And, did you know that our nation scores a “D” when it comes to premature birth. Yes, you read that right, a “D”. You can see the nation map by clicking here. Click on each state to read that state’s report card.

The rate of premature birth has risen more than 30 percent since 1981. In half the cases, we simply don’t understand what went wrong. The March of Dimes is leading the fight for answers. And, ultimately, prevention.

When I was pregnant with Little Miss T, I never thought I would be a March of Dimes statistic or know the life of a NICU parent. I never thought my baby would have to fight to breathe or rely on machines to live. What happened to me was sudden, severe and god awful. I never want that to happen to any mother, family and especially to any other baby. All babies deserve to be born healthy.

On Wednesday, November 17, in recognition of the March of Dimes 8th Annual Prematurity Awareness Day, I will be joining other bloggers in the blogosphere to raise awareness and help fight prematurity. Won’t you join me?

During November, Prematurity Awareness Month, March of Dimes focuses the nation’s attention on the serious crisis of premature birth (birth before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy). A special Web site includes the 2010 state-by-state and national Premature Birth Report Cards, information on the importance of the last weeks of pregnancy, and ways you can help premature babies.

November 17 is dedicated to raising awareness of the crisis. Take 3 steps to help fight premature birth:

1. Visit marchofdimes.com/fight.
2. Put a badge on your blog to help spread the word.
3. On November 17, blog for a baby you love and to help others.

We need to fight ― because babies shouldn’t have to.

 

T Update (another) September 22, 2010

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 9:08 pm
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First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has written and expressed concern for Little Miss T. We feel so fortunate having family and friends who care so much. It really means a lot to us.

We went for the ultrasound and it was a challenge to get it done, to say the least. Poor T was rather upset and who can really blame her. During the scan, all she saw was a strange man with some cold, goopy gel standing over her while he waved some wand thing all around her head. T of course wanted her mama to hold her during the scan, but it was best to have her lay flat. So, Daddy-O held her body while I held her arms and we sang, made googly faces, whatever we could do to get her to lay still. We ended up having to take several breaks to resettle T because she wasn’t going to stop crying until Mama picked her up.

Eventually, the tech was able to get the images he needed and Daddy-O and I left the office with a bad feeling about how things went.

Later that day, the pediatrician’s office called with the report and gave us the news that T does have extra fluid around the brain. It’s benign but there is an enlarged space and he wants us to see a pediatric neurologist at Children’s Hospital. I don’t really know what it all means… obviously, benign is a good thing but having extra fluid around the brain isn’t. Why is there extra fluid? Why isn’t it draining? How much extra is there? How big will her head grow? Does she need a medical procedure? These are all questions which are unanswered.

So, we’re waiting to see the specialist and we’ll go from there. In the meantime, T’s head continues to grow and we’re starting to notice that it’s a bit large. It doesn’t look overwhelmingly large but there’s no denying she does have a big head- she needs some hair! But she’s happy, in fact, the past few days, she’s been so unbelievably happy. She’s just a little darling and amazes us every day. She’s so close to crawling, she’s chatting more, she’s just so happy.

Well, if you read all that, thank you. I guess the short of it all is that there is extra fluid and an enlarged space between the brain and skull, but it’s benign, and we have a bunch of unanswered questions. Considering everything we went through with T’s birth, Daddy-O and I are pretty calm about the whole thing. I think if T had been a full term baby and this was the first major medical issue she had, we’d be flipping out right now. Instead, we’re collected and trying not to worry too much. Hopefully all will turn out well in the end.

Again, thank you to everyone and we’ll keep you updated. I promise I’ll respond to your emails soon.

 

Baby Yoga September 21, 2010

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 11:13 am
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She can touch her toes, yay! T’s high muscle tone prevents her from having the flexibility that most full term babies have, therefore, something simple like reaching for your toes, can be quite difficult for a preemie. Every day, we do exercises to increase the flexibility and loosen up her stiff muscles. So, here we are 8.5 months and we finally have a toe grab, yay!

And, we actually did try a Mommy and Me Yoga class but that was a big FAIL. T is going through some separation anxiety right now so that made it quite difficult for me to do any type of yoga or to help her with some baby yoga moves. She only wanted me to hold her and nurse the entire class. What can I say, she loves her mama! I think we’ll give it more time before we try again.

 

T Update September 17, 2010

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 10:15 pm
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We met with our pediatrician this week and he was a bit concerned about T’s head growth, too. He ordered an MRI but of course insurance denied that so now we’re waiting for an ultrasound to be scheduled and we’ll go from there. Hopefully it’s nothing and everything is okay. I’m glad we’re getting it checked out- I’d rather have peace of mind knowing she’s okay and healthy.

I’m trying to remain calm and not worry too much. Overall, T has been so happy but she has been doing a few things lately that make wonder if it’s all related to the large head condition. I’m sure I’m just over-analyzing EVERY. LITTLE. THING. but that’s my nature, I’m a bit of a worrier.

In other news, I had my first go at being a single mom this week. Hubs has been away on a business trip so it’s been me and T and of course my parents are here to help which is great! We’ve been having fun but we’re looking forward to Daddy-O returning tomorrow.

This weekend, we’re heading back to the NICU where T was born for a NICU reunion party. This unit has been saving babies’ lives for 20 years and so they’re having a celebration to honor all the babies cared for by the NICU. Daddy-O will miss the event but I’ll be taking pictures. Maybe T will be able to see some of her “friends” from her stay.

Sunday we’re off to LA to visit with family. I feel like life has been pretty busy these days but in a good way- we’re having fun, enjoying the little moments and taking it all in.

Well, happy weekend to all!

 

Bang, Bang, Bang September 15, 2010

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 8:15 pm
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In my previous post, I mentioned that one of the things the NICU’s occupational therapist wanted T to work on was her inability to bang objects together or on a table.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, today T started to do it! It’s like it just clicked and now she loves banging around her toys and I LOVE watching her do it. It’s so funny to see T realize her new talent as she moves her toys up and down, faster and faster, hitting her table each time. She’s so happy perfecting her new trick.

I was a bit shocked, as was she, when it happened as T does have muscle tone issues. The high muscle tone makes her really stiff and so that she can’t really raise up her arms. So, when T grabbed her rattle and started banging it up and down on her table we were both quite surprised.

She did it! She did it! Yay T, way to go! Most parents dread the constant banging, but I say, bring it on!

 

The Good, the Bad and the Very Bad September 8, 2010

Filed under: Life — Holly @ 10:50 pm
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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!