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Vonda's Parenting a Preemie Journal

Entry #7 - August 31, 2002
~ Yes, she is a smart baby!!!

sitting up!Finally, the big moment arrived this month. Adriana sat unsupported! I had hoped she would do this before or right around her first birthday, but I will take it at 13 months. I was hoping that she would sit on her own for her first birthday pictures (okay, more like 13 month pictures), but she waited until four days after the picture shoot. Oh well, we do have a cute picture of her sitting in a chair and one of her propped up against a lady bug that makes her look like she is sitting on her own.

Anyway, back to the big moment. Adriana's EI had just arrived for her weekly visit when she asked to borrow a pen. I sat Adriana down on the floor to get a pen for her EI. Normally, she would have fallen right over or scooted herself down until she was lying on the floor. This time, she sat all by herself for about 10 seconds. Her EI and I started crying and praising her. Her EI said she doesn't get to witness a first very often, and she is so glad when she does get to see one. I was afraid to get my camera because I was afraid she would not do it again, but I did get a picture of her as she was sitting. I called Bruce at work and I thought he was going to cry, too. I think he has been more worried than I have been about her sitting and doing other things, but I have to admit that lately I was starting to worry.

AdrianaAdriana's therapists, EI and doctor have all told us they could not see any reason why she would not reach her developmental milestones, but we have been waiting for so long. During the waiting, I would feel guilty, like we have been failing her somewhere. When she started sitting, I knew that she was going to be okay. I have been told that she will really take off now. Her sitting is so much better now and she does not even wobble.

When I was a teenager, I babysat a nine month-old girl for a while. I used to enjoy sitting on the floor with her while we rolled a ball back and forth to each other. That image has been burned in my mind forever and I was looking forward to doing that with my own baby. I am finally able to do that now, and Adriana loves rolling the ball back and forth.

My mother-in-law has a very interesting saying. She talks about babies that walk, talk and speak early as being "smart babies." She especially uses this when she is comparing DH to his brother. His brother is older than Bruce and he did everything earlier than DH did. When she talks about this she says that her older son was a "smarter baby" than Bruce. Now, I realize that is probably something an elderly person says, but it still doesn't sound good. Bruce and I have often laughed about that, but since I now have a "special needs" child, that term does not sit well with me. She used it recently when talking to Adriana. I sat Adriana down on her floor so Bruce's mother could see how well she is sitting up. She picked Adriana up and, in her own way, tried to give Adriana a compliment. She said, "And soon you'll be crawling, standing, walking and then you'll be a smart baby." I had to bite my tongue really hard to keep from saying anything. I hope we can teach Adriana that what she is saying is just something Nanny says, and not that she is saying Adriana is not smart. This didn't keep me from allowing her to keep Adriana while we went to grab a bite to eat. Adriana did okay, but she did miss us after about an hour. She has not been with anyone other than one of us for a long period of time since she came home from the hospital.

hair cutBefore Adriana had her one-year birthday pictures made, we took her to get her first haircut. My brother, who is a hairstylist, was the chosen one to give her the haircut. When he was getting ready to cut her hair, he told me he had not had a niece or nephew to cry on him yet. Well, of course, that was before Adriana. She started crying from the first moment he came near us. He was able to cut just enough for her baby book and a few pictures. He gave her a sucker to calm her down. I hesitated at first, but he made sure he held it and she just licked it a few times. She loved the sucker. I guess she is not that much different from other children after all.

While we were waiting to have Adriana's picture made, I started talking to a lady who heard me tell someone I knew about Adriana's prematurity. She told me her daughter was also premature and weighed less than two pounds. Her daughter is around four or five now, I think, and doing great. She and I swapped "war stories" about times in the NICU and the early days after bringing our babies home. I find such comfort when I talk to someone who has also had a premature baby. I would not want anybody else to go through what we did, but when I meet someone else who has, I feel like they understand better than anyone else can. A certain understanding can be found in that person's eyes. A look of yes, I have been there and yes, I know. It is a kinship that cannot be described.

Adriana is doing better in OT and PT. She even let the physical therapist work with her some. This meant I had to let go of her and she had to let someone else hold her during the visit, which she had not been doing lately. We had an early morning appointment one time this month, and I thought she would not do well at it. (Okay, I confess. I knew her mother would not do well that early in the morning.) She did fine, and we have decided to keep her appointments in the early morning for now.

AdrianaWe celebrated the first anniversary of her release from the NICU this month. That was the day when I officially felt like she was our baby. For so many weeks nurses and doctors took care of her every need and knew what needed to be done. On August 23 of last year, all of that became our responsibility. I had watched so many mothers leaving the hospital with their healthy newborns, and now my time had come. We watched some of the video that we took while she was in the NICU. She was so tiny and looked so different than she does now. All of that seems like a lifetime ago.

I am becoming involved with an organization that offers parent-to-parent support for special needs children. I went through training to be someone who contacts parents who are going through a similar situation as the one we went through with Adriana. I think this will be a good outlet for me. I have told Bruce on a number of occasions that I did not think God allowed us to go through this just to have had the experience. I think we are supposed to help others somehow. This will allow me to do that by saying, "I have been there. I understand. You will get through this." This organization will also help me to concentrate on helping others instead of dwelling on the challenges we face.

We are trying to decide if we should try to get pregnant again. I want another baby (actually I want two or three more, but I have to be realistic), but I am so scared about what might happen. We are all ready one minute and then the next minute, we are back peddling about what to do. We are praying a lot about it a lot and seeking God's will. I would love to have another baby, but as Bruce has said if we don't I am grateful for what I have because we have been so blessed.

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