Exactly one year ago today, on May 18, 2006, Miles was conceived. He had six months of amniotic bliss, three months of NICU H-E-double toothpicks and now three months of real live babydom. Our adorable bouncy baby is officially six months old today, May 18th. Dean and I look at each other (and Miles) in wonderment, realizing what a road we've been down together.
I thought it would be a good opportunity to update all on how things are really going in Miles Land. Let's hit the basics.
Miles has grown into a fantastic nurser. He nurses directly from me usually all day and in the middle of the night with an exception of a couple of the evening feeds. Those feeds he takes expressed milk via bottle from Dean. I am proud of the fact that I have been able to breast feed a very premature baby for six months. Besides his IV fluids and small amounts of rice cereal in his bottle to thicken the breast milk for reflux purposes, Miles has had nothing but breast milk since he was born.
Dean and I still employ a rental scale that allows us to weigh Miles before and after nursing so that we know exactly how well he does. It has been a valuable tool for getting a sense of what constitutes a great feed (>120 ml) vs. an OK feed (80-100 ml). Frankly, we are addicted to the darn thing. We want to know how much our baby weighs and get the satisfaction that we are contributing to his well-being by feeding him enough to allow him to gain weight. Apparently, we aren't the only parents with this incessant curiosity; whenever we have our PEPS meeting or any of the other moms' groups at our house, a line forms to use the scale. Yesterday, Mr. Miles weighed in at 13 lbs. 4 oz., a full 11 lbs. 3oz. more than he was 6 months ago! Now, that's a lot of milk!
Hanging out with so many new moms, sleep is clearly the number one conversational topic, with various contending philosophies ("Cry it out", "No-Cry Sleep Solution", Schedule vs. On-Demand, etc., etc.) Well, all I can say is that Miles is becoming a very reasonable sleeper. Over the last week, Dean and I have been getting long uninterrupted sleep through the night, thanks to our little friend's cooperation (Miles recorded 9 consecutive hours of sleep last night). However, the trade off for all this nighttime slumbering is shorter and shorter naps during the day.
I have learned that Miles is always changing and that my job is to provide him with opportunities to sleep and to take advantage of them. Also, I have discovered that Miles is not a great sleeper on the fly, probably because he's been kept reasonably stationary, first in the NICU and then in our home. Well, that's changing! Dean and I are on the go often and need to be able to take the Muffinhead along. We are practicing with him.
Miles takes vitamins and a medication for his reflux every day and that's it. He has never been sick. This too we are proud of, as it was hard work protecting him from a winter's worth of microbes. We thank all of our family and friends for respecting our hypochondria and general paranoia. It paid off! (Knock on wood.)
Miles still has BPD, but it is very mild and because he is thriving no one is worried. We do need to be cautious with him through next cold/flu season. He will continue to sleep on his wedge (now in a crib in our room, close to our bed) until he is big enough to attempt to crawl out of it. He naps in his swing or bouncy chair, both at an angle.
Miles is not a quiet child. It's not that he's unusually loud -- based on other infants we know, his maximum volume setting is actually somewhat lower than average. It's his minimum volume that is notable. Whether awake or asleep, he is constantly making noise, anything from grunting to cooing and gurgling. Dean has made up a new word for all of Miles' racket: "bargling". Miles bargles full-time. When we extract him from his wedge in the morning, after his breakfast (which occurs in our bed) he hangs out nestled in the breast-feeding pillow and "bargles" to us for as long as we have to hang with him. Quite frankly, it melts us both. He smiles, coos and imitates us in the best way he can -- it is the cutest thing we have ever seen.