You will have significant experiences.
I hope that you will write them down and keep a record of
them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh
your memory of these meaningful and significant things.
Some may be funny. Some may be significant only to you.
Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some
may build upon another until they represent a lifetime of
special experiences.
- Gordon B Hinckley

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Everett is Six Months Old...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

Writing one of my email updates with Everett here at home feels strange to say the least.  I'm so used to writing these updates through tears or frustration that to write one with complete happiness is an odd and wonderful feeling!  Everett is six months old and is just thriving at home.  Zac and I are thriving too, on the love we have for each other and now on the love we have for our son.  We have settled into our new roles are parents, and to quote the cliché, we can't even remember what life was like before he arrived.  The memories of the NICU continue to fade.  We all are completely happy and content. 

Everett weighs 8lb. 9oz. and is 20.5 inches long.  He gained a whole pound last week alone!  We’ve been averaging three to four doctor appointments per week (yes, three to four!) but now that all the consultations and paperwork have been done, this number should start to decrease (I hope).  We have a WONDERFUL pediatrician who is very focused on treating Everett as a “normal” child.  He has been so proactive about stopping unnecessary medications and treatments and is constantly reminding me that I have a child who WAS sick, but who is not sick now.  Every week he encourages me to relax my rules, allow Everett to experience normal newborn stuff, and helps me to not freak out about every little thing. 

We have been to our Retinal Specialist and Everett’s eyes continue to improve.  In fact, upon examination, he said that you would never know that Everett had retinopathy unless you read it in his chart.  His eyes show no residual effects or damage!  He’s been evaluated for physical and occupational therapy through Tri Counties Regional Center and he qualifies for early intervention.  These therapies should start within the next two weeks and will continue until Everett is caught up to his actual (gestational) age.  We are excited that Everett is doing everything that a three-month-old infant would do (which is his corrected age or age from his due date).  So he’s right on track!  He is still drinking thickened formula but the amount of thickener we mix in is decreasing, so he’s making progress forward.  The therapists make us laugh because they say it is “unnerving” to see a baby who weighs only eight pounds holding and purposefully turning his head, rolling over, tracking, and grabbing.  To us, we know no different.  That’s just Everett :-)

Grandpa and I took him back to CHLA two weeks ago for a follow-up surgical appointment.  The surgeon was very impressed with his progress and healing.  We have one more follow-up in four months.  It felt strange taking him back to the hospital.  In fact, my stomach was in knots the entire drive.  But it was great to get the chance to sneak him back up to the NICU and show him off to the nurses who took care of him.  He was smiling and cooing and they were just amazed at how social he has become in just the last six weeks at home. 

Just this week, our favorite nurse from CHLA, Sarah, and her husband, came up for a visit.  It was great to see them, as she is the person we miss the most.  We love her dearly and know that she was such a huge part of getting Everett the things he needed.  I think we will continue to see them often.  Everett also surprised us last week with two teeth!  It hadn’t occurred to us that as a six-month-old, teething might be in his near future.  We thought he was just grumpy and drooly until a friend of mine discovered them.  The tops of his two bottom teeth are poking through his gums and the days of toothless smiles are numbered.

He is sleeping almost through the night, giving us a good five hour stretch of sleep.  He’s a good eater and doesn’t spit up too much.  He loves his bath, his brother Jack, and tummy time :-)  He’s a beautiful miracle that we get to enjoy every day.  I’m so proud of him!  When strangers stop me in stores or doctor offices, they inevitably say “Oh, he’s a new baby” or “How old is he, a few weeks?”  Zac and I have decided to tell anyone who will listen about Everett’s story.  We want everyone to know that he’s a miracle from God.  So, I go into my “Everett spiel” and the stranger gets a five minute answer to a very short question.  But I think that’s what I need to do to help me heal and to show Everett the pride I carry for him. 

I thank all of you for your continued prayers for Everett, Zac and myself.  I’m touched that even after the “crisis” is over, you continue to be generous in your thoughts, attention, and love.  I’ve attached a picture of Everett, taken yesterday.  Just a warning…it’s going to melt your heart :-)

With Love,

The Bollinger Family

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