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, November 17, 2011

World Prematurity Day...(Everett is 25 months old)

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy World Prematurity Day! I know, a weird thing to celebrate but the March of Dimes has launched a campaign during November (Prematurity Awareness Month) to focus attention on the serious problem of premature birth. And today, they are honoring the million babies worldwide who died this year because they were born too soon, and the 12 million more who struggle to survive. So I thought I'd add a little personal face to World Prematurity Day and send out an update about our preemie :-) If you're interested in finding out more about the campaign, here is the website.

On Everett's second birthday all the adjusting for his size and development stopped (pretty mean if you ask me). For the first time, he was compared against typical two year olds. The rule with preemies, even micro-preemies, is that they are supposed to be caught up by age two. It doesn't matter how sick they were, how long they spent in the two all the special considerations end. I know from watching Everett around other two years olds, that in size and some areas of development, he still isn't quite caught up to his peers. And that's ok...he makes progress every day and that is what is really important! But with his well checks and therapy assessments, I always feel a certain amount of anxiety. I'm constantly trying to stop myself from comparing Everett to other kids. I'm always trying to emphasize that he is uniquely perfect. Assessment time tends to derail my "inner mantra" and instead allows the dark thoughts to creep in. Thoughts that wonder if there will ever come a time when Everett stops progressing or if someday, some type of permanent delay will make itself apparent. With the loss of the "corrected age adjustment," I wasn't looking forward to Everett's two year assessments. More like dreading to the honest...but I'm very happy to report that our little man continues to amaze.

Did someone ask about those growth charts??? Well, let me tell you, Everett has a percentile!!! In fact, Everett has TWO percentiles!!! He is measuring in the 25th percentile for height (at 32 inches tall) and the 10th percentile for weight (at 22.5 pounds)...all uncorrected! Woohoo!!! Little man is getting big :-)

In the areas of development, Everett is equally amazing. He was assessed just before his birthday by his child development specialist and his physical therapist. In the areas of cognition (thinking), social and emotional development, and receptive language, Everett ranked at his actual age of 24 months!!! He actually ranked even older in social and emotional at 27 months, but I won't bore you by bragging :-) In the areas of fine and gross motor and expressive language, he ranked at about 19 months (not too bad). His lower score in this area is because he still has the walking pattern of a newer walker; meaning he guards a lot with his upper body and arms. And he still falls a fair amount. But he's doing it and only time (and the addition of glasses) will help this. His language continues to improve everyday and it seems that even in the past few weeks he is getting a new word almost daily. This has helped tremendously with his tantrums. He can pretty much communicate what he needs and wants. THANK GOODNESS!! In the areas of feeding, toileting, and dressing/hygiene, he ranked at 19-23 months. We've decided to begin potty training and so far...well, it's not going very well. But I haven't been pushing the issue that hard either. I'm perfectly content to change diapers a little longer if it means less laundry from accidents. I'm sure when I get motivated, Everett will rise to the challenge. So all in all, a great report! We continue to be so thankful that we are the exception to the rule. We are constantly reminded by doctors and therapists alike that Everett successes are not common for a micro preemie of his size, gestation and history. We give praise to God for his blessings in our little man's abilities!!!

We took Everett to see an eye doctor for a regular checkup a few months ago and were told that he has a "severe astigmatism." She, not being a pediatric specialist, didn't quite know what to recommend so we got a referral for another doctor who examined Everett and recommended glasses right away. We can't totally blame this on his prematurity, as I have been in glasses since I was five. There are genetics at play here...but I must confess that I am a little bummed for our little man. I know how it is to wake up and not be able to see. I know how it is to be the only kid in glasses. Let's be honest, the way people perceive and treat you changes. So I'm having a little pity party, but it will pass. We picked out a pair of somewhat cute frames (there isn't a whole lot to choose from in the all plastic, bite proof, squash proof, scratch proof, strap on variety). They come next week. I had hoped that the doctor would tell us we could wait until age three to put him in glasses but she said his condition is so severe that it could actually affect his brain development. He's to wear them full time, even during naps if he can keep them on. We shall see...wish us luck!!! The next item of business will be a hearing exam. While Everett seems to be able to hear just fine, we want to verify that his delay in language isn't hearing related. He passed his initial hearing exams at CHLA but continues to be at risk for hearing loss (specifically high frequency hearing loss) due to the plethora of antibiotics he received early in life. Wish us luck there too!!!

We are always thankful for the support from our family and friends. I really never tire of hearing what an inspiration Everett is or how much people have enjoyed watching him grow. We are thankful for a God who listens to prayer and provides us with what we need. Today, and every day, we are thankful that we don't have to walk through life alone and that our little boy has a life to live. Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!


The Bollinger Family

It will never cease to amaze me...

that this...

...became this!!!

Thank you March of Dimes!

1 comment:

  1. what a fabulous post! I love reading about Everett's progress ~ you, Zac and your "team of close supporters" are to be applauded for the "web of love" that surrounds your son... What a glorious celebration your Thanksgiving will be...