I’m going to change up my “Ben’s Baby Book” format a bit – instead of days, I am going to post on him weekly. I always knew I would change this up eventually, and since we made it past the 100ish days mark, now seems like a good time.
Ben had his 4 month well check on Tuesday. It’s funny to me how he is seen by his doctor on his chronological schedule but his progress is adjusted for his corrected age. We walk out of the appointment with a yellow packet of paper talking about all the things that our 4 month old should be doing and eating and showing interest in and almost none of it applies to Ben.
I wonder if they ever think of mass producing preemie packets? At least then the information would be useful for us and I wouldn’t have to take notes on the term baby packet so I can remember it all later.
Anyway, the only two things Ben is on track for is increased drooling (oh goody!) and his sleep schedule. I’ve worked incredibly hard during the day and we’ve worked hard in the evenings to get Ben into good sleep habits. I do not want to be one of those parents who has to work for 2 hours to get my kid to sleep. I don’t want Ben to be one of those kids who can’t self soothe. So during the day I watch for his sleepy cues (red eyelids, yawns) and when I see them, we do a diaper check, read a book, snuggle for a minute, then I lay him down with his noise machine on and leave the room. Normally, unless he has a burp to work out from being laid down, he’s out after a couple of minutes of talking to himself.
At night, we keep things mellow and keep the lights low from about 7:00p.m. on. We load him up with a bottle, read him several books, snuggle and sing a lullaby, then lay him down and leave the room. There was a whole section in the packet about troubled sleepers at this age and how usually those are the infants who are rocked all the way to sleep, or sleep on someone frequently, so when they wake up they don’t know how to self soothe back to sleep. I was all, “hell yeah!” when I read that the cure to braking these bad sleep habits is basically exactly what we’ve been doing.
Ben’s flat head on his right side isn’t getting any better, and while he is finally showing signs of being able to willingly turn his head to the left, he has maybe 10% of the range of motion that he does to the right. He also won’t do tummy time unless he’s laying on your chest – any other position and he lays face down and sucks on the blanket/cushion. We were referred to physical therapy at the Children’s Hospital and given the warning that he may have a helmet in his future. I don’t want him to have a helmet because it’s just one more thing he’s got to tolerate and endure as a preemie. And, truthfully, I don’t want to fight with insurance for the upwards of $3,000 that they cost that typically insurance doesn’t cover. This is bullshit to me – who would put their infant in a helmet just for cosmetic reasons?
Our doctor predicts Ben will not start rolling over until 7-9 months chronological, and we won’t talk about starting cereal until his 6 month appointment. Only time will tell if she’s right on his mobility!
Normally Dustin comes with to these big appointments, but since he was at a web conference in Saint Paul this week for work, I had to go alone. I’ve never wanted to be the one to hold Ben down for his shots. I hate shots. I still cry at shots. And while it isn’t fair to put the burden on Dustin, the shots bring out Ben’s pain cry, and I so keenly remember that little cry from his heel pricks in NICU and…it sucks. Shots are stupid. So necessary, but so stupid.
I did my best to be brave for the baby, but it seems like such a cruel trick. He took the oral meds with no problem and was smiling and cooing at the technicians. I had to hold his hands up by his ears and watch as his huge smile turned into a red faced cry of pain. Huge crocodile tears and sobs. Then one of the injection sites was bleeding so I couldn’t pick him up until they got him bandaged.
Usually when Ben gets upset he calms down shortly after burrowing in to my shoulder. Not this time. He sobbed and sobbed while I got him dressed, while we walked to the car, for most the ride home, during his diaper change…it was horrible, and so unlike our sweet tempered kid. I told Dustin I would be getting nothing done that day because once Ben had his bottle I knew he would pass out, and he was going to nap as long as he wanted wrapped up in his favorite blanket on my chest.
He napped for 3.5 hours this way, whimpering every so often in his sleep. This was the first time I’ve ever been truly grateful that he wasn’t in daycare. I clearly remember parents bringing their baby in from shots, saying they were “a little sensitive”, and how those babies were anywhere from cranky to completely unhinged the rest of the day. When a baby is sick or in pain, they want their parents! He was a little better by the evening, but it took a good 24 hours before he totally perked up.
I busted out his new (read: used, .50 at a consignment sale) dinosaur toy to try to cheer him up after his shots. I think it slowly won him over.
On Wednesday night Dustin and I were giving Ben a bath when the most amazing thing happened – Dustin was splashing Ben and poking his nose, and Ben giggled! Full on belly giggles! They were brief, almost like they popped out without him knowing it and then made him laugh again because of the funny sensation, but they were awesome. We have the whole thing recorded, and I think I’ve watched it 100 times already.
My mom took a couple of personal days this week so today she came over to hang out with Ben while I worked on sorting and pricing some of our garage sale donations. I worked for about 4 hours straight and went through at least 10 boxes and 5 garbage bags of stuff. I cleaned glass, polished knick-nacks…it was a lot of work, and I feel like I barely made a dent in the amount of stuff we have been given to sell!
Ben and mom hung out on the couch while I worked, and mom got to spoil Ben rotten with hugs, kisses, stories, walks around the house, time with his mobile, and a great deal of time reaching for his new favorite purple octopus toy (another awesome .50 consignment sale find). She has so much fun playing and interacting with him, and it’s really neat to see him start to recognize other people. She gets such a kick out of every smile he gives her – I get a kick out of seeing her so happy.
The puppies, her former “grandchildren”, are less than thrilled with this new arrangement.
This afternoon I went back to my OB for my next depo shot and a pesky blood pressure recheck. I failed the damn thing at 151/85, so now I have to go to a family doctor and get treated for high blood pressure. Stupid pregnancy, did it ever do a number on my body. I conveniently “forgot” that my doctor wanted me to re-take the diabetes test just to make sure I’m not one of those women who develops type 2 diabetes after having gestational diabetes. I’ll have it done soon – maybe at the next shot in three months. Maybe by then I won’t instantly start sweating when I walk into that office. If I didn’t love my doctor so much I would switch, because I hate that clinic, it takes me right back to being sick, to miscarrying, to being sent to the hospital time and time again. Maybe in another three months I’ll be in a better place.
That is, until they tell me I still have diabetes. That would be almost more stupid than having to get shots. :P